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Scribble Artist Interview with Pieter Van Eenoge!

Scribble Town (ST): Oh the colors! Oh the design! How beautiful, charming, and exquisite they can be! I’m of course talking about Pieter Van Eenoge’s work!  We are lucky to catch up with him as he is busy illustrating and creating visual images for our eyes to play with.  Pieter, how do you spend your days and can you give us a sneak peak on what you are up to these days?

'Joris Jan Baas' - poetry poster

‘Joris Jan Baas’ – poetry poster

Pieter Van Eenoge (PVE): Hi, I’m Pieter, an illustrator living in Bruges, Belgium. I spend my days painting for magazines, newspapers, ad agencies, corporations and publishing houses, renovating our 80 year old house and playing with my wife, two sons and two cats.

Right now I’m working on the cover of the spring issue of Dutch Weekly Vrij Nederland and a new picture book that hopefully will be ready by the end of the year.

ST: Your illustrations are wonderful!  In your portfolio I see a combination of personal, illustration, and editorial work.  With your personal work, where do you come up with your images for your illustrations?

PVE: I keep a little notebook where I write down ideas and possible titles and draw some quick sketches. Or I use a rejected idea for a commission that I thought was better than the final illustration. Most of the things that inspire come from everyday life, images I see around me, graphic design, art and artist behavior, masks and costumes and opposites like good/evil, darkness/light, beauty/ugliness,…

Antverpia, acrylic on paper, 2013

Antverpia, acrylic on paper,
2013

ST: Any themes you are fascinated with?  For example, what is your Antverpia painting about?  Maybe it has something to do with Antwerp?

PVE: For the Antverpia painting I had the idea of making graphic combinations with the ghost Sus Antigoon, a famous Flemish comic character, and a woman in burqa. They both share the same visual characteristics and I thought they would team up perfectly. But there is also a second layer where I criticize the growth of right wing politics in the city of Antwerp where there is a large muslim population. Trying to live together is the only solution and the efforts should come from both sides. Antverpia is also the name of Sus Antigoon’s ship.
alkj
'Will play for pay' - self promo poster

‘Will play for pay’ – self promo poster

ST: How does it go when you are given an editorial job?  For example, in your painting Fox Hunt I can imagine that it had to do with horses and hunting. What is the process like in working with the client?  Does it help to read what the article is about in order to come with an image?
alkj

PVE: ‘Fox hunt’ was made to accompany a very funny article in Departures written by Jane and Michael Stern about Michael’s recent passion for fox hunting in Connecticut. I was completely free in what to paint, but it obviously had to depict people on horses and dogs chasing a fox. But apparently fox hunting is more about presence, posture and poshness than actually catching the fox itself, so I left the latter out of the painting. I focused merely on showing the speed and elegance of the ritual.

Reading the article isn’t always necessary, but sometimes when it’s about very abstract issues like finance and economics it can be rather helpful.
alkj

ST: You are from Bruge, but grew up in Cologne and now are back home.  Both places are absolutely beautiful and very well know for their architecture and the art!  How have these historical places influenced your artwork?  Is there a lively arts communities in these places?

Bruges city game

Bruges city game

PVE: I lived in Cologne until I was 14, so I can’t say it had an influence on my work. I don’t even remember it as a beautiful city, but I guess that has more to do with the interests of a teenager 😉

Bruges on the other hand is very attractive and an ideal environment to live in (although I live just outside the city walls). It is rather small and easy going and that is something I need for my ease of mind. Yes, there is art on every corner of the street and the few museums are packed with masterpieces from the Flemish Primitives to the Flemish Expressionist. There are a few elements that unconsciously leak into my illustrations like color and shape, but I can trace those influences back to other illustrators I like, so I think it has to do more with taste than influence.
alkj
ST: The book of Illustrated Dreams looks wonderful!  Please let us know more about this project.  Do you illustrate people’s dreams?
alkj

PVE: The book of illustrated dreams is an ongoing project by Mexican artist Roger Omar, where he asks illustrators from around the world to illustrate the dreams of children. There is a Flickr page with all the contributions: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rogeromar/sets/1835379/
alkj

'When we pollute the ocean, we pollute ourselves' - ad campaign for Surfrider Foundation

‘When we pollute the ocean, we pollute ourselves’ – ad campaign for Surfrider Foundation

ST: That’s a great idea!  What is the last dream you remember?

alkj
PVE:
Last night I dreamed about a school with an Olympic sized swimming pool on top and students celebrating the last 100 days of the school year. And everybody was taller than me. Do you have any idea what this could mean? 😉
 alkj

ST: Oh wow!  Perhaps your dream is projecting one of your son’s feeling about the school year coming to an end.  Soon summer vacation start.  Or maybe you want to go back to school.  Only you are the master of your dream, Pieter!When you are not drawing or creating, what do you like to do?
alkj

PVE: Go for a run with my wife, watch a movie, read comics and look at art, do some carpentry. And this year, yes, it has to be this year, I’m going to finish that shed in the garden so I can start playing the drums again.

alkj
ST:
 How encouraged you to be artistic when you were a child?  Did you ever think you would become an illustrator?
 alkj
PVE: Probably like most artists I was always the one who could draw best as a child. But that doesn’t make you an illustrator, I didn’t even know that it existed. So I studied graphic design instead. It was only in art school when I discovered the work of my teacher Ever Meulen that I decided to become an illustrator one day. After graduation I worked as a graphic designer for a few years and became a full time freelancer in 2003.
alkj

ST: The teachers we have always make such a huge impact on us.  Which artists inspire you to create?

 alkj
PVE: I waste too much time on blogs so the things I see there definitely influenced my work in the last years. I’m a big fan of great painters like Matisse, Van Dongen and Hockney but recently I fell in love with a lot of Scandinavian artists like Kustaa Saksi and MVM. They make completely different things than I do and that pushes me to evaluate my work and try new ways of painting. The changes are, like a child growing up, hardly notable and that’s the way it should be.
 alkj
ST: It’s the little things that count.  Any tips for us, Scribblers?
alkj
PVE:
– When it comes to art, as a kid, never question yourself. As a grown up, always question yourself.
– There are no ugly colors, only ugly combinations
– If you see something good, keep your eyes open. If you can’t say anything good, keep your mouth shut.
 alkj
ST: Thank you Pieter for all your positivity and insight!  Now we go back to drawing 🙂  Check out Pieter’s website for more inspiration at http://www.pietervaneenoge.be.
'I can't work like this!' - cover for Das ZEITmagazin design issue

‘I can’t work like this!’ – cover for Das ZEITmagazin design issue

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