jaap biemans / coverjunkie
"Design is about kicking ass, not kissing ass."
Were you born a designer? Let’s put it this way, it was pretty clear to me from quite an early age that maths wasn’t really my cup of tea. But hand me a sketchpad and my eyes would light up. That kid in class who was always sketching? That was me. When I was 14, I even started taking extra art classes — my friends thought I was nuts.
What was your childhood like? It was wonderfully carefree: football outdoors, snogs in the bike shed, fun-filled days at the carnival, and hours on the basketball court. I grew up in Waalre, a small town near the Dutch-Belgian border, so you knew everyone and greeted one another on the streets, which I find charming — I’ve always liked that. The easy-going approach to life was what worked, and still works, for me. I hung out with a close group of friends with whom I discovered girls, the city and the Beatles, and we remain friends to this day. I was shaken out of my reverie when my parents split up, though. I was 13 at the time, and suddenly had to start figuring things out myself, which I wasn’t quite ready for.
What remains of that child today? The daydreamy approach to life. I’ve been known for taking the train home after work, only to discover that I actually drove to work that morning. Even after you’ve become a grown up, you need to allow a part of yourself to remain young and in a state of wondrous reverie.
What did your parents do for a living, and what were they like as people? My father ran a carpentry business, which he took over from my grandfather. He’s a modest and good-humoured man. I inherited his carefree disposition, along with my mother’s nimble-mindedness. They gave me and my sister all the freedom we needed to find ourselves.