What do you draw inspiration from?
Various things inspire me: daily life, watching tv, endlessly scrolling through Instagram, people watching, or just figures that are hanging around in my head.
When I was studying, I created my work around ‘the world inside my head’. I mostly draw from memory; only when I’m looking for a specific pose or when I need inspiration, I look at —sometimes very ridiculous— stock photos. I would never ever copy from another artist, but looking at other people’s work gets the creative juices flowing. And mostly, just starting to draw works the best. If I don’t know what I’m making, which I almost never do when I make my own work, I just start drawing a line and it will grow into a drawing. Whether it’s good or not, I never know at the start.
How did you start illustrating, and how did your work evolve since then?
I started developing my own style when I was studying Textile Design at Sint-Lucas in Ghent. Like every creative person ever, I have always been drawing, but it was mostly very true to nature. I painted like I was taught in secondary school, where I also studied art.
I used it for pattern and print, and eventually I was making installations that consisted of drawings, textile pieces, tape, picture frames etc ... That’s where I realised drawing was the common thread running through my work. When I graduated, it was the drawing that stuck with me, and developed.
Now I’m drawing digitally and analog, making murals and postcards, live drawing at events (contact me!), … I’ve also picked up printmaking (screen print, lino).
I believe my work hasn’t drastically changed since I started; it just evolved. I have a more distinct style now, but still love my earlier work. Maybe it became more professional, but in any case, more free.
What is your motto?
Everything will be okay, one way or the other. I know that even when life or work get’s you down, in someway this will help you. And even if it doesn’t, it will always be okay in the end.
What message / feeling do you want your work to evoke?
I just want people to smile when they see my work. In my installations, I add little words and sentences to the drawings, as if the work is talking to the viewer. But even when I don’t, I want my work to address the viewer, and have a little conversation with them in their own head.
Whose work is hanging on your walls?
I don’t have the budget to buy the art I would want, but I have some smaller prints (and a lot of books) from David Shrigley, Matisse (postcards & book) and the Bouroullec brothers. I also have prints from illustration artists I like, for example Lieke van der Vorst, Charlotte Dumortier, Tove Jansson, Henn Kim. And my own work takes up some space as well.
What is your biggest enemy?
Money and time. I’m really good at procrastination. I always seem to be short on funds to do what I want done at that exact moment (instead of planning and saving). If I have an abundance of time, I just make little to-do notes on yellow post-its instead of actually acting on them. But when I’m nearing a deadline I can do much more then I ever saw possible when making these sticky to-do notes.
What about the best advice you received?
Just keep drawing. Nothing too difficult, but everything I do starts with a drawing. Whenever I’m down or feel insecure about work or life, I remind myself to keep drawing. Because that’s what drives me, what I’m passionate about.
What makes you excited about the future?
My goal is to be able to have my own little illustration studio, and be able to live from my creative work. But that’s more like a dream, I still have a long way to go.
How does COVID-19 impact your life?
My life changed a lot: I went from a super busy agenda with workshops, freelance illustration and my work at a restaurant, to nothing.
It was a relief, in the first week anyway. Then the pressure started building, on social media mainly: everyone seemed to have picked up all kinds of hobbies was preparing silly dishes. Instagram stories were flooded by ‘living my best corona life’. I felt a short panic, but luckily quickly found back my place.
I moved into a temporary workshop (etterbak) and got some assignments that I am very happy about. At the moment, I’m printing my own small zine, by hand with tetrabrik and lino. Something I’ve been wanting to do forever, but never found the time and calmness for.
Thank you, Loes!