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Inside House and Leisure's Collaboration with Nico Krijno

For our annual Art Issue, House and Leisure partnered with game-changing multimedia artist Nico Krijno on a Curate feature inspired by his work.

Nico Krijno

Nico Krijno | House and Leisure

House and Leisure has a long tradition of collaborating with South Africa’s most exciting young artists, and for the 2019 Art Issue we looked to the inspiring visuals and creativity of groundbreaking mixed-media champion Nico Krijno, whose work we adore.

For this issue Krijno, who lives in the Western Cape, worked with House and Leisure Decor Editor Chrizanda Botha on our regular Curate feature to mash together a spread of some of our favourite furniture and interior finds using his signature collage style. By layering images of products over landscapes and constructed textures, he followed a brief to create magazine pages that become unique decor-inspired artworks, expressing themselves in colour, material and form.

ALSO READ: Top SA Ceramicists Create a Collection for House and Leisure

We caught up with Nico Krijno to learn more about the collaboration, see what he’s cooking up in his studio at the moment, and discover a bit more about his process in general. 

Five Questions for House and Leisure Collaborator, artist Nico Krijno 

Nico Krijno | House and Leisure

You've called the construction of your images 'a game', so how does 'play' as a process unfold in your work? 

Game, play, humour and mistakes all go hand in hand. I think it's very important for good original art to be playful, full of pranks and humour. When I'm having fun I create the best work. 

Mozart, Picasso, Einstein… most of these greats came to their best ideas through creative play. Through play and experimentation we let new ideas unfold in the most natural way.

I’m not a fan of one-dimensional, spoon-fed, ham-fisted ideas with a split-second shelf life. When you let the work bubble from a true place, it will be laced with timelessness.

Some of your images are densely layered, but others feature only the slightest visible change. How do you know when one of your compositions is complete? 

To make my images, I sometimes take up to 10 images under different lighting conditions and angles to create the final image. [At] other times I might just take one image – I work with my instincts and feel my way through the piece, work[ing] on it until it feels resolved and complete and clicks with the original version I had in my head.

Nico Krijno | House and Leisure

You were one of our favourite people to follow on Instagram, but you then deleted your page. Why did you decide to leave the platform? 

Instagram is just not a very productive space for me. It became an unsustainable and unhealthy waste of time, and I don't want my life and work and family life to be so available.

I've also changed my relationship to my work recently. Today I make work for myself and not for some audience.

Ever since I left Instagram I have a lot more free time and focus for my work and growing family, and a funny thing has happened since I left the platform: people from all over the world contact me wanting to either work with me or buy my work, and when I ask them where they saw my work, 10 out of 10 times they say they saw the work in person – at an exhibition or art fair, or in a magazine.

What was it like creating the compositions you made for House and Leisure? 

I enjoy doing these kinds of projects. Everything somehow feeds back and informs my personal work. I loved the brief. 

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What's next for you?

I've got a new photo book, called How To Leave Your Body Behind, coming out in September. It will launch at Unseen in Amsterdam with b.frank books. I’m very proud of this work, and have been working on it for the past two years. 

To see the full Curate feature, check out the August/September issue of House and Leisure, and learn more about Nico Krijno's body of work at his website.  
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