Paul Faassen – The Mob
RoomFifty has a new collection of art prints on sale curated by Jaap Biemans, aka Coverjunkie. We chat to both parties to find out more about the release.
RoomFifty is one of our favourite purveyors of affordable art and design work today. It was founded in 2017 by Guardian creative director Chris Clarke and illustrator and writer Leon Edler. The concept was to sell limited-edition prints by the world’s best contemporary illustrators and graphic designers.
Now in its sixth year, RoomFifty has collaborated with charities (Intoart), leading arts organisations (the Design Museum) and guest curators (It’s Nice That), not to mention both emerging and established artists. By keeping fairness, diversity and collaboration at the heart of everything they do, RoomFifty has built one of the most exciting, varied and unique art collections available to buy today.
Who is Jaap?
Jaap Biemans, currently the art director of Volksrant Magazine, graduated in 1998 from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design. He quickly gained recognition working for renowned titles such as Volkskrant, GQ, Hollands Diep, PostNL, Hard Gras, Intermediair, Villa Media, Uitkrant and Nieuwe Revu.
Gino Bud Hoiting – Family
Anna Maria Kiosse – Tomorrow
Jaap Scheeren – Fuck you too Crow
In 2010, Jaap launched Coverjunkie.com to champion creativity in magazine design. Now in its 13th year, it’s become the leading voice in editorial art direction. Jaap’s work has also been recognised by multiple award bodies, and he was awarded Art Director of the Year in 2017 by the Mercurs, Amsterdam.
This new collection of over 20 new, exclusive prints includes work by creatives working in various media, from photography to still-life, illustration and 3D. The selected works will be offered as fine art prints in a variety of sizes and will be available in handmade wood frames.
Who to include
Artists in the connection include Anna Maria Kioss, Leonie Bos, Monique Bröring, Saša Ostoja, Anne Claire de Breij, Claudie de Cleen, Krista van der Niet, Paul Faassen, Michelle Wagenaar, Jaap Scheeren, Gino Bud Hoiting, Daantje Bons, Jan Rothuizen, Eva Cremers, Joost Stokhof, Willemien Ebbinge and Aisha Zeijpveld.
Krista van der Niet – Lemon and Glass
Daantje Bons – Breathtaking
Anne Claire de Breij – Pink Cat
Leonie Bos – Portrait of Puberty
So, what’s the connection between them? “All these artists carry some craziness,” Jaap explains. “The theme is the love of creating art for Volkskrant Magazine. We allow the spirit of adventure that creativity demands. I’m so proud of the environment we created that brings out the best in everyone instead of stifling their talent. Have you seen some of the covers we designed lately? It’s so important to create a fine team with the best talent and most loyal artists. Art and design is an organic thing, right?”
At one level, curating the best work was a tortuous process, says Jaap. “Drawings, lettering, photography, paintings: my highlights change each day. I had a big ‘wow’ when I saw Leonie Bos’ painting. But it’s so impossible to choose.” He’s also contributed one piece himself. “I’m always designing posters about stuff I’m experiencing,” he says. “For me, these days are dark, in the middle of a split up. So, I took my chance to give my spirit a lift. A way to look positive to all horror, ‘Fuck Luck’.”
Creativity is king
We wonder how this experience has differed from curating for Coverjunkie. “It’s all about ‘Temptation’ and maybe some ‘Stopping Power’,” he responds. “I love that line from Oscar Wilde; “I can resist anything but temptation.” That goes both ways, as for cover design as for art. That witty line sums it up for me.
“On a cover, you maybe have one, maybe two splits of a second to persuade a reader to pick it up,” he explains. “Art as itself carries a different energy; it can switch perspectives in your mind; I adore that. Creativity is king and a perfect way to enjoy life a bit more.”
Michelle Wagenaar – The Loop
Monique Bröring – Be Happy
Overall, he stresses, it’s been a blast. “I adore these artists for their craziness, spontaneity and grit,” enthuses Jaap. “Working weekly with all this talent, intuition is our guide. We always work together in an informal setting where everything is possible. I don’t believe in the strict, procedural approach of stifling artists and boxing them in. Creating is an organic adventure! It’s about kicking ass, not kissing ass. These aces deserve all shout-outs possible. Enjoy; it doesn’t get any better than this!”
And Coverjunkie’s Chris Clarke is overjoyed with how it’s turned out. “Jaap and his tireless archive of inspiration in Coverjunkie have long been an inspiration for me and the wider editorial design community,” he says.
“Jaap has had a marked influence on the world of editorial design for the past two decades,” he adds. “And we’re thrilled to have him curate a collection of his favourite artists, illustrators and photographers, drawn from his vast experience as one of the world’s most decorated editorial art directors.”