MoMu Interviews Illustrator and Young Local Talent Jonas Cozone
This summer, MoMu shines a light on young, creative talent from Antwerp. Illustrator Jonas Cozone creates an exclusive sweatshirt and T-shirt in his signature style which are now available at MoMu Shop. Through his graphics, he combines his fascination with sneaker culture with clever nods to the museum. Exclusively for MoMu, he tries his hand at embroidery for the very first time. Cozone walks us through the inspiration behind the collab.
You designed a T-shirt and a sweatshirt for MoMu. Tell us the story behind the graphics?
JONAS COZONE: “Sneakers, streetwear and hip hop culture are pretty much my basic principles. My personal sneaker and vintage sports gear collection also seeps into my work as an illustrator. Besides collecting, illustrating is a way for me to channel and deepen my passions. Street fashion is almost indispensable and perhaps even predominant in fashion nowadays. Therefore, it felt natural to me to collaborate with MoMu and the process went very smoothly.”
What was the inspiration for the graphics on your T-shirt?
JC: “The design departs from my ‘street RPG characters’, a series that really resonated with my followers on Instagram, and which I turned into a small publication. This series was inspired by old RPG computer games, in which you have full control over a character in a fictional world, which you can dress up in clothing, armour and weapons. I reworked this idea to include streetwear. As a result, it kind of turns into a dissection of full outfits. As is often the case in games, the chest logo on the T-shirt is a portrait of the character that’s wearing it.”
This is your first time working with embroidery. Why now?
JC: “When I designed T-shirts before, I always worked with screen printing. But I had been toying with the idea of embroidering something for a while now, because I have always liked it and it looks just a bit more chic. This collab gave me the perfect opportunity to finally do it. The embroidered chest logo on the front of the sweatshirt is a detail from the print on the back. I chose a street crocodile character. The pose, composition and buildings in the background are typical of my style. For instance, you can spot parts of MoMu and the Antwerp cathedral.”
You are an avid sneaker collector. Where does this fascination come from and what was the pair that sparked this passion of yours?
JC: “In my youth, I skateboarded a lot. I often had to buy new shoes because skating wore them out quickly. At that time - around the year 2000 - skate shoes often had the aggressive look of sports shoes. Since I found Nikes to be just a tad bit cooler, my interest soon turned to Nike Air Max. At the time, I was often listening to French hip-hop and I started doing graffiti. In those subcultures, Nike Air Max was very popular. I came across them everywhere: in the music videos of my favourite rappers, on their album covers and on the feet of my fellow graffiti artists. So it was inevitable that I wanted a pair too, but unfortunately my parents thought they were too ugly and expensive. So it took several years before I was able to get my hands on my first pair. In 2003, I finally bought the Nike Air Max 1. I was instantly in love and have only bought Nike Air Max ever since. However, I only started building my collection around 2007. Before, I would wear out my Nikes until they were ready for the bin.”