Jaco Haasbroek is an illustrator and designer based in Cape Town.
If you’ve ever seen The Good News headlines on lampposts around town you’ve seen some of his work. He’s our selected artist for this month’s Official Warm Up, taking place at the Gin Bar on First Thursdays.
We asked him a few questions.
You are a man that wears many hats – DJ, Illustrator, ‘Newsman’, amongst others – How would you describe yourself professionally?
JH: I guess professionally I’m an illustrator & art director. The majority of my ideas manifest themselves through illustration, so this has become the main source of income for me. I enjoy making things and the creative process. Most of my work is concept driven and I have a great love for simplicity. Side projects develop organically from the random ideas I have and can take on a variety of forms, but these tend to be love projects and don’t necessarily pay the bills.
What was your path to getting to where you are now? Did you always imagine doing the kind of work that you do?
JH: I’ve always wanted to be an artist. My idea of what that means and entails has changed, but the overarching goal or theme has remained. I took art as a subject at school, studied Fine Art at Stellenbosch University where I discovered a love of design and a more independent way of making art. Upon completing my degree I worked in advertising for two and a half years. This helped me view the creative process from a more concept driven side. It consisted of a lot of problem solving through creative thinking and I really enjoyed this approach. I went freelance for a couple of year after that and worked as a designer in two different jobs. I took on these jobs when financial stresses became a bit overbearing. Most recently I worked at Made by Radio as an illustrator and art director and this proved to be an invaluable experience that pushed me to improve my own craft and broaden my skill set. After almost two years at the studio I am now working freelance again.
Humour plays a big role in your work. Where does that sense of humour come from?
JH: I honestly don’t know. I think it’s the sixth sense that we are all born with.
Can you tell us a little bit more about “The Good News”. What is the story behind that story?
JH: The Good News is an ongoing series of fictional, light-hearted and generally positive newspaper headlines that I put up in and around the city. The concept came about when I was driving home and spotted a ‘STOLEN’ pet poster. It’s quite sad when someone loses a pet and the idea popped into my head that by simply adding ‘OUR HEARTS’ at the bottom of the poster it would completely change its meaning and give it a positive spin. This idea then evolved into the fake news posters, which rely on the use of wordplay to celebrate the little everyday victories. I’m allowing the project to develop organically but would also like to expand the concept to include more than just the headlines. Possibly a publication of sorts.
Any advice for people starting out in the creative industries?
JH: Trust your gut. When it feels right, go with it. Try not to compare yourself with others. The internet is a great resource, focus on the ways it helps you to showcase your work. Put yourself out there. Know that it takes hard work and patience to get to where you want to be. If you put in the work, and you keep at it, the rewards will come. Sometimes you need to take on work you might not want to, but short term sacrifices will help you reach those long term goals.
Top 5 ‘desert island’ albums?
JH: The Strokes – Is This It
Radiohead – Okay Computer
Arcade Fire – Funeral
Justice – †
The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground
Where can people follow you and your projects?
Catch Jaco Haasbroek at the Official First Thursdays Warm Up. He’ll be doing a DJ set from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, with an exhibition of some of his work up as well. The Official First Thursdays Warm Up is produced by Thursdays Projects in partnership with Maker’s Mark Handmade Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky.