When, 5 years ago, I realized this blog had reached its 5 year mark, and I set out to write an anniversary post of sorts, I distinctly remember thinking: ‘Really? Five years already?’ It certainly felt much less than that in some respects, possibly because producing Klaus-related stuff had been an on-and-off thing with ups and downs, and I was ready to abandon it altogether just every other Sunday. So it’s most disturbing to be writing this at a point that feels about two weeks later. And again, I’m both surprised that time went so fast, but also that it lasted this long: as I commented a couple days ago at a lecture in Canterbury, the ‘let’s just forget about this already’ feeling still persists.
Oh, well, let’s not get too dramatic. 5 years ago, I thought a brief summary of what had happened in those 5 years would be appropriate, so, following that short-lived tradition, let’s look back at those additional 60 months:
Back in March 2014, I had already been working for Uncube magazine for a little over a year, producing my ‘Numerus Klausus’ strip for the ‘Klaus’s Kube’ section at the Berlin-based online journal. That soon overlapped with a series of cartoons for the ‘Interchange’ section of Dutch magazine A10: New European architecture, thanks to a kind invitation by its then editor-in-chief, Indira Van’t Klooster, who ultimately compiled them all (together with the interviews they illustrated) in the book Forty and Famous (2016). Sadly, both Uncube and A10 went out of business within a couple months’ span in the Spring of 2016 (some posthumous celebration posts coming), but they provided me with a great platform (and a nice excuse) to show and produce my cartoons. And I had so much fun with them. Both editorial teams went on to found their own platforms (A10 coop. and &Beyond), and continued with other projects. Uncube’s cartoons remain uncollected in paper form, though, so if some publisher out there would like to try his hand at an ‘Artist’s Edition’, complete with sketches, preliminary drawings, and behind-the-scenes commentary, please let me (and Sophie Lovell) know.
I was sad to see both magazines go. However, even if the crazy 2014-2016 period, with its -for me- intense production of about two (increasingly complicated) cartoons per month, overlapped with my also increasingly demanding academic life, it also witnessed the consolidation of my longest steady relationship to date: the section Arquinoir at Mexico’s leading architecture magazine Arquine, a combination of cartoons and written columns that offers me with a great venue to exorcise my inner demons. Other writing gigs (together with cartoons), where I can pour some of my own research disguised under the ‘Klaus’ persona have also popped up in the last year, in the form of a conversation in MIT’s Thresholds journal (Thanks to Eli Keller and Anne Graziano), Mexican magazine Bitácora (cheers, Cristina & Dino), and, in a few months’ time (although completed a few months back), in Architectural Design, thanks to a kind invitation from Bartlett’s Luke Pearson and Matthew Butcher.
Of course, this is something that was already going on, and continued in yet one more article for Clog with another cartoon -and article- for their 11th issue, simply titled ‘Rem’. Other nice forays from 2014 were Phin Harper‘s-scripted Terry Farrell cartoon for The Architectural Review, the Table of Contents illustration for PRAXIS #14: True Stories, where I was featured along with some old friends (even if behind the new penname ‘Klaus Roons’ -Ahem!), as well as Jean-Louis Violeau’s irreverent REM. Le Bon, la Brute…, which reused some of my past cartoons on Mr. K. The following year, my work was also the subject of some nice commentary in Gabriele Neri’s book Caricature architettoniche – Satira e critica del progetto moderno (I swear I wrote that review, Gabriele; I just never found the time to finish it publish it…), and an eight-page dossier was published in Arq’a magazine.
Finally, an additional -and very big- ‘thank you’ must go to all those Good Samaritans who insist on forcing me to fight my seclusive self and make me travel virtually through my cartoons, in exhibitions in The Art Institute of Chicago, Venice, the Centro Cultural España (post coming) in Mexico or the Pontificia Universidad Católica of Santiago de Chile (yes, another post coming, too). And thanks to those who felt it might be worth hearing about my work in my words. For a few interviews with yours truly, click here and here (Veredes.com), here and here (Fredy Massad in La Viga en el Ojo), or here (Sophie Lovell in Uncube).
I got to thank them, too, for also bringing me physically out of my office. Those who know me also know about my natural resistance to talk about my work. But also know that, deep at heart, I love traveling, so thanks for helping me leave my drafting table and speak (in disguise) at the Graham Foundation, Universidad de Alcalá, the Chicago design Museum, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (post coming again; in the meantime, here’s the poster I designed for them, which was an immense amount of fun) the gigantic Mextropoli Festival in Mexico D.F. (first anniversary post coming soon), Santiago de Chile’s ArqFilmFest (seems some intensive posting is gonna happen in the upcoming months) or, just a little over a week ago, to Canterbury’s School of Architecture (guess what’s coming next week), among others.
5 years ago, I ended my anniversary post with a ‘see you in 5 more years’ time’. So, see you in… 10 more years’ time?