Nothing feels so accelerating as a seemingly impossible idea. There was one fur-painting witch became a story in itself, the Golden Last Supper. And with gold I meant, real gold, the 24 karats kind, in leafs. The kicker was I had to apply the gold leaf onto the fur, an impossible maybe even an absurd task. A challenge, to say the least, not to mention the painting had to be done as a commission, because of the price of all that gold. It took me nearly a month to finish the painting, but I pulled it off. "Golden Last Supper" (gold leaf (24k) on artificial fur, 140 x 250 cm). Talking about easy beginnings of a new year...
The dinner table where the Golden Last Supper ended up.
Notwithstanding all the fun I had with creating the "Golden Last Supper", I wasn't planning on stopping experimenting soon, and exploring new ways and directions in painting.
To make live somewhat easier I limited myself to just one subject for a change. I decided on the "bed".
Funny what you could do once you start experimenting with just one subject. And a bed had many connotations. The more the merrier, I would say.
Beds scattered over the land like as many little bedrooms. "Sleepless In Suburbia" (oil on canvas, 160 x 180 cm).
Beds floating like clouds in the sky. "Counting Dreams" (oil on canvas, 160 x 180 cm).
Like many dreams falling down. "Waterfall" (oil on canvas, 160 x 270 cm).
Many beds, many dreams, many nightmares. "Tsunami" (oil on canvas, 175 x 200 cm).
Like beds of memories. "Boarding School" (oil on canvas, 70 x 100 cm).
This one was for my daughter's bedroom. “First Portrait Of My Daughter" (oil on canvas, 70 x 100cm).
After a while I changed my way of painting, it became much more loose, more expressive, more colorful. Less beds too.
"Nightmare" (oil on canvas, 160 x 180 cm). This painting was inspired by Henry Fuseli's "The Nightmare" from 1781.
A bed can be a prison too, I guess. "Cell" (oil on canvas, 50 x 60 cm).
"Morning Light" (oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm). After this painting there were no more beds.
For the most part these paintings were reasonable small.
Another recurring theme in my work, besides the beds, was the houseplant, witch I always called my "Monsters". "House Monster" (oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm).
I very much liked the abstract details of these paintings.
In this one I tried to capture the light within a spacious room when it was dark outside and the big window only reflected the interior. "Reflection" (oil on canvas, 50 x 60 cm).
A juicy detail from "Reflection" (oil on canvas, 50 x 60 cm).
"Endless Lights" (oil on canvas, 50 x 60 cm) was a small painting that was inspired by Edward Hopper's "Automat", about a lone woman staring into a cup of coffee in an automat at night. The reflection of identical rows of light fixtures stretches out through the night-blackened window.
A detail from "Endless Lights" (oil on canvas, 50 x 60 cm).
Another detail from "Endless Lights" (oil on canvas, 50 x 60 cm).
By the end of the year it felt as if this series came to an end, so I stopped.
Meanwhile I continued the picture series “Walking with Gin” (Gin being my Shiba Inu dog). "Park" (From the series “Walking with Gin”).
"Spring" (From the series “Walking with Gin”).
"Pond" (From the series “Walking with Gin”).
"Concrete three" (From the series “Walking with Gin”).
"Dawn" (From the series “Walking with Gin”).
"Alley" (From the series “Walking with Gin”).
I made or finished several graphic novels as well, although, come to think of it, they were more of the comics side of things.
THE SOLDIERS A general wants to win the war, a soldier to survive it! "The Soldiers" was a graphic novel series based upon several (short) stories by, among others, Ernest Hemingway and James Jones.THE SOLDIERS
Five stories that portrays war in every facet through a selection of stories set in the thick of the action, from the victorian era to the present. Vol 1. South Africa, 1879. "How do you stop a crowd of warriors thundering down from the hills like an approaching storm, when you have rifles that jam in an instant, not enough ammunition, and no heavy artillery whatsoever?" Vol 2. Flanders, 1917. "If you briefly manage to get away from that rotten, muddy world then even a tuft of grass will feel like heaven itself." Vol 3. The Pacific, 1943. "Half jumping, half stumbling, we run through the water toward the beach, all too aware of how vulnerable we are." Vol 4. The Ardennes, 1945. "One minute I'm making my rounds from hole to hole, the next minute all the foxholes have vanished and all I can see are shadows and snow." Vol 5. Vietnam, 1969. "The jungle is like a living creature, a gigantic beast made up of millions of aggravating things. But you don't realize it until you enter that strange world, and then there's no more chance of escape."
