Artist Introduction: Jonathan Niclaus
Since the foundation of A Kind of Guise, it always has been important for the AKOG Team to learn from, discuss and exchange with talented people from different creative backgrounds, from carpenters to illustrators, from architects to photographers.
For the Spring/Summer 20 collection, our idea was to bring to life the cheerful and positive vibes of Ghana and its beautiful scenery. We’ve teamed up with Berlin-based Jonathan Niclaus. It could be said, it was love on first sight; we have followed his abstract and aesthetic work for many years while he has been a loyal AKOG supporter.
We visited his studio for a short interview.
What are you passionate about?
Nouvelle vague films, brutalist architecture, sun-drenched soundtracks and the colour blue.
I love to explore things from the past. Things will always come back, it’s an endless carousel of ideas and trends. The goal is to create something timeless.
What are your preferred tools and materials?
Anything that creates a line works for me. The collaboration with AKOG has drawn my attention to fabrics.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I always felt like the more you want to feel aesthetic the more you surround yourself with it and feed your brain subconsciously. Watching good films and listening to the right soundtrack is an essential part of my process. Getting away from things to then let the creative oven work on its own et voila maybe something pops up. Or it won‘t. I used to stress myself a lot when it wouldn’t but creativity isn’t something you can force, you have to be patient with it and be certain that the right thought will come. No worries, we’ve done this before.
Do you mostly work at home or also in other places?
I love working from home. I created my own paradise where I can stretch out my mind, whistle along with the soundtrack and lie on the floor daydreaming gateways into the ceiling.
The days where I don’t see a single soul give me the feeling of living alone on an island. Stranded with my thoughts and surrendering to them. Palm trees and tribal masks are my companions, inspiration comes in waves, searching for new tracks like coconuts.
Is there a place/city that inspires you the most?
I’ve travelled to Marseille at least 2-3 times a year. For me, it’s one of the most inspiring cities in the world, as it has so many facets. The city’s weather mixed with its structure and peoples way of living. Marseille is a heterogeneous city, like a bouillabaisse a mix of things which you do not think would work together but do. Rich, Poor, North African, French and so on. What can I put into my work that wouldn’t work at first, but ends up co-existing.
What artist(s) have a big influence on you?
Nature, the biggest of all artists. From the human figure to a single leaf. The code of their visual DNAs is the secret behind every good piece of painting or symphony. If it’s a composition, proportion, colour or shape. Nothing delivers as much inspiration as 4 billion years of exploration.
Is there a current exhibition that you can recommend?
I saw the Francis Bacon exhibition in Centre Pompidou a few weeks ago and thought it was pretty impressive.
His use of colours has always inspired me. The colour composition is very impressive, I have rarely seen a contemporary artist with such precise colour selection which makes the work feel very actual. Seeing these paintings in real life, which are usually in triptychs, and on such big scales really impressed me and fueled my desire to explore the medium.
What is your favourite book?
Alice in Wonderland by Dali. The book was recently re-issued. It’s a story we all know and grew up with but through these illustrations, it is taken to another level TS Eliot would surely approve of. Two architects of the imagination who push us to always think further.