Jenny, tell us a bit about yourself and your background!
I’m an artist and designer from the UK, now happily based in beautiful Amsterdam. I originally trained and worked for over fifteen years as an illustrator and graphic designer. However, more recently, I was encouraged by my enduring obsession with visual culture to start integrating collage into my portfolio – one of the most fun, rewarding developments of my creative career so far. I love to create artworks featuring natural forms, fine detail, colour and light.
For me, my love of collage comes from an attraction to curation: the process of bringing together disparate elements to make a coherent whole… like a visual remix that pays homage to the source material but also obscures its original context. I’m drawn to building diverse, escapist worlds, where fresh stories and feelings emerge to be explored, and each piece has a spirit of its own. I’m captivated by the human experience as it relates to nature and our environment, striving to make work that reflects and supports that feeling. I aspire to bring playfulness and magic into my art, a sense of wonder.
How did you connect up with Lieuwe as a Featured Artist? Are you a kitesurfer, or where did the relationship start?
I’m not a kite surfer myself, although it does look like it would be amazing! I’m a freelance collage artist and designer based in Amsterdam; Erik contacted me early last year through Instagram. I think someone there suggested my work to him as being potentially a good fit for Lieuwe and a campaign they wanted t to create, which would feature their handcrafted kiteboards with unique artworks by various artists. I actually don’t know who that was, which is a shame because I’d love to thank them for the connection! Shortly after we were first in touch, I received an email from Erik with a potential concept for a brand-new board – the tropical flamingo-themed “true nature” – and after a chat on the phone about the project, I was excited to accept the commission and start work on the piece. Having had a lot of fun creating that first project for Lieuwe, I was delighted when Erik contacted me again in November with an idea for another custom board. That concept later expanded in scope to include more designs and became the paradise series.
What was the design brief that you received?
For the Paradise Series, I received a detailed visual brief covering everything from location inspiration to main visual themes and overall vibe and detailed design notes. the first design idea for the “Cape Town” leopard board changed significantly between the first draft and the final piece. It was tough at first to get the energy exactly right, especially for the expression of the leopard, but in the end, I think we nailed it.
What is your creative process from brief to final design?
My process does vary from client to client and according to the needs of each commission. With Lieuwe, normally, they will first send me a brief with their ideas and give me an overview of the project and its scope. Once we’ve agreed on the deliverables, we arrange a delivery date for the first draft, which is usually a simplified rough collage artwork for the bottom of each board; a kind of ‘sketch’ with basic composition, element placement, and colours. Following feedback from Erik and the team, I’ll then make suggested changes, going through a pre-agreed number of revisions until the design is just right. during this process, I'll also take certain elements from the artwork and create a simpler collage piece based on those for the top of the board so that we get a nice consistent theme for each design.
What sources did you seek out for inspiration on the kite paradise of Mauritius, Brazil, Tarifa, and Cape Town? Have you visited these destinations before?
I’ve actually never visited any of the destinations of the Paradise Series, so it was fascinating and really enjoyable to research! I looked at many different sites online; everything from typical tourist or conservation/local nature websites to travel blogs and Instagram kiteboarding feeds, stock photography sites such as Shutterstock or Unsplash, and other inspiration like vintage travel posters. Although we’re all familiar with the kind of clichéd ‘tropical’ aesthetic we see everywhere, I try to be more specific and look at locations and cultures in more detail, so that hopefully the featured designs (especially a more complicated piece such as the Cape Town leopard) seem a little more authentic than they would otherwise.
For sure! For a while, I was definitely on a learning curve with the ideal colours and shapes for the simpler board designs, especially where there is a cutout effect for the logo. We have to be very careful that the design doesn’t interfere too much with the legibility of the type over the honey-coloured wood and texture of the board. In addition to that, details mustn’t get cut off the edges, no matter the selected board size, and I also have to bear in mind where the screws, handle, and footpads are all situated when refining each piece. It’s a lot to think about! I’m happy to say that the more kiteboard collages I create, the more my experience enables me to instinctively take the production process into account, which means it’s a little easier every time.
Retrieved from: The IKSURFMAG