The better I got with the fur-paintings, the more I felt the need to work on canvas. It also made it more and more clear that the "silhouette" started to play a major role in my work. Of course the silhouette was already present in the fur-paintings, I just didn't recognize it as such. A painting typical for that period was "Adam & Eve" (oil on canvas, 50 x 60 cm).
The best work or at least the most important one was the painting "Family Portrait" (oil on canvas, 150 x 200 cm). It took me eight (8!) attempts to finish it, overpainted as well as three new canvases. Although I was not completely satisfied with the painting, it was a strong narrative statement. But in case of how to use oil paint I wasn't quite there yet.
This painting is called "Monster" (oil on canvas, 160 x 180 cm). It’s from a plant series, a subject that I frequently revisit. To free me from this rather static way of painting, or maybe I should say, thinking, would be a personal event that happened to me one year later.
Just one more out of my static period so to speak, called "Sofa" (oil on canvas, 150 x 200 cm).
"Flying Around" (oil on canvas, 180 x 180 cm) was a painting that I considered a milestone in my oeuvre, for several reasons and not just the obvious one. I was surprised that when I showed this painting at another art fair, some people were shocked. Still.
"Waterfall" (oil on canvas, 160 x 160 cm) was definitely one of my favorite paintings from that period.
And I guess "Up Yours!" (oil on canvas, 160 x 160 cm) said it all.
Off and on, I drew little stories since I was a teen, and that never really went away. Sooner or later that had to develop into more than just doodling.
I finished my first graphic novel "The Trial", all 90 pages of it, in under a month. Each frame done with brush and black ink, without any preparatory sketches, much like Sumi-é (a derived of calligraphy). It was based upon three short stories I had written years earlier. And because of that I decided not to put any text inside the graphic novel and see if I could "translate" words into images. (Although years later I did added some text lines.)
A self portrait taken at night at a castle of a friend. Yes, I knew a guy that lived in a castle, and yes, he was as eccentric, unconventional and nuts as you could expect. Most important thought, it inspired me to create my second graphic novel "The Order of the False Knights".
Cover design for "The Order of the False Knights", a 100 pages black and white paperback.THE ORDER OF THE FALSE KNIGHTS
For a while I was asking myself the question; do I need a computer? And if so, for what? Remember, a that time computers still worked with floppy disks, graphic wise in no way comparable with today, even the iMac still had to be invented. Eventually I did buy one and started to experiment with some of my drawing series. I scanned the drawings, discovered a software called Morphing, and used that to fill the gaps between each drawing. That resulted into my first animation "The Alley".
THE ALLEY. Every city has a dark side, with secluded byways and nooks and crannies where the light of day never shines. The Alley is a dark meditation on the seedy side of life, told in a series of monochrome pictures paired with poetry. This imagery is the unmistakable work of artist Guido Vrolix, showcasing dark silhouettes that even in their grimness are lined with an uncanny luminescence. "The Alley", a seven minutes animation.
I had a steady flow of solo as well as group shows. All felt well. Little did I know that it all would come crashing down hard.
Than the horror started. I got dumped by my gallery(s) - one even for a second time, got dumped by my girlfriend and dumped by most of my friends. I got the overwhelming feeling the world didn't want me. One could get depressed for less. I had myself a sort of secret hunger strike, just eating some bananas, nuts, bread and butter. As a vegetarian for 10 years I didn't had much reserves energy wise, so I was an accident waiting to happen. Or was I playing with suicide? Maybe, I don't know.
This painting is called "Hospital 1" (oil on artificial fur, 135 x 175 cm, triptych) and I'll tell you why: After a couple of months, on my birthday to be precise, I got a cold that soon turned out to be a nasty throat infection, quite an ordinary bacteria in normal circumstances, which wasn't the case here of course. The infection became an embolism, that grew and then broke down and transported itself via my heart to eventually settle down in my lungs, were it caused a double pneumonia. To make the story short, I was slowly suffocating. Just before the final bell, I got forced to save myself by a recent friend. (Thank you Betty.) So with a high fever, no oxygen in my blood and burning lungs, I finally stumbled into the emergency room of the hospital…
Leaving out the more gory details, after one month and a half I finally was able to go home, skinny as a walking corpse and with a tabula rasa emptiness in my brain. Scorched earth, I believe was the right term. "Hospital 2" (oil on artificial fur, 135 x 175 cm).
So now you know why this series is called "Hospital". "Hospital 3" (oil on artificial fur, 135 x 175 cm).
The first set & poster design I did for the playwright Arne Sierens was not directed by him, so I was forced into a very conventional work frame. The advice I got (from the production manager) was; "Vrolix, a set design isn't an artistic design." Yeah, sure!
If I found out anything during that production, it was the fact that a set design had everything to do with artistic thinking.