De Zuilense Salons - Season 1 Posters

This was a really cool job! I got to make all the posters for “De Zuilense Salons”, an irregular recurring event where Dutch artist Beatrijs Wind invited musicians or storytellers or other interesting people together with an audience in her living room. She made all of them food and generally some magic happened.

I’m already looking forward to the next season….


Find more about Beatrijs Wind here.

"Knuppels en Gekakel" Theater Poster

The title is really quite hard to translate…

“Knuppels” are sticks or bats to hit someone with and there is a Dutch expression where this refers to “Een knuppel in het hoenderhok gooien” - literally: throwing a stick in a hen house which means something like stirring things up. “Gekakel” is the sound hens make. So make of that what you want… :)

It’s a play about prejudice and intolerance, but very funny and with lots of music.

The “hens”, in this case, are the three actresses and creators of the play. I knew one of them. We used to dance tango together.

I still haven’t seen the play itself. Hope that changes soon….

The grafik Brut Project (4)

I "sampled" the white line from a monoprint by the Dutch artist Beatrijs Wind, and stole the title for this one from her work as well. The cloud is a monoprint I did with a piece of cardboard, the boat itself is a piece of cardboard multiplex box with a nail in it, and the rest of the background is a picture of a big, round vase I once made.

I am not all that sure the French is correct. But I'm not gonna correct it anymore if it isn't...


The Grafik Brut Project (3) - Cheating....

I'm cheating today...

I'm supposed to make a new poster each day and I know it's only the third day or something but my laptop is doing all kinds of weird things and i'm tired and I have a headache and I only made this poster a week ago so it sort of counts, doesn't it?

(And yes, I do seem to have more than enough energy to come up with excuses.... Mmmmm.)

I was visiting a friend last week and she's an interior designer. She was figuring out what to do with her own kitchen but I liked the patterns left from the old cupboards and devices that were removed. I suggested she could just leave everything as it was: instant design!

She didn't go for it. I figured if I made a cool poster out of it, she would surely see my vision and appreciate the brilliance of it...

She liked the poster.

But, nah... she still wants to install some fancy-ass minimalistic two-door contraption in stead...


I don't know what they are teaching interior designer these days, but, yeah, well....


The Grafik Brut Project (2)

Two posters today. Neither one looks like what I actually intended to do, but I decided to go with the flow, and I guess I'm not totally unhappy with them...

Both were drawn digitally, using different brushes from the standard collection in Gimp and the Clone tool by which I can use the textures found in photographs as the digital "paint". I like this technique a lot and use it often. I feel it doesn't hide its digital origin but at the same time looks quite organic. 

See you tomorrow for another poster...


The Grafik Brut project (1) - not ready, getting started anyway...

Right, here we go...

About two weeks ago I decided I was going to start a daily project again. I used to do something like that on Google+ (remember Google+? Yeah.... well....) Back then, my project was called "The Daily Doodle" and it ran for over two years, I believe.
I posted something each and every day. Sometimes it was a cartoon or an illustration. Often it was just a sketch or an actual doodle, other times it was a whole poster or a book cover. I didn't really make something every day. Sometimes I made several things in advance so I could have a few days off. It was a really great exercise, which taught me a lot. 

Below you can see some snippets of the work I did back then.


Some of it was crap. Some of it, I think, was the best stuff I ever did. 

But at some point, I quit.


And now... I feel like starting it up again.

A new daily project, with a new name: The Grafik Brut Project.

Grafik because it is going to be a poster each day.

Brut, because brut is good. Brut is fine. Brut is what it is going to be...

Ok, ok, I'll explain all of this in more detail in further installments. Now I just want to get this show on the road. 
I was postponing the launch of this project for "when the time was right". Ha! Yeah... The time didn't feel like getting right. Actually, the time is pretty lousy today. But I'm gonna start anyway. 

I don't know how long I am going to keep this project going. Maybe just a short time. A month or so. Maybe much longer. Maybe I'll stop and start up again after a while. I'm also not so clear on the rules yet. For now: It's going to be a poster a day. Nothing else. Just posters. (Again, in one of the following posts I'll talk a bit more about why I wanna do posters). And for now, I'm thinking I am actually going to make something each and every day, not just post something daily. That means, on some days, there will not be very much time to make something, but I am going to do it anyway, and it might be crap. It might make no sense. It might look stupid. But it is going to be the poster of the day.

So there.


Today, I made my first poster.

Wanna see?


