An original take on a classic form – whether you’re vying for a top spot on “Making the Cut” on Amazon Prime or in somewhere in your final year of art school, it’s the assignment that makes designers either cringe or beam from ear to ear.
In the case of this month’s Vernissage feature, Stefan Jacobs and L’Ecurie de Marcelo, this designer is a solid beam-er, as demonstrated by his very unique and imperfect pony sculptures taking the collectors’ world by storm.
L’Ecurie de Marcelo is a collaborative art project based in Sotogrande, Spain, from Belgian artist Jacobs and Argentines Osvaldo Lobalzo and the ubiquitous Marcelo. We connected with Jacobs recently to discuss his design heritage, his current work and art process and how in the world we can get our hands on one of his very round horse sculptures.
Cast from stone and finished by hand, not only are the round pony sculptures extremely limited edition, but they’re uniquely and individually named by bloodline, five to 14 sculptures at a time. They are individually and purposely created: there are mares and stallions and foals, all part of a family. Jacobs named his first casting with his ancestral family names: d’Anvers and Nieustadt. As collectors pick them up (grab them, actually, before they’re gone), they become the adoptive parents of the foals so to speak.
“At a recent art gathering, several of the round pony sculpture collectors ended up discussing their unique purchases with each other. One said, ‘I’m the father to Johannes (a foal),’ while the other, retorted, ‘Leon is my son.’ The sculptures lend themselves to an incredible familial sentiment – they are immediately members of the collectors’ families,” said Jacobs. While each piece is unique and impossible to copy, foals of the same bloodline carry the characteristics of the ancestors. Jacobs also accepts some commissions to create specific bloodlines with distinct characteristics. His hardest was a request for a black series.
“As an artist, I don’t really work with black. I love colors, so it was a challenge for me,” he said. “It ended up being beautiful, black with gold.”
Jacobs’ family in Antwerp, Belgium, has been in the printing and design business for over 100 years, so he picked up his first lessons in color mixing with CMYK from his father and grandfather. He studied and worked as a graphic designer before pursuing fine art.
Jacobs was drawn to the round horse shape for its sharp rejection of the classic horse form. “Everything we create is a fantasy, not a normal form whatsoever,” he said. “I know that for myself, personally, if I were to enter a shop with different kinds of sculptures of ponies – from classic to the fantastical – I’d be drawn to the round form, imperfect in its presence and standing out from the rest.”
Collectors best be on a first-name basis with Jacobs, as the ponies are in both high demand and low production. In November, L’Ecurie de Marcelo will host a pop-up shop in Paris. Will you be on the invite list?