In your Face
Published in:
, by Katja
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
/ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Photos by: Rachel Margaretha Ecclestone, Jochem Ruarus

He’s the kind of guy with whom conversations can reach the infinite. From algorithms to politics and from there back to laughing your hearts out. Charmingly sassy, he must be one of the most uninhibited guys I’ve ever met.

Speak of the devil and he’s sure to appear, designer Jochem Ruarus is in today’s menu.


BBB: Why art?

J.R.: You should replace “art” with “design” - I’m not an artist, I’m a designer; and graphic design can be accessible. It provides information and absolute freedom to the spectator. It’s a message and I’m the mediator.

I’m always searching for the boundaries of art; It’s not just aesthetics I pursue, I want involvement. And fine art does have limits.

Growing up in Texel, an island in the Netherlands, he was a strange kid in a suppressing school environment, all with a surprising result. Reverse psychology in full effect, guys.
Exploring technology, fashion, subcultures and society, there’s a political tinge in his works that is fearlessly explicit. Questioning everyday life, they bring about a constant call to action.

BBB: What is your method when someone assigns you a project?

J.R.: Research! It’s a matter of communication between me and them, them and their needs and I initially treat those as a carte blanche. We will find together what is it they really want. There is a story there and I’ll find the best way to tell it; I believe in the unconditional freedom of the artist: I wanna know everything but I respect the speculative nature of knowing.

BBB: And what about all the small jobs an artist has to do in the meantime?

J.R.: I don’t give a shit.

BBB: And what is your biggest fear?

J.R.: The moment of misalignment - finding out that there are experiences of people that I might never understand. Cultures fascinate me. Trying to find the rationale behind my interest, I think it’s comparison; figuring out something that is not mine.

He’s flirting with love and protest at the same time; they might as well be two sides of the same coin, after all. Contemporary and hilariously witty, he’s smoothly juggling among hardcore culture, punk and romanticism.


BBB: There is a discussion about a strange way by which Amsterdam is evolving. What do you think is the reason?

J.R.: I feel that Amsterdam is becoming scared of the new generation and its ways. A big differentiation in creative ideas.


BBB: And how would you say we could tackle this?

J.R.: Less social media - more power to the streets. A change in education. Universities should combine theory and art, physics and sciences - we need each other.

BBB: So you think cultures could also collaborate?

J.R.: Hell yeah!


Rumor has it that lots of his works he lovingly devotes to his mom.