More tomorrow...

A happy thought...


Walking down the street earlier today it suddenly hit me. I don't know why. It just did. This very clear thought:

Nobody is paying attention. 

Nobody cares. 

So you can do whatever you want.

I realized I had stopped walking as I was thinking this.




It is true, isn't it? When you start out to do something, whatever that is: writing a theater play about an owl family, starting a one-man Dixieland jazz band, outlining a novel in sixteen parts, painting the same landscape over and over again, whatever, whatever your wild plan is... nobody cares about it. 

And that's a good thing.

The trouble starts when you decide you want to change that. When you want people to care, when you want them to notice what you are doing and even worse,  when you want them to like what you are doing...

Then you start wondering whether or not, and maybe if I, or better yet,...

Then you start second-guessing yourself. Should I? Can I? Did someone else already do this before me? 

What if you just didn't? Just... did... not... care...


But we do, don't we?

We always do.


We just can't help ourselves...

On things.

What is it about things that make me want to cry?

Pictures don't do that. Words, maybe, sometimes, but not often.

But things... 

A hat block, shaped like a rocket, half eaten by woodworms. 
Four rusty screws, held together by a piece of twine.
A stick. And a feather.

A small, circular labyrinth, hanging on a nail, not quite centered.
A blue plate.

A sweater. Two blocks of wood, painted.
A typographers magnifying glass.
A stone.

Some of these things are mine. 
I bought them, inherited them or someone gave them to me.
Others are not.

But that doesn't matter.

They all do it.

On doubts.


There is something comforting about working hard all the time, I imagine.

When you work hard you get the feeling that you are doing alright, that you are on track, and that everything will be fine.

But what if you don’t.
What if you doubt yourself all the time.

Isn’t there value in that also?

"Sure," they will say "a little doubt is good! You shouldn't take things for granted! Questioning yourself might lead to new things. It gets you to find different solutions"

But what if it doesn’t?

What if you just keep doubting? 
What if you don’t reach any solutions?

What if the only thing you end up with is a large collection of doubts? 

Isn't there value in that?
Intricate well-formulated sincere beautiful doubts.....


Failing hard.

I'm failing again today. Not gently. Hard.

I should do something, but I'm not doing it. What that is? I'm even embarrassed to tell you. 
Alright, here goes: I should connect my drawing tablet to my laptop and install the thing.
I've been saying I'm going to do that for weeks now. Still haven't.

I'm not going to be doing it today. It's already too late and I have to go in an hour or two.
If that wouldn't have been the case I'm sure I would have found another excuse, tho'...

Why is this so "difficult"? Yes, I had some problems with it when I installed it before, but I fixed that. It should be working now. 

But what if it's not? 

It's like I don't want to be in that place. The place where something is not working and I have to figure out what I have to do to make it work.

And what if it does work?
Then I have to stop not using it.
That is.... even scarier.

Yesterday, I talked to a friend who had to start working on her new website. She also had been postponing doing that for quite a while. She said: "Tomorrow, I'm going to work on it." And I replied: "No, you're not. You say you will, today, but tomorrow you are going to chicken out and do nothing - you just wait and see...."

I am such an asshole.


She worked at it from noon 'till two or something.

Shows me right.


Why street photography...

I picked up photography because I was fed up with drawing at the time. I just didn't want to sit at a desk, didn't want to tease out a likeness, didn't want to... I don't know. Just didn't want to draw for a while. So I bought a camera and I hit the streets.

 Street photography. Shy and tentative at first. I had bought a huge big lens that could zoom so I didn't have to approach people. "Real" street photographers look down upon huge big zoom-lenses. They seem to have these rules and aesthetic that I don't understand. I like zoom-lenses. I like the cinematographic feel of a shallow depth of field. And I like it when people don't see me taking their picture.

Antwerp, November 2016

Antwerp, November 2016

 But of course, sometimes, they do.

Antwerp, November 2016

Antwerp, November 2016

 And when they do, sometimes they smile. And it's no big deal and they make a joke and all is good. 

Antwerp, October 2017

Antwerp, October 2017

 And sometimes they start to argue. 

They say it is impolite to take their picture without asking first and I explain to them that when I ask them first they will start to pose and smile and I don't want that. I just want to have them go about their business.

I want a picture of how they really are, doing their thing. Sometimes they don't buy that. I usually offer to erase the picture I just took, but for some reason none of them really made me do that. 

I had some of them even claiming it is illegal to take their picture without asking. They might be right. 

