At the age of seventeen, Gielijn Escher decided to become a poster designer. Despite the fame of the modernist posters and packaging and posters for Rotterdam’s Van Nelle factory by his grandfather Jacob Jongert and the world-famous work of his great-uncle M.C. Escher, Gielijn developed a completely personal style.
His passion for collecting began very early. At the age of six he began collecting orange wrappers and labels from orange crates. Four years later he started his, now vast, collection of posters.
Gielijn Escher studied at the Institute for Applied Arts Education (IvKNO), the forerunner of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam the 1960s. However, he learned most from looking at the work of groundbreaking designers such as Wim Crouwel, Jan Bons, Dick Elffers and Nicolaas Wijnberg. Typical of Escher’s independent vision was that he also had great admiration for more commercial designers such as Frans Mettes and Cor van Velsen. In the early 1970s Escher discovered the work of early-twentieth-century designer Lucian Bernhard and his contemporaries. Since then, Bernhard’s very simple and highly stylised Sachplakate have been a great source of inspiration for the designer.
Most of Escher’s clients have come from the cultural sector. He has made announcements for dance and theatre performances, concerts and exhibitions. His powerful, colourful posters of the 1970s for the Shaffy Theater, Dansgroep Krisztina de Châtel and the Festival of Fools achieved great popular recognition. The admiration for Escher’s work is apparent not only from the hundreds of commissions he has received but also from the prestigious prizes he has won: the H.N. Werkman Prize (1978) and the Prins Bernhard Foundation Prize for Applied Arts and Architecture (1997).