Get Familiar: Jim Klok
Interview by Passion Dzenga | Artwork by Jim Klok
Patta Soundsystem and Apron Records have shared a drawing board for the first time and together they have created a Trucker Cap and a Graphic T-Shirt that echo the racing theme of the whole project. "Better Together" is the slogan that runs throughout the entire collaboration, stressing how unity makes us stronger as individuals. Artwork for the record has been provided by Amsterdam based artist Jim Klok. His unique Acetone printing technique has now been immortalised on this LP, juxtaposing vintage cars with checkered racing flags to create a dynamic cover that would be right at home in a picture frame as well as a record bin. We caught up and got familiar with Jim Klok to find out what makes him tick.
How did art first enter your life?
For some reason, I remember being really excited as a little kid to go to this sculpture park called Kröller Müller in the east of the Netherlands. We used to go there in primary school, and of course, going to a museum was the dullest activity of the year, but for some reason, I liked going there.
Maybe because I didn’t understand what the purpose of all those sculptures were, and I sort of liked that. In my head, they didn’t need a reason to exist. This resonated with me because I was also skateboarding and this also didn’t really have a direct purpose or goal. At first glance, the sculptures seemed useless, yet there was this huge museum for them.
Did you grow up with creativity around you?
It was definitely handed down from my brother. He was really good at drawing and I just remember wanting to draw like him and never being able to. We grew up in a bible belt town dead centre in the Netherlands, but of course, there was a group of 20 people skateboarding, doing graffiti, exposing us to the right music and so on. I remember everyone hanging together at the little skatepark we had. The town was so small yet there were all these subcultures represented by two or three people. Although it seemed some ideologies would normally clash, the town was so small we had to make it work. The common denominator everyone shared was skateboarding. Some of those people hanging out were proper Gabbers (dutch hardcore), yet they could do a 360 flip in their Air Max. Skaters, soccer players, gabbers and goths all share one space. These divisions are not relevant nowadays, but back then they still seemed to matter so it was cool to see stuff being mixed.
What would we usually see you doing at the Patta studio?
The designers will have some idea for a graphic or a reference they want to flip. This is where I come in and make a rough outline of what this graphic might be. If it has potential we’ll continue working on it and it might end up in a style.
I started part-time at the studio in the last year of my studies at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. You don’t really learn any technical skills there, so I’m very thankful for Vincent being patient with me and letting me figure stuff like Illustrator out on the spot. It’s nice to have a job where your designs don’t have to come from you all the time. You can sort of work anonymously out of your comfort zone, which is very liberating.
Right now I’m actually taking a break from the studio since I’m working on a book project which is taking up all my time.
What do you like to do when you are not making art?
You can probably find me at Olympiaplein.
What medium do you usually like to work with?
I’ll let the content I work with decide that for me! Most of the stuff is on paper though.
Have you been working with Acetone printing for a long time?
For two years now I think. I started cultivating this very simple image transfer technique in order to produce work during the first lockdown in the Netherlands. I was graduating from the Rietveld at that time, and I had to find a way to make something happen from my house since everything, including the school, was closed. It seemed effective for creating visual narrative quickly, so I ran with it and used it for my graduation work which was a collaborative publication our class made. Ever since then I’ve been tweaking the technique and trying to improve upon it, some parts are still a mystery to me.
Where do we find room for print in a digital age?
There’s always room for it. The more digital everything around us becomes, the more desire for print and physical objects there will be.
How important is collaboration to your process?
Most of my projects are collaborative. I’m usually working for or with someone since I’m more a designer than an artist.
What was the concept behind this work that you made for the record?
Since the record is thematically set around the idea of cars, I got sent a list of all-time favourite car models from the good people over at Apron. I’m not a car person at all, so working with car imagery and understanding all the subtle differences was pretty new for me. I guess the prints I make have some sort of gestural movement in them coming from the way the technique works. I started combining the pictures of the cars and other imagery into something that would visually represent maybe some street rally from the 90s.
Does your work being on a physical object change the way you interact with the art?
I guess so? I made the print on 1:1 scale so maybe this idea of it being a reproduction of an actual work hopefully translates somehow. Thanks for the opportunity Vic!