http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/278971

Interview with 18-year-old Digital Artist Jacques van Heerden Special

Posted Sep 9, 2009 by KJ Mullins
Jacques van Heerden, from Jeffreys Bay, South Africa has an amazing talent when it comes to digital art. The 18-year-old is more commonly known as An1ken in the art world. Van Heerden is much more than art , he's a level headed, well-rounded young man.
Freelance digital artist Jacques van Heerden
Freelance digital artist Jacques van Heerden
special permission by Jacques van Heerden
Jacques took some time out of his busy day to answer some questions about his work for Digital Journal.
KJ: I was looking at your work and it's amazing! You're only 18, how is it possible that you're already so accomplished?
Jacques: Age now days are really only a number if you really look at it. I have been interested in the creative side of things since a very young age but, my interest really only took off when I was introduced to photoshop late in 2006. I was really on track and determined to become better and practiced hard for hours on end, usually leading to a bit of frustration because I couldn’t compile the concept that I had in my head. I worked through my differences and decided I am going to stay determined to what I want to do even if it means blood, sweat and tears. “Nothing in the world comes easy,” my dad said to me no one in the world has gotten to where they are today without taking risks and putting it all on the line for what they love to do.
Looking at my work, well I do quite a few different aspects of design, I do the Digital Manipulation, Branding, Logo’s, Websites, Stationary. I am basically a all round designer but, specializing in Digital Work. I don’t really like being classed as a Graphic Designer, I don’t know its sounds unprofessional to me, that is my thoughts though.
KJ: I see that you are self taught. What programs have you taught yourself? Have you finished school?
Jacques: Let’s take this back to front, I am currently busy with my last year of school at High school Nico Malan in Humansdorp, South Africa. We currently only have 15 days of school for the year left, excluding our exams, “Prelims,” that we are currently writing.
Jump by An1ken
Jump by An1ken
special permission by Jacques van Heerden
Coming back to the first question I have taught myself Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, In Design, Flash and a bit of After Effects. I find After Effects by far the most involved but, I am loving it. I am tending to sway towards the motion side of things a bit more nowadays playing around and doing short clips but, nothing official just yet. I have mostly gained my experience with the programs by starting out with tutorials and experimenting a lot, its definitely one of the best ways to learn how to work a program. If you were to do a little course of about 2 months that taught you photoshop you would have to revise the modules and learn things and in about a month you have forgotten how to use the different tools. I think learning by myself has only been beneficial towards my future as a Artist.
KJ: Being freelance gives you so many opportunities, what are your other interests?
Jacques: Yes you are right. You have a lot of time to yourself much more than you would have working a solid 9-5 job. My interests other than design is Parkour/Free Running and MMA Fighting and Enduro. Free Running is what keeps me fit where you continuously run and jump, up and over things it involves athleticism and strength as well as mental strength to do some things other people wouldn’t even think of. MMA Fighting is what can I say, Mixed Martial Arts. I love it, Fighting isn’t all wrong. It depends of the aspect you look at it. Street fighting, uncontrolled fights yes that gets a bit out of hand, being in a ring with a opponent with the match only ending in a knockout or tap out, its awesome. Enduro is the equivalent of Motocross just trecking through mountains, it’s a adventure sport like no other, it tests you physically, mentally and emotionally. I love it.
Parkour stuff  Jacques van Heerden
Parkour stuff, Jacques van Heerden
special permission by Jacques van Heerden
KJ: Have you worked for companies outside of South Africa? And final question, what are your future goals?
Jacques:Yes I have worked for quite a few companies outside of South Africa, Most of my clients are International. Some include Whizpah Zurich, Maxxximal, Dorms of London, Flash Backs, the list goes on. Working for International clients lets me gain much better work experience and ethical understanding of how the business world works.
Future Goals, I have quite a few, Next year I will be working full freelance whilst doing a Photography Freelance Course and then just traveling around. 2011 I am going to be studying a BSC Hons in Media Lab Art at the University of Plymouth, England with a Bursary to add to that. After my studies I want to settle down and Freelance, and do what I love. We will see how things progress from there.
Smoking Tiger by An1Ken
Smoking Tiger by An1Ken
special permission by Jacques van Heerden
If you are interested in following Jacques you can connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.
Euphoria by An1Ken
Euphoria by An1Ken
special permission by Jacques van Heerden
Krump It by An1Ken
Krump It by An1Ken
special permission by Jacques van Heerden