One Minute with Belgian illustrator Jérémie Claeys
Name: Jérémie Claeys
Creative Medium: Illustration and design
Portfolio URL: jeremieclaeys.com
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work. I'm a Belgian illustrator working and living in Paris. I'm married to a beautiful french woman called Madeleine. And we have no pets nor any kids yet. I did a degree studying graphic design in Belgium, followed by a year studying theology in Oxford. I then worked as a graphic designer for three years. Finally I moved to Paris coming back to my first true love, illustration. Now I am looking to live off illustration and design as a freelance.
When I'm not drawing, you'll probably find me reading, writing, listening to music or watching a movie. I'm also part of a French christian collective of artists called Majestart.
If your portfolio could speak what would it say?
Trying to think visually in the most clear way possible whilst always having fun (very important!). I like creating pictures characterised and influenced by things like mid-century design, cubism, surrealism, "la ligne clair" and comic books.
What makes you different from other creatives? I try to approach each subject with playfulness. If there's no fun involved, there's no reason to do creative work. The best kind of pictures come out when we're having fun and when it's making sense to us. Each time I try to ask myself questions like : what can I bring to the party? How can I serve my client's purpose while keeping integrity with the artist I am? What is trully me? How can I evolve and do better than last time? I think illustration is one of the hardest things I do but can't help myself from doing it again and again. It's a daily adventure and I'm loving it.
Who has been your greatest influences? I really got into the whole design and illustration thing because of music packaging and the amazing work of the Clark brothers at Invisible Creature. They are the main reason why I'm doing creative work these days. Then, when I studied graphic design, retro illustration was really back in fashion and I discovered the work of people like Derek Yaniger, M. Sasek, Jim Flora, Charley Harper and masters of design like Paul Rand and Saul Bass. These days I try to connect more with my Belgian roots and am loving the work of Jan Van Der Veken or Antonio Lapone and all the "ligne clair" thing. I should also mention the French illustrator Blexbolex and Italian illustrator Olimpia Zagnoli who I'm more and more interested in these days.
What does your workspace/studio look-like?
I share a little "atelier" in a place called Montreuil - which is a well known area in Paris where lots of people do creative work. I moved my office space there only a few months ago and it's very exciting. I'm a social person, and altough working from home would be cheaper, I do like to work around other people (so I can have feedbacks, share a coffee or simply experience life). We baptised it "L'atelier Micheline" (because we are "rue du michelet") and there are five of us. We all do creative work. My personal desk is a bit messy at times. You'll usually find my computer of course, my wacom tablet, a bunch of books (I love books !), a few mugs and a few toys. And then behind me, a library with books again and posters on the walls. A direct and inspirational environment is very important to me. It helps me work well and feel at home.