For Dutch artist Jeroen Huijbregts, the perfect piece is about what he sees in his mind. His art always involves characters most of us know but recreated in new ways.
Huijbregts’ love of hip-hop and graffiti informed his style, remixing familiar sounds and images into new work. Relatively new to the international art scene, his pieces are like coming home to an old favorite.
We’ll dive into the mind of this Dutch cartoon aficionado to discover the inspiration behind his creative mashups.
Let’s check it out!
About Jeroen Huijbregts
Amsterdam native Jeroen Huijbregts always loved comics and cartoons. In fact, in elementary school, he traded drawings for A-Team trading cards.
At age ten, after watching a documentary about the rise of graffiti in Amsterdam, he fiddled around with the art form. Because of graffiti’s focus on words and typography, young Jeroen became fascinated with letters and shapes.
After high school, Huijbregts decided a career in graphic design fit his skills. He attended the Amsterdam Design College to study graphic design.
Fort Knox Graphic Designers recognized his eye for composition, and after graduation, Jeroen spent three years honing his skills. At the end of his time with the design company, Jeroen Huijbregts struck out on his own. As a freelancer outside of the fast-paced agency life, he finally had time to do his own work.
Huijbregts could never shake the love of cartoons and comics from childhood. And so, in his spare time, he started putting onto paper the images in his head.
Inspired by hip hop’s sampling aesthetic, the artist began creating mashups of classic cartoon and comic book characters. Examples include a smurf and the genie from Alladin, Spiderman and Batman, and Marge Simpson and Cookie Monster. Each of these characters got the Huijbregts treatment.
In 2014, his friend Peter from Name Gallery in Amsterdam asked him to be part of a group show. From there, Huijbregts’ career took off.
What is Jeroen Huijbregts’ Art Style?
Inspired by his love of comics and cartoons, Huijbregts’ style is unlike anything we’ve seen. Like Seth Brundle from Cronenberg’s The Fly, cartoon characters go into the artist’s mind and emerge as something new.
Using a combination of hand-drawn characters and digital manipulation, the mashups appear lighthearted and joyous.
His best-known works connect contemporary comic book characters, classic cartoons, and graphic design. Jeroen Huijbregts talks at length in interviews about how he doesn’t create for anyone but himself.
If viewers like the work he makes, that’s a happy accident. It isn’t like he’s the only contemporary artist exploring these intersections. But Jeroen does it without the cynical point of view that many have. There isn’t some larger political or social goal to his art; he just loves it.
What Inspires Jeroen Huijbregts’ Art?
Inspiration comes from childhood for Huijbregts. In an interview with Chris Jalufka of Eviltender magazine, he discusses his childhood’s influence.
The artist told the magazine, “For my work, it’s easier to take the references from my own childhood. Because they mean something to me. I love drawing them and giving them that little twist, exploring the colors and lines.”
The combination of hand drawing and digital manipulation makes his work special. For example, in The Man Who Took My Sunglasses, hand-drawn cartoon characters and a classic painting form a composite image in Photoshop.
In Europe, the mashup culture never really caught on. In the US, however, we recognize the genius in Huijbregts’ work for what it is.
What Are Some of Jeroen Huijbregts’ Art Pieces?
Huijbregts’ best creations are seamless. There isn’t a line between one image and the other; they meld perfectly. Colors and lines create one cohesive creature, never before seen or imagined.
For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow
Hanna-Barbera’s Top Cat and Fred Flinstone come together in For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow. We can see the artist’s inspiration in combining these characters in the shapes of the originals.
Flinstone and Top Cat both include angular lines and a sense of movement in their composition. Like some kind of large puppet, Top Cat overlays Flinstone’s face and seems to be part of him. The real genius here is how seamlessly the two characters come together.
What brings the two characters in The Youth together is more than just on the surface. Big Bird and Lisa Simpson share a pureness of heart that draws them together.
Available in a limited run of 25 screenprints, the Picasso-esque composition is stunning. You can see the love Huijbregts has for these two characters shine.
Another mashup from The Simpson’s universe and Sesame Street, Marge Monster, just makes sense. Marge’s massive blue beehive takes on new life with Cookie Monster peering through the top. Of course. What else could it be?
Available in a few versions, this early piece foreshadows Huijbregts’ developing aesthetic.
Where Can I See Jeroen Huijbregts’ Art?
After his first gallery show in 2014, Huijbregts’ art appeared in several gallery shows in Europe and New York. A few years later, in 2019, he showed some art pieces in Austin, Texas, at the Mondo Gallery.
After that, things mostly dried up for gallery exhibitions. But you can still find his work easily on his Instagram page, where he posts semi-regularly.
Childhood Favorites Reimagined
Nostalgia is a powerful tool for Jeroen Huijbregts. His odd-ball mashups, executed in classic graphic design style, reach out and grab viewers by their childhood.
We love his whimsical style. And while there’s something for everyone to enjoy, Huijbregts doesn’t focus on his ideal audience. He creates for his own enjoyment. And that’s clear in every stroke of the pen.
Which piece from Jeroen Huijbregts speaks to you? Let us know in the comments below.
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