Jordy van den Nieuwendijk: An Illustrated Life
Based in The Hague, Jordy van den Nieuwendijk is an illustrator, painter and drawing teacher. With recent solo exhibitions at the Nina Sagt Gallerie in Düsseldorf and the Moiety in Williamsburg, New York, Jordy’s work appears in publications such as Vogue, The Fader, New York Times or Le Monde. The lively illustrations featured in the MYKITA FIRST lookbook mark his first collaboration with MYKITA.
Jordy at his home in The Hague. Photos by Jordi Huisman for Freunde von Freunden.
What made you pursue life as an artist/illustrator?
Lots of drawing in primary school — No notebook, schoolbook or school board was safe. Doing graffiti as a teenager must have been an important period too. It was a period in which I tried to develop a recognisable iconic style, and to show this work to as many people as possible. My spray cans and all the running from the police turned into a desk with a computer and running to make my deadlines.
Do you work mainly on commissions or own projects?
I love to draw lines, but do not draw one between these two. Both commissions and personal projects inspire each other. Sketches for a commercial job can easily inspire me for a painting if I come across them in my sketchbooks later. And sometimes I get asked to work in the style of my paintings for a commercial project. Both have their pros and cons!
Describe your style as an illustrator in five words?
Fun, fetching, fluid, flourish & festive.
How did you develop your signature style?
A few years ago I started using a lot of white in my drawings and paintings. I fooled around with negative space and leaving parts of paintings uncoloured. A client asked me to remove the colours from a few cartoonish drawings and I ended up with the black outlines only. To still put some colour in the works, I gave every line of the illustrations a different colour. It’s a simple trick but I liked the outcome and kept being interested in drawing like this.
Jordy at his studio in The Hague. Photos by Jordi Huisman for Freunde von Freunden.
Can you imagine doing anything else professionally? What would that be?
Yes, definitely. I love to work with wood for example, and can imagine it is amazing to be a carpenter. Or to work in a garden all day, imagine that!
You also work as a teacher at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague: What do you enjoy most about teaching?
Don’t ask me why, but last year I thought paying a gym a lot of money every month, would automatically gave me this astonishing body. Well, turns out you have to lift a lot of really heavy things and I told myself I was too busy for the gym. I remember this sentence though, printed really big on the wall of the building: “The more energy you put into something, the more you get out of it.” This is so true for teaching at the Royal Academy. Forty-five different students who all need a different approach, all have different interests and attitudes to work. But motivating them, and seeing their progress, and the things they draw now compared to the beginning of the year is SO satisfying.
Your work seems inspired by the natural world: Do see yourself as a city or country person?
We have a lot of tulips in The Netherlands, but I think our country is not exactly known for its flora and fauna. I started drawing plants that stood around in my house, for no reason besides having fun doing it, and figuring that it’s good practice. To answer the question — might as well — I absolutely enjoy walking my dog on the beach every morning, but do think of myself as a city person. I think.
Illustrations from the lookbook for MYKITA FIRST by Jordy van den Nieuwendijk
Tell us about the process for the illustrations in the MYKITA FIRST lookbook?
There was this cool set of pictures taken of the kids wearing the new glasses collection. The pictures were taken in the city in places with a lot of green: a rooftop with a lot of plants, a garden of a huge house, etc. I was asked to react to these images in a style similar to the paintings I did for an exhibition in NY from last year, all plants and bright colours. It was a fun process as I did a lot of different versions of plants for every picture, and then went through them with the MYKITA team. We kept selecting the best ones until this strong set of images remained.
When did you first start wearing glasses?
I never did an eye test up until I started going to the cinemas often and found out I looked very angry when I tried to read the subtitles. I ended up doing one and got the advice for glasses around five or six years ago. As I did not enjoy the thought of putting a finger with a little piece of glass in my eye, I never warmed up to the idea of lenses.
What did your first pair of glasses look like?
People described me as Clark Kent all the time, enough said right?
Discover the MYKITA FIRST collection.