Illustrator Jan Robert Duennweller's erratic style creates "visual headlines"
- Owen Pritchard
- 28 July 2016
Jan Robert Duennweller’s work is content-driven and combines observation with a healthy dose of irreverence. His naïve-looking drawings belie his ability to condense complex subjects into engaging and entertaining images. Having first studied industrial design, Jan then took a masters in visual communications in Istanbul and at the Bauhaus in Germany. “Usually I work in an editorial context. First I read the text I’m given, then I re-read the article tagging words and sentences that summarise the statements or puns. Then I try to find metaphors or words that trigger images in my head as a starting point,” says Jan. “I always try to find an image that could work like a visual headline, that sums up an idea and maybe opens a second layer to the text. If the context fits, I try to make it funny.”
His regular commissions for brand eins, have tackled subjects that range from Camus’ The Myth of Sysiphus to the subject of individuality in corporations. His erratic mark making on the page brings each subject to life in a way that challenges the traditional tone of a business publication. “I’m very critical towards my work and feel like I ́m still at the beginning, slowly figuring out the direction I want to take,” says Jan. “I’m proud of my work for brand eins, because they were my first big client and I have regularly worked with them since I graduated in 2013. It’s such a great and easy-going relationship with a lot of trust and freedom.”
With influences that range from Christoph Niemann to Buster Keaton and Juergen Teller, Jan’s portrait work draws on different sensibilities – creating more serene and slower-paced images. In the future he hopes to apply his ideas to animation, fashion or installation work. “I would also love to collaborate more with other creatives on self initiated projects,” he says. “Just keep on working, enjoy life, learn, grow and explore!”
About the Author
Owen joined It’s Nice That as Editor in November of 2015 leading and overseeing all editorial content across online, print and the events programme, before leaving in early 2018.