Flemish cartoonist Jeroom is selling his cartoons for the first time in his 25-year career. From Tuesday May 31 to June 12, you can bid on 40 of his works on the Catawiki online auction platform. The cartoons will be available in physical format, but also in digital and NFT formats. We chat with Jeroom about his first auction and his plans for the future.
In collaboration with Annelore Byl
How did you come up with the idea of auctioning off your cartoons?
With the rise of NFTs, I suddenly realized that’s really the only way to sell my original works. Every week I receive the question of people who want to buy an original work of mine. They want to give it away or hang it somewhere, usually in their bathroom. However, I always have to disappoint them because that is not possible. I can barely send you a jpg file. But NFT is the perfect technology for this. A cartoon like NFT contains a unique code. With that code you are the only real owner of my unique work. But you don’t just get the work purchased as an NFT. Catawiki, the online auction platform where you can buy my vignettes, adds high-quality physical printing.
Auction your caricatures through the Catawiki online sales platform. How did that collaboration come about?
In fact, I have been familiar with Catawiki for a long time. They started out as a cartoon and art auction, so they’ve been on my radar for a while. They often do such NFT auctions and they immediately accepted my idea. We met to organize my first auction. Catawiki also fully monitors that auction.
How does it really feel to deliver your work?
Very emotional. But be careful, they haven’t been sold yet (laughs). It also feels double, because on the one hand it’s a shame. On the other hand, it is something that an artist has to do in order to deliver your work. I also know that the people who buy it are fans, so my works will end up in good homes. Buyers also receive high-quality, well-printed work. Because I was afraid that the cartoons would be printed on a common printer and then turn yellow in the sun at home. But certainly that is not the case now, you will receive a signed copy. An artist will hang his work in a gallery, but it is more difficult for a cartoonist. So this is my version of ‘gallery opening’ to sell my work.
How do you see your future career as a cartoonist?
After this sale I will probably retire soon, I will live in Ibiza (laughs). No, I like to keep doing everything. So I will always continue to do cartoons, that is my base. Occasionally I also work on television. That variety is great because the life of an artist is sometimes very lonely. Sitting alone in an attic room all the time, I got tired of it real quick. So I also really enjoy working for television, because that’s in a group. And when I get tired of that, I can always go back to drawing cartoons by myself in my room (laughs). Now I try to combine everything, as long as possible. Ultimately, my only talent is: making a joke. Whether on television in front of a camera or visually through a cartoon.
Is this auction something you think will happen again in the future?
which can. If this is really a success, people will be happy and buy a lot of my works for sure. The advantage is that I haven’t sold anything in 25 years and now I’m dealing with a mountain of material. And my fans have also been able to save 25 years. So it may well be that if this auction goes well, we’ll be back with a selection next year. But that remains to be seen. In any case, I still have many works that can be auctioned.
Can anyone participate in the auction?
Yes, anyone can bid on the auction online. It is a very open platform. It is not necessary to have bitcoins or the like for this, because that is still a threshold for many. At Catawiki, none of this is necessary and everything is well supervised. You will even simply receive your ownership certificate by mail, linked to the work that has been purchased. That’s a huge advantage, because you have a lot of those niche auctions where you already have to pay with crypto or become a member first. But that is not the case with this auction on Catawiki. I am a true people of the people and that is why the auction is also aimed at the ‘common man in the street’. Therefore, it is very accessible for everyone to participate in the bidding.
Are the works then sent to the buyers?
Yes, the auction is online and the 40 works will be delivered to the buyers’ homes. I will even personally deliver the works for the 5 highest amounts. I secretly hope everyone is from Leuven (laughs), otherwise I’ll be in the car all day. But I will personally visit those buyers to join the works.