WHAT DREW YOU TO ILLUSTRATION? As soon as I could hold a pencil I started drawing on every surface. All my studbook, walls of my parental home, tables… nothing was safe. I never wanted to do anything else.
ANY FORMAL DESIGN TRAINING? I studied Graphic design and illustration on the Sint-Lucas school of Arts (Ghent) where I earned my Master degree. Being a young boy, it was a great time of exploring the new boundaries.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM? I am born in Kortrijk (Courtrai in English), an industrial town in Belgium famous for the battle of the golden Spurs in 1302.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW? In Ghent (Belgium). I came here to art school when I was 18 and never went back to my home town. Ghent is a living city with many advantages for creatives. It has a rich cultural scene and there is always something going on in the many pubs and theatres.
WHERE IS YOUR STUDIO? In a small workers’ house which I have completely restored. It’s my safe haven, my sanctuary. I designed and made all the furniture myself. Each level of the house has his own atmosphere, white rooms for drawing and painting, colourful rooms for relaxation and reading.
DESCRIBE THE VIEW FROM YOUR STUDIO WINDOW? Through the front windows I can see ugly houses. On the back side I can see ugly houses and ugly garages. Like with many people the beauty is inside.
WHAT IS YOU BIGGEST INSPIRATION? The people I meet on the street. The neighbourhood around my studio is full of strange and interesting people. I just have to catch them in my head and draw them when I come back. Daily life is an inexhaustible source of inspiration.
HOW DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS? When I get a brief I read it carefully. Then I let it rest and take a walk, have a drink, do something else. When I come back to my table I usually have an impression of what the drawing will be.
DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING? I collect comic books. I have thousands and thousands. I really should stop buying them, or buy an extra house.
WHAT ARE YOUR INTERESTS OUTSIDE OF ILLUSTRATION? Motorcycles. I love to take a ride, it keep me relaxed. And hiking in nature. I like the loneliness in deserted areas. I always come back with lots of energy.
WHAT IS THE FIRST RECORD YOU BROUGHT? Thriller by Michael Jackson when I was eleven years old. I was a huge fan in those days. I collected every article about him.
TELL US ABOUT A FAVOURITE PROJECT Illustrations for an educational visitor’s centre. The illustrations filled complete walls, stairs and windows, it took me several months but the results look really impressive.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DREAM COMMISSION? To have a lot of creative freedom in which I can create an imaginary new world. A children’s book written by J.K. Rowling for example. Who are your art heroes? Jheronimus Bosch, a dutch painter from the 15th century, because he had a completely insane imagination. And Francis Bacon, he was a great painter, who was able to portrait the human psyche in Grotesque portraits.
WHO ARE YOUR ILLUSTRATION HEROES? Riki Blanco, Gary Baseman, Loustal, Michael Bartalos.
WHO ARE YOUR DESIGN HEROES? Ed Fella, Why Not Associates, Jan & Randoald and Johnny Bekaert. They use type like illustration.
WHO ARE YOUR MUSICAL HEROES? New Order, IamX, Sisters of Mercy, Front 242, The Cure, Guns ’n Roses, Metallica.
IF YOU WERE NOT AN ILLUSTRATOR WHAT WOULD YOU BE? That is a difficult one; maybe a furniture designer or a landscape designer.
HOW WOULD A GOOD FRIEND DESCRIBE YOU? A hard working person who loves to drink a good beer.
WOULD YOU STILL ILLUSTRATE IF YOU WERE STRANDED ALONE ON A DESERT ISLAND? Yes of course, my studio is my desert island, so I’m already there.
IS ILLUSTRATION ART? Every creation, every discipline can be Art, and a lot of things sols as art are crap.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN? Do what you think you have to do.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WANTING TO GET INTO ILLUSTRATION? Do it! And keep your eyes open, the most thing about illustration is to have a good look at the world. See the strange things in life, the unexpected. Get out of your safe zone!
DO YOU THINK ANYONE WITH PHOTOSHOP CAN BE AN ILLUSTRATOR THESE DAYS? Illustratrion has nothing to do with tools. It happens in your head, in your imagination, that makes you an illustrator. Photoshop is just the tool that visualises your ideas. It’s nothing more then a pencil, a brush or any other material.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THE FEELING OF NO IDEAS? I stop thinking about it. I go to a pub and have a beer with friends, talk and laugh, see thing happening around me. I empty my head and start all over with a clean view.