Esthetic Lens forwarded our Creative Quarantine questions to Belgian artist Laurens Jansen. He took the questions as a prompt and sent us his remarkable story.
I started drawing when I was 13, after being inspired by hip hop music and urban culture. It started with pencil drawings and I quickly gained an interest in graffiti.
I went to art school for 6 months and got kicked out for being “in my own zone” too much, and being hard-headed as to how I wanted to be creative, and what my topics were.
At the same time, I was really into sports and after getting contacted by a few clubs in Belgium I joined the Antwerp Giants. I ended up dropping out of school altogether and focused on my basketball career.
At age 30 I decided to quit professional sports, and shift my focus to art, freeing up more time to be creative and to follow my passion.
For the last 5 or 6 years, I really focused on my art, creating a unique style of my own and just doing what I love.
It became a lifestyle.
I am self taught, going on instinct and vibe…following my vision.
At all times being influenced by 90’s hiphop, street culture and sports.
At times losing my self completely in the creative process and drawing.
To the question “has covid had an effect on my work”, I will say no.
As an artist, I feel being in a bubble is kind of where we always are. I feel seclusion is needed to be creative, in a way it allows you to slow down and get in touch with your thoughts and emotions.
Shutting out all the “noise” is essential in order to hear your inner voice.
In my studio my imagination becomes my universe and everyone else is missing out.
I stopped watching the news or following the media 6 years ago, I noticed that all the negativity was getting to me too much. You are not just what you eat, you are also what you feed your mind, so be thoughtful of what you watch and read. It’s your choice.
On the other hand, living in Belgium, it’s hard to not notice the impact of Covid. We are one of the countries that got hit the hardest, and we have been in some form of lockdown / total lockdown for the last 8 months. At one point not even being able to get art supplies or even visit family.
The thing I miss most is not being able to plan art expo’s, as for now all I can do is post my work online mainly on Instagram as “LaurensJdrawings”
In the last few years, I had some great opportunities to showcase my work, after an expo at Milk Studios in Manhattan, I got invited to do an art expo at 20 years “YO MTV RAPS” in Brooklyn.
Soon after I got invited to showcase some of my ‘Biggie Smalls’ portraits at his 25 year “ready to die” anniversary at the William Vale in Brooklyn, in attendance of his family and friends.
Shortly after I flew back to NY to do a backstage expo at the Legendary “ Radio City music Hall”.
And then it all came to an abrupt halt when Covid took the world in its grip.
I don’t know how other artists are dealing with the crazy reality of having a global pandemic.
I never followed any other visual artists as I find it important to keep my vision clear, I don’t like being influenced by others work or compare myself.
It’s important to stay authentic and stay away from the temptations of doing what’s “hot” or “hype” at that moment in time.
I don’t care too much for the ‘flash in the pan’.
Being forced to stay at home is probably a hard thing to do for a lot of people. Not being able to go out and having to stay busy all the time will make people re-evaluate their lives.
Forced to be in their own bubble, who knows how many new artists will spring up? This Covid thing might just turn into a whole new art movement…