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According to Jeroen Smeets of the Jaunt, art and travel are the two best things in life. Find out how his platform seeks to combine these two through the medium of creativity. 

By Cassandra Pizzey / 13-02-2014

The Jaunt is a platform for artists to gain new inspiration by going on trips around the world. Artworks are sold in advance for fixed (fair) prices but the buyers have no idea what the outcome will be. Design.nl speaks with founder and initiator Jeroen Smeets about the adventurous nature of his business.

What is you background story, you call yourself an art curator and travel planner, where did this mix of passions come from?

“I've been working together with artists on a variety of projects (amongst others with YOUR:OWN and EIGHT magazine) and exhibitions, so the curator title comes with the job I suppose. The travel planner title basically comes from me fulfilling the role of travel agency for the artists. It feels like a very natural mix to me, as they are the two things I love doing the most. I often tell people that The Jaunt combines the two best things in life; Art & Travel.”

Can you tell us something about the Jaunt, when did you get the idea?

“The idea came to mind about two years ago. I started to notice that in every artist interview or article I read, traveling was listed as either the biggest source of inspiration or the biggest desire. Around that time I heard about a Danish artist who asked his family and friends for donations to make a trip to Iceland. In return he would reward everybody with an artwork. I loved the idea and tried to form it into a project. Then after a year of working out how to do it, we sent out our first artist in April 2013.”

Why is it important that artists get to travel for new inspiration and why did you want to become the facilitator?

“I believe that traveling takes somebody out of their comfort zone, and all of a sudden you are open to all these new impressions. It’s something that just doesn’t happen during our daily routine but it can open the eyes and mind to new inspiration. Not being an artist myself it feels only natural to be the catalyst for other artists and create possibilities for them to create new art works.” 

Can you tell us about the concept of The Jaunt? People pay up front for the artwork, it sounds a bit like crowdfunding.

“Within The Jaunt we offer people the chance to buy a limited edition screenprint for a very affordable price. The only catch is that you don't know what the artwork will look like. You can only order your print prior to the trip and at that moment all you know is which artist is going to which destination. This creates a unique, creative energy between the artist and the buyer, who becomes part of the creative process thanks to the travel blog that the artists keeps while they are on their trip. It certainly has elements of crowdfunding, except that our trips will always take place ensuring there is no uncertainty there.”

There have been five trips so far with the sixth taking place at the end of February with Jeroen Erosie travelling to Stockholm, Sweden. So far the artists have included Miss Lotion (Marrakesh), Amanda Marie (Glasgow), Sasa Ostoja (Riga), Collin van der Sluis (Porto), and Hedof (Helsinki).
 

How do you pick the artists?

“Through all the projects and exhibitions I did before starting The Jaunt I was able to follow a lot of artists up close. I talk to a lot of artists about what they are working on, and what they want to do in the future. Then, if there is a match between our programme and what they are working on I invite the artists. It’s not an open application kind of thing, we tend to pick the right person for the job.

You're working mainly with graphic designers, is that a conscious choice?

“Actually I think that most of the artists we work with fall in between this exciting crossing field of graphic design, illustration and art. The borders between these fields are fading and the artists we work with are pushing the boundaries. So yes, it's definitely a conscious choice, but it's also not something we want to be defined by. We want to work with great artists, whatever field they are from.”

Could you tell us a little bit about your screen printer Joris Diks, how did the collaboration come about?

“I was referred to Joris Diks by a good friend of mine, and by that time he’d just started his screen printing studio in Utrecht. Joris has been printing for years, and has great contacts in the live music scene. Through pop venues he's printed an entire series of live gig posters. We connected thanks to a mutual respect for each others work, and from that point on Joris has been our screen printer. By making sure that all our prints are printed by the same printer we are able to deliver a continuous high level of quality.” 

What is your message?

“Step outside, travel the world and explore. And perhaps even more importantly;  Have fun doing it. “

What are your big picture plans with The Jaunt and what can we expect in the future?

“Right now we are in our second year of existence and we'll be introducing a few new features in the near future, amongst others a new website. Other then that we hope to build The Jaunt into a bigger platform and project by adding meaningful products to add to our travel and art philosophy.”

Keep an eye out on Design.nl for more news about the Jaunt and an interview with Jeroen Erosie about his experiences in Stockholm.


http://thejaunt.net/

Images:

Miss Lotion

Amanda Marie

Sasa Ostoja

Collin van der Sluis

Hedof

Stockholm, Sweden

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