Interview with Jan-Pieter
Jan-Pieter’s work invokes a feeling of beautiful solitude, of sought out loneliness. There’s a certain vastness to his photos that leave the viewer feeling like they’re on a long journey through a dream, and getting lost is a welcome state. The shadows are deep and the contrast is high, and given that Jan-Pieter is still only a teenager, I’m beside myself in wondering what he’ll produce in the coming years.
“I’m a 17 year old boy from Ermelo, Holland. I enjoy peace, beauty, silence, and art – I find all that in nature. My goal is to find the beauty in everything and everyone. Music is my soul, my camera is a part of my body.“
You’re very young still and already producing such amazing images. Tell me a little about your self and your first experiences with photography as an art form.
When I was nine years old, I bought my first camera, a tiny digital compact-camera. For as long as I can remember, I liked to take photos of my environment. But it wasn’t until I was fourteen when photography became a passion. I upgraded to a DSLR-camera, and loved the opportunities that came along with it. For the first time in my life, I had the craving to try to become as good as possible. I learned by reading books on the theoretical aspect of photography. The internet also really helped me to improve my work, by looking at the photos of others and receiving constructive criticism.
How would you describe your work as a whole?
Experimentation is very important to me. I experiment with many different techniques and subjects, but I also try to maintain a recognizable style. My main goal is to make people feel. The world is too often so numb and hurried. I hope that I’m able to provide a way for people to dream away, even if it’s just for a second.
A lot of your work is focused on nature, and even more specifically on forests, what attracts you to these subjects?
Making photos of nature seemed an obvious choice in the beginning. I live in a forest-rich environment in Holland called the Veluwe. It’s five minutes away to the nearest forest, so my love for nature and woodlands has been there from an early age. One thing that attracts me to forests is the serenity. I basically need to be there from time to time, to come to rest. This calmness, and being cut off from the hasty world, is what I try to capture in my photos. I also love the variety of forests, and the difference in atmosphere throughout the day and year. A foggy, early morning, light breaking through a few moments later, the bright sunlight at noon, and the warm, yellow light in the evening. These moments, I find, are best spend in nature.
Do you travel often for new photographs?
Something I like to do, is to get lost in the woods deliberately, so I discover new scenes and expand my horizons. It’s also refreshing to make photos in unknown places, with different landscapes. I always take my camera with me when I go on holiday.
If you could travel to any place in the world to photograph, where would you go?
There are so many places in the world I would like to travel to. I’d love to photograph Scandinavia, especially Iceland. The rawness of nature out there is something you won’t find in Holland. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to go there yet, but who knows what the future brings!
Do you foresee experimenting with other subjects or mediums in the future?
Definitely! I have many ideas for the future. I keep a little notebook with me at all times, to write down all my ideas. Lately, I started trying out surrealism, and that’s something I want to expand in the future. Besides that, I want to experiment with traditional darkroom processes soon.
Being such a young artist that’s experiencing quite a bit of success, how do you feel about the art world and how you fit in?
So far, it’s been great. But I don’t think I have yet experienced the art world fully. I hope to get involved more when I go to art school. One thing I want to stay far away from is the ‘art elite’. Art isn’t just for a small group of people, it should be something for all people to enjoy. Bring it into the world!
You’re very active online with your art. How has the internet helped your art, how has it hurt it?
It has definitely helped me to improve. I post my work to various websites, such as DeviantART and Facebook. I always ask for feedback, positive or negative. I’m almost always busy with art one way or another, also online. I don’t think being active online has really hurt my art, but sometimes I have to tell myself to actually go out and make photos instead of being passive.
You recently asked your viewers online “what in art is more important, the progress or the result”, can you elaborate on your feelings about the two? What would your answer be to this question and why?
I don’t think you can see the progress and the result separate from each other. One of my viewers said it exactly the way I think about it, so I won’t try to put it into words any better: A good progress leads to a good result. For me it doesn’t matter if the progress is traditional or digital, old-fashioned or progressive. As long as the artist is sincere about it, you can’t be wrong.
I noticed that you feature other artists on your DeviantART page quite often. Are there any artists, online or off, that have influenced you?
In art, I don’t have a specific role-model. Modern society and it’s media provide me with so many different artists and artworks that I can’t possibly pick an all-time favorite artist. I’ve noticed that there are many lesser-known artists out there, who deserve so much more attention. That’s the main reason why I do these weekly features. There are some people who have, perhaps indirectly, influenced me. I come from a family with several artists. My uncle is a visual artist and a few other family members, including my dad, are musicians. I sometimes wonder if I would be where I am now if my dad was, for example, an accountant.
Do you have any exciting events or projects coming up that we should know about?
Some of my works will be exhibited in July next year, which I’m really excited for. As soon as I have more information, I’ll make sure to put it on my website.
Where can we go online to find out more about your work?