With her last name, Jenna Arts was destined to either become an artist or a doctor (arts in Dutch). Luckily she chose the first, with her own typical style she has a gift for showing you what goes on behind her artworks. Her illustrations pop up regularly, for instance in the Dutch newspaper nrc.next where she combines the news articles with her cleverness and wit.
Hi, where do you live / where are you from?
Hi, I grew up in the rural part of Dutch Brabant, after which I headed west and moved to the city of Breda.
How does this place influence you as an artist?
Under the influence of the Art Academy St. Joost I really grew here as an artist and really fell in love with the city. Breda doesn't try to be big, beautiful or cosy, but it is all these things. It's both a small town and a city at the same time and it's close to all the other big cities of The Netherlands.
What are your finest moments?
In the morning or in the evening, but especially at dusk. During fall or spring, in the city or in a train, with coffee or the right music, when I have a view or when I'm paid, when you're not watching or in the moment.
And your worst?
In the afternoon, winter or summer, with a full stomach, without coffee or (with the wrong) music, on monday or under a grey sky,in a bus or car, when I'm not getting paid, when work gets too technical and when you're watching me.
How do you start working on a new illustration or artworks?
It always starts with an image, idea or object that comes to mind. This can be something I suddenly start noticing on the streets, certain behavior of people or an abstract thought I want to follow up on. My inspiration and fascination is always a bit unsteady but 'humanity' seems to be a central point in my work.
Out of habit I make a one or two word note of that feeling or idea in my notebook, often that will do enough for me to be able to revive that image or moment later when I need it. That's why my phone and sketchbooks are full of weird word combinations that only I can understand.
After that I start out with a rude pencil drawing which I work out into the final form.
How do you think people will know you in ten years time?
I like to be surprised by the future, but people might know me by my (wayward) style, my use of colors or hopefully by the covers I made for The New Yorker.
Finally, what do we really not know about you yet?
I have shoe size 36 (5,5 US)
2009 - 2013 AKV St. Joost Bachelor Illustratie
nrc.next, Mest Magazine, Uitgeverij Atlas, Contact, EKKO, The Daily Indie
Hopper Rotterdam, January - March 2014
EKKO Utrecht, May + June 2014