Funs "Funzig" Janssen - Missed Call, Delftsestraat

Rotterdam City Artists 2021

Rotterdam city artists, it has become a real tradition. Even before the bombing of May 14, 1940, but especially during the reconstruction, draughtsmen recorded the changes in the city. Until the end of the 80s, the Rotterdam City Archives gave annual commissions to draftsmen. Rotterdam is an ideal source of inspiration due to the rapid changes. Since 2018, this tradition has been restored by CBK Rotterdam and the Rotterdam City Archives. And in collaboration with the Kunsthal, the drawings will be shown, which will then be included in the collection of the City Archives. In 2020, the Corona crisis was of course central and it will be again this year.

We are delighted to announce the Stadstekenaars 2021: Funs 'Funzig' Janssen, Gemma Plum en Gwen Stick.

From the jury report:

The final shortlist of 13 candidates was extensively discussed by the jury. The most important criterion, in addition to substantive motivation, was of course the strength of the drawings supplied with the portfolio. The jury, which together really does have a good idea of ​​what talent is circulating in Rotterdam, was very impressed by the work of many candidates. Young dogs, with strong lines, striking colors, slightly cheeky and free to deal with material and subject. Slightly less young dogs who create beautiful images with deliberate drawing movements and color nuances in which the eye is constantly surprised. Drafters who are connected with the direct and steamy life of the twenty-first-century city versus drafters who mainly try to capture the inner man in their sketches. The jury believes that this diversity, which can and may coexist, is the great quality of Rotterdam and its artists.

Gwen Stick has been working as a city draftsman since January. We asked her to visualize the lockdown. She called for photos with the view from your window to be sent to her, which she then edited into a comprehensive visual story about this period. Stok is known for its interactive picture book, among other things A Long Journey (2016) and her cartoon was published in 2019 The cure of the cricket by Toon Tellegen.
See also: Gwenstok.com

Gemma Plum surprised the jury with her loose drawing style, in which her works in black and white as well as in color made an impression. The different approaches from classic to documentary also appealed to the jury. She studied at the Design Academy in Eindhoven and subsequently did graphic design at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. Plum has a successful and varied practice as a designer and bookmaker.
See also: www.gemmaplum.nl

Funs 'Funzig' Janssen impressed the jury very much. His still images, the play with dark and light fascinated. In his motivation, Janssen wrote that he wanted to do something with the times before and after curfew, especially the hours at night. The jury was immediately enthusiastic about this. Janssen came from the Willem de Kooning Academy in 2017, where he also received a nomination for the Drempelprijs. With his graduation project The lane he garnered much acclaim.
See also: www.funzig.nl

Jury report City Draftsman 2021

An inventory should be made of all reports, reports and looking back with 2020 and now 2021 as the discussed time span. It produces a beautiful, probably sometimes apocalyptic, but on the other hand certainly also hopeful kaleidoscope of prose. The jury reports on the Rotterdam City artists cannot escape this either.

Last year we already wrote on March 24 in the jury report Stadstekenaars 2020:

“It is difficult to write a jury report at the end of March 2020. Too much clarion call should be avoided, everyone is in a state of supreme readiness for matters other than those for which the jury 'met'. On the other hand, it is also true that life goes on, that we want artists to be able to continue their work. And later we want to be able to see how Rotterdam was in 2020, when the Coronavirus had the entire world in its grip. ” 

The jury report Stadstekenaars 2021 is also still in the grip of Covid-19. But first, let's take a brief look back at 2020. At that time, we chose Pris Roos, Erico Smit and Frank Stoks with great conviction as the City artists who could capture what we did not know about at the time: the deserted streets during the first 'closure'. Rotterdam sometimes resembled a city from Lucky Luke comics and the people who went out moved around each other like hedgehogs. Roos, Smits and Stoks managed to capture life during Corona in Rotterdam with beautiful drawings.

With the difficult moments, the desolation, the uncertainty, absolutely, but above all, they portrayed the ability of the people to bounce up just then. During the preparation, at the end of last year, to find new City designers for 2021, the jury stated that it is only logical to also focus the assignment on them on Corona. After all, life still revolves around this virus. Some time before that, the Netherlands had been locked, not intelligently, but really, including a curfew. And on the other hand, the time was getting closer to the start of the vaccinations. And who knows what will happen in 2021? Any more pop-up testing and vaccination sites? Will the elections continue as usual and can we gather as a crowd again and perhaps visit a festival or an exhibition live? What impact will the corona virus have on the people of Rotterdam this year?

These were the questions that we asked in the call in mid-December 2020. But we also thought it was a shame if there would be no City designer in the intervening months. After all, the three from the previous year had finished their period with presentations in the Kunsthal (although these were of course also seriously shortened by the emergency measures) and the new ones would not be able to start working until April. That is why the jury decided to appoint Gwen Stok as a special City draftsman immediately, because it was precisely during this period that new moments arose with the start of the vaccinations and the sudden appearance of the British mutation.

Stok had registered at the beginning of 2020 and was high on the jury's list of candidates at the time. That is why we thought it was an obvious choice to ask her for this. In the end, we also decided to officially appoint her as one of the three Rotterdam City Designers of 2021, so we went looking for two new City Designers. Our call this year resulted in no fewer than 64 applications, in our opinion a sign that urban drawing is becoming increasingly popular! And even now the jury was faced with a difficult assignment, because the quality of the submissions was again very high and very diverse in style and approach.

The final shortlist of 13 candidates was extensively discussed by the jury. The most important criterion, in addition to substantive motivation, was of course the strength of the drawings supplied with the portfolio. The jury, which together really does have a good idea of ​​what talent is circulating in Rotterdam, was very impressed by the work of many candidates. Young dogs, with strong lines, striking colors, slightly cheeky and free to deal with material and subject. Slightly less young dogs who create beautiful images with deliberate drawing movements and color nuances in which the eye is constantly surprised.

Drafters who are connected to the direct and steaming life of the twenty-first-century city versus drafters who mainly try to capture the inner man in their sketches. The jury thinks that this diversity, which can and may coexist, is the great quality of Rotterdam and its artists. Ultimately, however difficult the choice was in the end, the jury unanimously and therefore with great conviction chose Funs 'Funzig' Janssen and Gemma Plum as Stadstekenaars 2021. Capturing Rotterdam in continuous times of Corona.


Rotterdam, April 13, 2021,

on behalf of the jury Stadstekenaars 2021, consisting of Hugo Borst (Rotterdam art lover and art collector), Shehera Grot (curator Kunsthal), Hedy Tjin (artist), Jantje Steenhuis (director of the Rotterdam City Archives), Wanda Waanders (curator of the Rotterdam City Archives) and Ove Lucas (director CBK Rotterdam)

Also read it article that NRC published about the city artists on 15 April.

Gwen Stok - Work in progress
Gemma Plum - Biscope KINO empty
Publication date: 15 / 04 / 2021