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Keeping it surreal with René Magritte

“The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meaning is unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown.” –René Magritte

René Magritte, Homesickness, 1940

René Magritte, Homesickness, 1940

Surrealism began around the 1920s as a movement that explored expression and the imagination of the subconscious. René Magritte, a painter part of the movement, did just that. Much of the work during this time was very dreamlike and bizarre. Artists such as Magritte truly created some amazing and legendary paintings that breaks boundaries between dream and reality.

Magritte was born on November 21, 1898 in Lessines, Belgium. He began his paintings in 1910 when he was only 12 years old. In 1922, he married Georgette Berger who was also his childhood friend. Four years later he produced his first surreal oil painting called ‘The Lost Jockey’ and held an exhibition to present this work. He soon moved to Paris and became involved in the surrealist group. His work was finally exhibited in 1936 in New York City where he became more popular day by day. His work can be found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that was added in 1992 and also at the Museum of Modern Art that was added in 1965.

Magritte not only keeps us fully interested in his work but also in our own. He helps us to think outside the box and brings us into another dimension of art. Try and remember one of the last dreams you’ve had that you can remember quite vividly and sketch it out. Maybe even make a painting about it. You may discover and create something you never imagined. Dreams are a part of our everyday lives whether we remember them or not. Something is always drifting through our subconscious, and if you can get a hold of it, pay attention to it and try to make sense out of it.

René Magritte, The Lovers I, 1928

René Magritte, The Lovers I, 1928

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Posted by Andi Thea, on June 15th, 2015 at 6:38 am. No Comments

Category: adults,Artists,Featured,Painting,Uncategorized Labels: , , , , , ,


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.
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'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?
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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.
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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.
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ST: The book of Illustrated Dreams looks wonderful!  Please let us know more about this project.  Do you illustrate people’s dreams?
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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/
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'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?

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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?
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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.

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ST:
 How encouraged you to be artistic when you were a child?  Did you ever think you would become an illustrator?
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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.
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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?
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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


Scribble Artist Interview with Steven van Hasten!

securedownload-1Scribble Town (ST): Let’s go to the jungle! Let’s go help our Hippo friend brush his teeth!  Steven van Hasten has a painterly touch for his illustrations that sweep you away to imaginary places.

Steven, what are you up to at the moment?

Steven van Hasten (SVH): I am a Belgian artist who grew up in Courtrai, a small commercial town in West Flanders. I am huge comic book fan and have a large collection. I never go to sleep before reading a comic book.  I am doing some different projects now, commissioned and personal projects… One of the commissioned ones is an illustration for an adoption card, very pleasant to do. I am also doing a children’s book based on a script of my wife …

ST: I’m sure you and your wife are inspirations for each other! Your illustrations are wonderful! Where do you come up with your ideas for your illustrations?

SVH: When I start a new illustration, I always first go for a walk. While just thinking about anything, ideas start to come. Almost everything I encounter on a walk can lead to an idea, a picture on a wall, something lying on the street, something that happens on my way, a strange house … But the greatest source of inspiration are the people I meet and see in the streets… Everyone can be the next person in my illustration :).

ST: In that sense, everybody is magical. I believe that! And can see that in your illustrations.

I noticed on your website that you have many different styles that you work with. What is one of your favorite technique and why?

SVH: I make digital and painted illustrations, but I prefer the classic way of drawing and painting a lot more, because I like the smell of acrylics and holding a pencil feels much more comfortable then moving a mouse. Sitting at the table with a paper in front of me gives a much more relaxed feeling then sitting before a computer.

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ST: I think the tactile process shows in your artwork too. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?  What has been your path to becoming an illustrator?

SVH: As soon as I was old enough to hold a pencil, I knew I would do something with drawing. As a child I drew on every surface in the house: walls, tables, etc.. My parents were very happy when I was old enough to go to the local academy and start to draw on regular paper instead. One of first things I can remember is a comic book about a knight I made when I was the age of 10. When I was older I completed a Masters from St. Lucas, School of Arts in Ghent, Belgium where I studied Graphic Design and Illustration. That was the start of my career as an illustrator.

ST: Have you ever been interested in creating a TV show series of your own?  What is your favorite cartoon on TV?

securedownload-3SVH: I never considered it. I think my style is to complex for a tv-show, it would cost to much time to make a show or I should have people helping me and I rather work alone like I am doing now.

I don’t watch much television, I am more of a reader, so I don’t know much about the cartoons that are on television right now. As a kid I liked ‘Tom and Jerry’ and I still like ‘The Simpsons’ … And animation like ‘Despicable me’, ‘Spirited away’, ‘Persepolis’, ‘Rango’.

ST: I see you have a variety of themes in your illustrations.  What is a theme you are currently working on?  What is the Tekeningen series about?

SVH: The theme comes back, most of the time, in my illustrations to people. I love to draw people with all the strange habits they have, how they dress, behave, how they act funny. You could say that the human behaviour is my most popular theme. I do love drawing animals too, but even the animals always have a human touch, the act like humans, not like animals would do…

The ‘tekeningen’ series are live-drawings. Every week I hire a model for making quick sketches. This is important to evolve and try different things. These drawings are exercises in technique, motion, colour, line. I make hundreds of them, most of them arrive in the wastepaper basket. In a 2 hour drawing session I make 20-30 sketches. A sketch doesn’t take more than 5 minutes, so I can’t get lost in drawing details, it has to be basic and direct. If I have one drawing at the end of the evening I find good, then my evening was successful.

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ST: Those sessions are also great to just get movement within your drawing and lose yourself in the motion. When you are not drawing or creating, what do you like to do?

SVH: Being in nature is the thing I do most when I am not illustrating. It gives me the peace I need to keep me going with fresh ideas. I like hiking, especially in the Scottish Highlands, where I go at least 1 or 2 times a year. Or walking in nature closer to home.

 I also love to read books (mostly fantasy) or comic books, which I do almost every evening after drawing. Otherwise I would be thinking all night on my illustrations. It’s like making my head empty. 

And riding my motorbike is a favourite too…

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ST: You have some exhibitions coming up.  Please let us know about them.  What artworks will you be exhibiting?

SVH: Next week I have an exhibition in London on the Parallax Art Fair. I will show some artworks I recently made for a memory-game and for a puzzle-game.

In April there is an upcoming exhibition with some other illustrator. The brief was to make an illustration about the pencil in the art world. There will be shown only one illustration.
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ST: You surely are busy! Which artists inspire you to create?

SVH: Heronimus Bosch, a Dutch painter from the 15th century, has always been a great inspiration. He must have been a little insane, I guess, because he drew very strange things :). And illustrators like Shaun Tan and Rebecca Dautremer, because they are very passionate. And also Jean-Michel Basquiat, who died too young..

ST: You are an inspiration for us! Any tips for our Scribblers?

SVH: If you have a dream follow it, no matter what it costs. Working hard and practicing everyday is much more important then talent. Of course you need a little talent but in the end it is who works hard that will be the winner. Keep your eyes open, ideas and creativity are everywhere, you just have to see it. The most important thing I learned at art school, is not how to draw, but how to look to the world, with an open mind.

ST: And with an open mind we continue our day! Thank you, Steven for sharing with us :). Scribblers, please have a look at Steven’s website to see more of his artwork and learn more about him.

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