Like with every start of a new year, I got into the habit of summarizing what I did the year(s) before, and especially, what it all meant for the year ahead. Like in a sort of self-imposed retreat in my studio, while going thru some of the sketchbooks I did of the years.
The advantage of using older material, like this drawing from 1992, was that I didn’t had to look for a narrative.
After a couple days of doodling and drawing I then started with some smaller canvases. In this case using acrylic paints. - Tree Of Life (acrylic on canvas, 50 x 60 cm)
The original drawing from February 1992…
... And the painted version of “Center Stage” (acrylic on canvas, 70 x 80 cm).
The original ink drawing from February 1992…
... And the final version “Leap of Faith” (acrylic on canvas, 50 x 60 cm).
“Killing Me Softly” (acrylic on canvas, 50 x 60 cm).
“Full Moon” (acrylic on canvas, 50 x 70 cm).
“The Tunnel” (acrylic on canvas, 70 x 80 cm).
“First Sighting” (acrylic on canvas, 120 x 120 cm, 2007). In 2007 I worked a while on a series of small canvases inspired by my memories of the British SF series UFO from 1970-71. It was a pretty spooky series as I remembered and it was exactly this eerie atmosphere I recollect the most vivid.
“Second Sighting” (acrylic on canvas, 120 x 120 cm, 2007). The reason I show these paintings from 2007 here (and not earlier) was because it's the same technique as the other acrylic works of 2014. And because I picked up this UFO series a second time in 2014...
“The Road” (acrylic on canvas, 50 x 70 cm). I picked up this UFO series a second time but this time without the actual UFO. It’s inspired by my fond memories of the British SF series UFO from 1970 and especially the eerie atmosphere of the series.
“The Farm” (acrylic on canvas, 50 x 70 cm).
“Sunset” (acrylic on canvas, 50 x 70 cm).
“Hooligan” (white leather football & tracksuit, 30 x 50 x 110 cm). For the grand opening of the new soccer-stadium, they asked several (local famous) people to do something with a ball, including the playwright Sierens, who, not particularly being a visual artist himself, of course asked me. And being who I am, I didn't stick to the ‘positive’ view of the game, to great hilarity from the playwright who loved it (as probably intended), but not so much the commissioners of the new stadium. They accepted the piece nonetheless.
“Metropolis” (after Lang). That year I was thinking a lot about how to draw on computer. To get something designed or drawn on computer to look like it's been done by human hand is impossible. You will always feel it's been done by a machine, because its perfection and the impossibility to recreate those typical human mistakes that makes art, art. Except, of course, when that's the plan. Or the experiment, depending how you look at it.
“Danae” (after Klimt). Sure, I made drawings, designs, photoshopping etc. all the time with the help of a tablet, but how does one make then a drawing, with the same principle as one done with a pencil on paper? What I meant was that pencil and paper always been an intrinsically part of the final result, just as talent and style was. Well, I finally decided for this to work, you didn't.
“Wounded Angel” (after Simberg). So if you drew on a computer, it was useless to hide that fact and pretend it wasn't. That meant also that the eventual printout of the drawing couldn’t be done simply on paper, it had to be done in an equal industrial way. (It finally took me nearly two years before I found the right technique in 2016.) With other words, there would be no "hand" in the result like with a normal drawing, painting or screen print, only an idea, a concept.
“Revolution” Subject wise, anything was game, that was the fun part. I simply based all the digital designs on anything that caught my attention. Like "Revolution" after a black and white photo from the cultural revolution in China.
It was also the year I started to create graphic novels (again) in earnest. This time, though, I wanted to draw the novels solely on computer (with a tablet of course), that way I could do the drawing, the coloring and the lettering more or less at the same time. It speeded up the process considerably. The actual writing of the story I did at forehand but only as a first draft. I re-wrote it completely when the graphic novel was fully drawn. The graphic novel "Murder and Maria" is based on a short story I wrote during the 1980s. The story: The moment a hitman, running from the past all his life, when it finally catches up with him in a total unexpected way…MURDER & MARIA
Trailer: “Murder & Maria”
One of my favorite short story was "The Hunger Artist" by Franz Kafka. Kafka never intended his short stories to be public, he wrote them solely to amuse his friends at their Friday evening meetings. I found this original intend of his stories fascinating, especially because interpretations of Kafka's work were all so very serious. Why so serious? (The Joker asked Batman.) So I used "The Hunger Artist" to draw "The Hunger! - A 19th century murder mystery”, a graphic novel created solely to entertain the reader. The story: Situated in the 19th century when Starvationists, professional Hungerers who serve as sideshow entertainment and circus attractions, start getting murdered in their cages, the police realize that a killer is on the loose. Constable Weensy goes undercover as a Starvationist himself in a desperate ploy to solve the case… But can the constable catch the killer before the hunger gets him first?THE HUNGER!
Some characters I created for the graphic novel :The Hunger!".
The playwright Arne Sierens and I decided at one point to make a book together. This eventually became the children's book "Scoop". It was first published in Dutch as a hardcover version by Uitgeverij Vrijdag (Antwerp) then later in Dutch & English as paperback and ebook on Amazon. I still have a number of “Scoop" hardcover books (in Dutch) available at my studio in Ghent, if anyone would be interested!SCOOP
The story: Obi is eleven and lives with his mother, who is often away from home, in a small town. He has a sweet tooth, is a little on the chubby side, and wants to become a famous photographer. He just doesn't know how to begin. "You have to get a scoop," Obi's uncle explains to him. But how do you do that? Obi gets a shot of a couple kissing at night, thanks to his new flash. But when the boy doesn't approve of having his photo taken, Obi can't run away fast enough and gets a slap in the face. Maybe photography isn't his thing after all ... or is it?
One of my favorite pages from "Scoop".SCOOP
Now and again I did some self portraits, like in this case, a digital one. And yes, I was smoking cigars back then.
That year I created only one fur-painting, so not to feel to distant from my own past…