It's been a few weeks after a year passed since I was invited to L.A. The excuse was some skate press summit. Funny, since I'm not exactly an expert on the subject... but that's another story.
The good part of my 6 days in the 100 mile city was meeting a very interesting group of people. All self-made journalists, all art and culture hungry folk, all involved in the somehow "dying" business of printed press, and all related to skateboarding in one way or another. All "buenos amigos" now, too. I plan on talking about all of them here in Spatziba. But today let's focus on the hairiest of all: Jeroen Smeets. I don't know him too well, but I can probably assure you that this ridiculously young Amsterdamer has probably been involved in more events, art projects, music related parties, and has very likely hooked up with more interesting people in the past week than you or me in the last year. Among other things, he has been editor in chief of the independent subculture mag Reload for a while now, and I guess that after growing the project out a little bit with experience, he was in need of pursuing another one of his passions: art. In times like these when people stick to boring jobs to save enough money to keep buying expensive and unnecessary stuff, Jeroen embarked himself in a project called Your:Own. Part gallery, part artists agency, the business has only been running in the heart of Amsterdam for a few weeks. But don't be fooled, the same way that happens with this blonde himself, short schedules equals lot's of quality time. Just check out one of the dudes that ran a little exhibition a few weeks ago: Ed Templeton. Impressed much? You should, cause you will hear this name soon, and often.
But anyway, to let the man speak for himself, we asked a few easy questions to unveil the project a little better.
A CLASSIC: WHY "YOUR OWN" FOR A GALLERY NAME...?
YOUR:OWN started out as a wordplay on my own name. My name, Jeroen, is a typical Dutch name, but unpronounceable in any other language than Dutch. It seemed to make sense to start my new company with this name. When I started this gallery project i was actually looking for a new name, and had a few things going around in my head. But eventually I chose to go with YOUR:OWN because it can immediatly link to the possibility for the audience to own a piece of the artist that we exhibited. The gallery is meant to be a place where young creativity can flourish. Come see the show and get your own Joe Holbrook artwork.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE IDEAS BEHIND YOUR:OWN. WHAT KIND OF ARTISTS DO YOU WANT TO PROMOTE AND WHAT'S INTERESTING ABOUT YOUR FORMULA?
I'm trying to show a wide variety of artists and styles in the gallery. We've got illustrator's, portrait painters, abstract painters, graffiti writers and so on, but what connects them all is their creative energy. They all have this hands-on mentality that drives them to make their work the way they do. In my eyes these are also the artists that are ready for the next step, and to be recognized by the professional art world.
REFERRING TO THE LAST QUESTION, WHY ONLY 4 MONTHS?
The gallery is only one of the projects of YOUR:OWN. And therefor also only for a period of four months. With the support of Red Bull, I've been able to rent a place in the heart of Amsterdam, on a historic sight. Every two weeks we are showing a new exhibition by a young contemporary artist, along with a special guest. In collaboration with Emerica we've been able to show a photographic exhibition of Ed Templeton's work. To finish of the formula we've got the English artist Joe Holbrook to paint a portrait of every artist exhibiting in the gallery. That will be the last exhibition of this project, and will make a visual documentation of this group of artists.
After this gallery project, YOUR:OWN will continue as an artist agency where I will represent a couple of these guys and find new exhibitions and commercial work for them. I'm also looking into new creative projects right now, ranging from exhibitions spaces in Denmark, group shows around Europe and perhaps a magazine. There are a few balls up in the air, who knows where they will land.
Oh, by the way, I'm Angel, Spatziba newbie. Nice to meet you.