Jan van der Veken
Jan Van der Veken studied graphic design and typography at the Sint-Lucas Institute (Ghent). He soon developed his own characteristic style, which was inspired by the Atom Style and with references to plastic art and pop art.
He looks for a balance between images and typography, text and images fade into one another. His use of colours is refined and his forms balance between taut and elegant. His work particularly shows the immense fun he has when he makes his drawings, his clear lines have a poetic effect and his austere drawings put a smile on the viewer’s face. He is a craftsman who makes the link between classic craftsmanship and renewal, his drawings are nostalgic but also contemporary.
Even when his subject matter is serious Jan manages to communicate it with a sense of optimism and wit. “I like to refer to Jacques Tati as one of my main influences as he’s a master in how he likes to frame things. Everything is well-timed and nothing is left to chance. He’s funny but not funny haha, like a stand-up comedian – it’s very introverted. I like this way of presenting life, with a quiet humour.”
He is specialized in making book covers and posters, websites and he published work of his own, but also makes illustrations for several journals and magazines, such as the The New Yorker and the quality publishing company Nobrow press.
He got a retrospective exhibition in Paris in La galerie Parisienne Petits Papiers (2011) and he participated in an exhibition in New York – A New Wave of Talent! Ten Flemish Illustrators at Flanders House (2014).
In 2013 a monograph of his work, for which he was praised by colleagues and critics, was published. It was entitled Fabrica Grafica, which is also the name of his studio. In 2016 he received the annual Culture Prize of the City of Ghent.