JEROEN KRUL (Deventer, 1993)
Jeroen attended the Illustration course at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Utrecht (HKU) for four years and graduated in the summer of 2017.
For a year now he has been working as a freelance illustrator / designer, both on behalf of various clients and on his own initiative.
His own initiated projects are based on his own visual and form language, with his Indo background playing an explicit role.
Grandma and grandpa
“Jeroen, come here. Can you help me in the kitchen? “
Jeroen was not yet aware how often grandmother involved him with her passion. Gradually, over the years, he became aware that this ‘passion for cooking’ was part of her Indo roots and ultimately also his.
“I could not do more than follow my feelings. Then I knew for sure, part of my background was intertwined in my work. ‘
During his graduation year, Jeroen struggled with ‘processing’ his personal story in the strict environment of the Academia. The Indo culture (with its origin in the Dutch East Indies) was not mentioned for the first time. Sometimes it came very close and at the expense of his creativity. How did you represent that intangible world of the Indo and prevent you from falling into clichés? His graduation project could not be about ‘nasi goreng’!
“For a year I felt like I was constantly running and hoping to make a good impression on my teachers here and there. It was only after my graduation that I started to enjoy drawing again. Then I actually understood what my teachers meant by their remarks to findinspiration close to myself.”
Sticking to the Indoan culture and being open to change within that culture is central to Jeroen Krul’s projects.
Because of his fascination with cultural changes due to outside influences, Jeroen started a research into his own Indo roots. Soon he finds himself in the well-known vortex of Indo clichés and notices that this is not how he wants to get started with it. He decides to design his project in exactly the same way as the search for his Indo roots, and to visualize that search.
‘The most important thing I discovered during the project was how differently I could look at the Indon culture. Since my grandmother and grandfather have declined in health, I was able to distance myself more from that Indo culture in order to better experience it. On one occasion I wanted to know everything about it, the other time I felt uncomfortable and I found everything even tiring. Again those Indos, those feelings of homesickness to the East Indies. This project had to be about me and that would certainly collide with the vision of one or more other Indos. Then I decided to call the project SPEKKOEK. You do not make spekkoek at once. You bake layer by layer and then eat it carefully. As two worlds of recognition and alienation. ‘
The result of his project Spekkoek was published in book form, in which Jeroen analyzes the Indo culture in various settings. The book starts with the well-known ‘old days’ of many Indos. Then he goes from ‘home’ to ‘outside’, into society, and looks at how the Indo culture is still present. Here, in addition to making illustrations, he makes a textual report and writes down what he thinks. However short and fleeting at times, it remains pure and direct. At the end of the book he describes why he does not want to justify himself for the Indo culture, simply because it is ‘so diverse and broad that you can not speak of one culture’.
‘Culture is constantly changing and that makes it so beautiful. Yet I was very relieved when the Spekkoek project was completed. My search sometimes felt so forced that the ‘Indo’ was hard to find. By not being too involved with it, the Indo culture sometimes looks better than when you are too busy with it. ‘
After his last project, Jeroen finally decided to make his long-awaited trip to Indonesia. Together with his girlfriend he will travels through Indonesia for a month and a half. A nice experience according to Jeroen, especially because at first nothing was in its right place. Because of his enormous high expectations, with a brand new project just behind him, in the beginning he gets blocked.
“I did not allow everything I saw to let in. I was so much looking for recognition at home, that I forgot that I was in a very beautiful country. After a few days I realized that and let go of the search. It brought me much more than I had thought beforehand. This was not the country from Grandpa and Grandma’s stories. They know another country. The ‘home feeling’ is back at home, in Deventer. And all the stories that are buried here should be left alone. In this way, as a third generation Indo, I can appreciate the ‘now’ much more than staying in ‘the old days’. Not that the past is unimportant, but sometimes you have to go further and focus on experiences that are important to you personally. ‘
During his special trip through Indonesia, Jeroen decides to report his experiences on the spot. This results in a second book called ‘Koppie Toebroek’, based on the free translation of ‘clashing coffee’.
The book is about the stories of the past, the residences of grandfather and grandmother, the grave of grandfather’s father, but also about that beautiful country, which creates a ‘mix of thoughts’. The clashing of the different cultures and the high expectations are in the foreground.
The book ‘Koppie Toebroek’ has now been completed. It is in stock and for sale through his website.
Jeroen will complete his Indo three-part illustration series in the coming months.
Lara Peeters interviewed Jeroen Krul on her blog Indoness (indoness.nl) entitled ‘The illustrations by Jeroen Krul; take part in a discovery trip to his Indo roots’. We are very grateful to Lara for having published the interview with Jeroen on her blog Indoness. The photos accompanying the interview are also from Lara Peeters.
On Friday 25 May 2018, Jeroen Krul will be present with other artists at a panel discussion at the TongTong Fair in The Hague. Look for more work from Jeroen on Jeroen Krul and also take a look at his Webshop where he sells his books and Indian prints.