Trailer: "The Soldiers", vol 1.THE SOLDIERS
THE FOUR PLAGUES A dark twist on the legend of Tristan and Isolde. The Middle Ages. England is overrun with war, famine, pestilence, and religious frenzy. Yet somehow Melot manages to survive them all. He looks back on the battles he fought, his time as a bodyguard in the employ of master mark, and the boy Tristan he helped raise and train. Be transported to a time when scores were settled with broadswords and the difference between a knight and a brigand was less than paper thin.
Trailer for "The Four Plagues".THE FOUR PLAGUES
The second series I created that year was FOR MARY. Four vignettes about strong women who actually existed, separated only by time, space and circumstances. Vol 1. Mary Ormond, North Carolina, 1718. Mary is aboard the pirate ship of Blackbeard. Vol 2. Mary Kelly, London, 1888. Mary must walk the streets at night of Whitechapel. Vol 3. Mary Bump, Michigan, 1908. Mary and her boyfriend Ernest row to an abandoned island for a picnic at twilight. Vol 4. Mary Scarpa, New York, 2008. Mary Scarpa is in police custody, accused of being a pickpocket.FOR MARY
VAN BEVERS SQUARE Murder Among Friends! This graphic novel was written by the playwright Arne Sierens, mostly because of the success of "Scoop", a book we made together some years earlier. "Van Bevers Square" was about an event that really happened in late august 1997 in Ghent. Actually it was the same weekend that Lady Di crashed in that Paris tunnel, that's why the graphic novel ends with that exact incident. It seemed fitting. The story: Ruben, an out of work 18-year-old, and Crazy Ivan, a 22-year-old worker, are friends. They would do absolutely anything for each other. But during a hot summer night, in a whirl of drugs, alcohol and girls it all goes wrong... We follow the lives of these two men and of all the other members of the Van Bevers Square gang in the city of Ghent, Belgium.VAN BEVERS SQUARE
NEW Z CITY Surviving Among Zombies! I never did a graphic novel about Zombies before, but since I was on a roll, I finally did. It was a lot of fun actually. A zombie plague hits New York and spreads like wildfire. After a couple weeks, the city is as desolate as a ghost town. Or just about, for it isn't always just zombies roaming the streets…
Trailer for "New Z City".NEW Z CITY
Because of the very specific request from the playwright Arne Sierens I created the truck-play named "Zingarate!". Literally: "Make sure this play is impossible to preform in any 'normal' theater." So I did. Poster design for "Zingarate!".
First I came up for the play "Zingarate!" with the idea of a couple of cars, like an ambulance and a hearse etc, but I soon realized it needed to be something else. Something less obvious and more specific for the playwrights character.
What "Zingarate!" needed were three trucks.
The play was about the troubled relationship between three guys and one girl. Each guy performed with one truck and the girl seemed to be pushed and pulled between them. By the way, "Zingarate!" meant "Holy Shit!" in Italian.
"Kakadee" was a set design I did later that year. It was a play about finding a place to stay. Were is home, so to speak? Poster design for "Kakadee”.
The set for "Kakadee" was entirely constructed out of beds placed as a sort of arena. The public was scattered (and sharing) over the beds, the actors were playing on the corridors between them. But it never saw the day of light. Budget reasons. Pity.
By the end of the year I created another fur-painting, a wolf this time. I liked wolves. "Lone Wolf" | oil on artificial fur | 135 x 200 cm | 2017