Antwerp October 2017

Antwerp October 2017

But sometimes you have to do illegal things to catch beauty in the act. 

Antwerp, December 2016

Antwerp, December 2016

Because those are the things that matter...

Three things about the previous post...

Two days ago I posted a doodle I found on the back of a beer coaster in a bar. It wasn't mine. Somebody unknown to me made it. I just  found it, thought it looked nice and posted it here.

I also did it to test out the mobile blogging app I had on my phone. 

Looking back on that post, I came to realize three things...

1) The blogging app works fine. It's a nice way to make a post "on the go", which in some cases could be very useful. Posting directly from an event, or a picture of something you see on the streets, things like that. However, the possibilities you have adjusting and tweaking your post on a computer are much greater than on the mobile app. I think that's a pity, but I'll live with it...

2018-03-06 19.49.55.jpg

2) When I posted the doodle two days ago, it was only after publishing it that I realized that it wasn't really a doodle after all... It's a game! It's Tic-Tac-Toe. (Well, actually it's a variation of Tic-Tac-Toe as it is often played here in Belgium called "OXO" where the object is not to get three X's or O's in a row but - you guessed it - an O, an X and an O combination.)

2018-03-06 19.49.55.jpg

That means it wasn't made as a drawing. It just kinda "grew" as the game took place. You could say it's the residue of the act of playing. In another post I made earlier this week, I suggested that doodling was akin to dancing. It doesn't really come from the wish to draw something, to depict something, but rather from the urge to make hand-movements. To criss and cross and swirl about the paper. In that case, the drawing is also the residue. Something left after the dance.

(I'm not sure where this is going, but the idea that dancing and drawing have something to do with each other, fascinates me. To be continued, no doubt...)


3) Isn't it strange that I didn't notice the fact it was a game of Tic-Tac-Toe immediately? The reason I picked this "doodle", this beer coaster, was that I just thought it looked nice: the pattern of the O's and X's, the smudgy pencil marks, the way the cardboard surface was damaged,... 

Apparently, these are the things I notice first. I started thinking about how I look at drawings and paintings in general and I have to admit I very often do not "read" what the image is depicting. Even in comic books, where this reading can be taken quite literally and is sometimes crucial to understand what is going on in the story, I often neglect to do so. It gets worse when an image is very busy, has a lot of details, lots of things going on. Then I can't be bothered at all to start looking at all of that... I don't seem to really care what a picture is a picture of...

What I do care about is the colors and the composition, the textures, the rhythms,... What gets me exited is how a green turns into a blue and suddenly erupts into an orange. What makes me look again is how a composition seems to be "off" but actually isn't. Or how there is almost nothing going on in a painting, but you can't stop looking at it. I often catch myself doing this almost imperceivable little dance where the muscles in my neck and shoulders contract and release as my eyes follow the movement suggested by scribbles and marks on a canvas. Or I zone out in front of a large field of color. A very dark, almost black blackishness that never really becomes black but you can't really say what it is in stead. 


So in short: I like abstract art. Or at the very least, the "abstract qualities" of an image, as opposed to the "figurative qualities", that what is depicted. Which leaves me with one big question: why don't I just make abstract work myself?


I don't really know.

I feel very uncomfortable whenever I do try making completely abstract work. As if I don't really know what it is I'm doing. As if I don't know what the "rules" are. As if I am just remembering other abstract works of art I've seen somewhere and copying them, or rather: vaguely doing something like them. 

As if I'm an impostor. As if I'm cheating. 

(Now if you are an artist who is doing abstract art, please don't get upset! I'm not saying all abstract art is cheating. I'm just saying That I don't really know how to deal with it, somehow, yet,.... Mmmmm. Ok.)

I always promise myself to try and explore doing abstract work more and I did do some in the past. I'll try and dig up some of it and show it to you in a future blogpost.

For now, I'm gonna leave it at that.  Which might be kinda halfway between things and not really a very satisfying ending, but I guess that's where we are right now. So there....

A test...

Today’s post is nothing much. Just a test, really. I’m trying out the Squarespace mobile blogging app.

I’m in a bar, killing some time, and I found some beer coasters with someone’s doodles on the back. I’m starting to have a thing for doodles, lately. Wonder what that will bring me. Should I start collecting them? Make things with them or just document what I find? I don’t know yet. For now, this is actually just a test of the blogging app... 

Found doodles. Not mine.

Found doodles. Not mine.