Jacob Vanden Berge is an illustrator and painter based in greater Los Angeles. He has a knack for the finer things in life like nipples, feet, and kisses. His most recent zine is a gilded collection of illustrations and graphics, some of which were also recently featured at the RVCA Fairfax store in Los Angeles. We asked JVB a few questions about the zine and where he’s headed next.
Hi Jacob! There’s a range of characters in your most recent zine. What type of people do you depict?
I’ve never even thought about that, to be honest. I like legs and girls, so I draw or paint them usually. I think I depict all types of people, but often in a sad setting.
What do you enjoy about zines as objects?
Well for one, you can make them so cheap and it’s something that most people are willing to buy and keep. Most people who want to buy a $300 dollar painting from you aren’t able to do so but a $10 zine is accessible.
What is your favorite material to sit down and work with?
I’m always painting on wood, so I guess paint and wood are my favorite. I’m getting into silkscreening, it’s a lot of fun. I’m going to have a lot of my next projects on clothing.
What can you share about printing with gold material for the 24k zine?
My mom had a laminator and extra foil stuff that she gave me. I ran it through the laminator to see what happened. So I spent all my money at the scrapbooking store. I’m a scrapbooker… but that’s off the record.
What’s up with you and piss? It’s like a deliberate, Ed Ruscha-style delivery of text.
Have you ever heard the Patti Smith song, ‘Piss Factory?’ I feel it’s like an anthem for broke people, so I’m starting a collective (named after that song) of artists who just want to create and take over LA with a new scene of art. I’m working with a mix of German and LA-based artists and we have a group show planned for January. Piss is the clothing aspect of the collective that helps to fund future potential projects. We make one-off prints on thrifted clothing, so that’s been really fun but it’s still changing daily.
You use a lot of symbols from popular culture in the zine, balanced out by your own drawings. What’s your angle there?
It’s just all of the trends I’ve seen in the last year or two. It’s a sarcastic middle finger to all this shit. I hate trends, but I hypocritically use them too, and I think that we all do.
You also have a lot of open mouth kisses, ankles, and nipples in your work. Are you a romantic or a pervert? I’m a romantic pervert! No, I think you just answered it yourself. I think all art is pretty romantic in a way. One of the most romantic things is kissing, so it’s fun to draw.
As an artist, who are the best types of friends to have?
All of my friends are artists in their own ways. I think the best friends to have as an artist are people who are doing things differently than you. My friends all make music and that influences me, I think music influences everything. It’s a good thing to have around as an artist. Even if they are terrible like the Cosmonauts and Travesura.