10 Things x Koos Groenewald

On art with humour + doodling more


Interview: Akim Jardine | Design: Keshia Chapman | Images: Supplied

“I drew this so drunk one night,” says the illustrator and photographer. He’s referring to his drawing of a spindly-legged cheetah that, by the looks of it, is sensually purring and slurring the words, “Hmmmm. I’m an animal.” Koos Groenewald’s playful style is a reminder that the best ideas come when you don’t take yourself too seriously. We’ve seen this in his approach to not only his art, but also his work with Jana Hamman of Jana + Koos, a creative studio that’s worked on some of the most innovative brand communications and brand identity strategies. Koos’ introgration (that’s introspection + interrogation, according to him) is here for your reading pleasure.

  1. #CoronaCommissions. This project has inspired me and keeps growing, thanks to all the other artists and art lovers taking up the cause.
  2. Gorgeous George, with Jana. I’m super proud of all the brands we’ve developed from scratch as Jana + Koos, but this one stands out because of how people love it and all the other projects it has led to.
  3. As part of my Toilet Art exhibition, I did my first mural in The Glory Hole restaurant. I’d love to do more.
  4. Festie Besties, with Kgabo Mametja for Bacardi Holiday Club – and the start of our illustration side project, KK.
  5. City of Goldiggers, with Jana. The first-ever art exhibition for both of us, in New York and dedicated to Joburg. We were so in love with and inspired by the city when we first moved and started working in Joburg.
  6. GonneGirls. Jana and I did branding and wall paintings for the permaculture farm in Normandy, France.
  7. Palindroom. A photographic exhibition with Cape Town-based product and graphic design studio, Lemon.
  8. F*ck You’re Beautiful, the zine and movement that was born from the rebranding of the talent agency, My Friend Ned.
  9. A Streetbar Named Desire. The Joburg bar was the first job we produced entirely in-house, from our own photography to illustrations. People love it so much they keep stealing the serviettes and art.
  1. It’s fun.
  2. You can put down ideas quickly.
  3. It’s meditative.
  4. Keeps you busy... and looking busy when that’s handy.
  5. Drawings sell.
  6. You don’t need a computer or technology. Mostly.
  7. You can make jokes that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to express in words.
  8. When you’re drawing people, you make some new, unexpected connections and learnings.
  1. Overly optimistic, but getting “better at this.
  2. Obsessed with Elaine right now. Would love to work with her at some point.
  3. Outside. I get most of my inspiration from travelling and adventures and I really miss being outside right now.
  4. Ozark. Damn!
  5. Observant.

(Editor’s note: After giving us only five and moving on….)

6. Oh f*ck, I forgot an O. Daily occurrence.

  1. Switch off airplane mode.
  2. Make coffee.
  3. Try not look at Instagram.
  4. Recently, this morning yoga flow I got from my friend.
  5. Listen to the news while riding my bike to get breakfast or to my studio in town.
  1. Christmas episodes.
  2. The words “Mouille Point”.
  3. People who shout at their phone on loudspeaker mode.

“Take the eyes of your peers off of your back.” My friend said this to me once while I was working on an artist statement and it really helped to just get going, start working and get down to what needed to be done. Figure out what you want the work to be before worrying and becoming paralysed by what everyone else will think about it.

Poem m11

Koos’ work in photography and illustration can be seen on his website and more of his creative direction and brand development work with Jana Hamman on the Jana + Koos site.