zaterdag 18 september 2010


For his lecture in Brno, Albo Helm asked me for the 10 works of visual art that defined me most as an artist. This is that list.
I'll do this post in English because the whole world needs to know about Fromm, French & all the others. 
Lilo Fromm - "Muffel & Plums"
My parents read to me from this childrens' book when I was about 3 years old. It's a collection of textless comics, drawn in ink and full of detail. The stories are friendly & kid-familiar: Muffel & Plums go swimming, cooking, painting. 

The scariest story is about Muffel (the big lion-type) who is cranky and Plums (the bunny) desperately trying to cheer him up. At one point, Plums brings him a balloon, and Muffel bursts it with a burning cigarette (!). Man, that's some harsh shit when you're 3.

The pencilstrokes on the pages are my first attempts to participate in the art world. It's supposed to be the moon.

Sokal - "La Mort Douce"
One holiday in France, we visited friends of my parents and stayed in their house for a couple of days. They had a closet full of comics – as lots of French people do. I was 8 years old, and for the first time I saw comics that were actually made for grown ups. It was fantastic. There was blood, guns, nudity! I must have read (well, I couldn't read it, but what happened was pretty clear) this scene about 80 times.

Martin Lodewijk & Don Lawrence - "Storm - de Wentelwereld"

My uncle owned a huge comic collection as well. He had a lot of quality stuff, from Franquin to Goscinny, but the Storm-series was my absolute favourite. Reading them was an almost cinematic experience. The sci-fi narrative and realistic paintings introduced me to the escapistic possibilities of the medium.

Rembrandt van Rijn - "The Shooting Company of Franz Banning Cocq"
I wrote a paper on Rembrandt when I was 11. For research and cultural-educational purposes, my dad took me to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam to actually see that famous “Nightwatch” I had been writing about.

I was totally blown away. Not only by the huge, dark painting, but by the whole experience: the hall where it was the only work on display, the museum guards next to it, and especially all those people around me that had come to see it as well, most of them from other countries. It was the first time it truly dawned on me what art meant, and how important it could be.

Todd Solondz - "Welcome to the Dollhouse"
Solondz' pitchblack comedy – about an ugly duckling who just stays an ugly duckling, defying all Hollywood Happy Ending bullshit rules – crashed to the first place of my Best Fucking Movies Ever List in 1997, and has been there to this day.
At the time, “Welcome to the Dollhouse” reflected my feelings of discomfort and “otherness”, and taught me some inalienable truths: being a teenager sucks, and life doesn't get much better after that. It is very nice when you're up to your neck in puberty and an adult actually has the balls to tell you to your face what you already suspected.

Renée French - "Mitch & the Mole"
The summer of '98 marked a milestone in my slowly unfolding life-as-an-artist: I purchased my first Zone5300. The issue opened with this story by comic artiste extraordinaire Renée French, and opened my eyes to an exciting new world: underground comics. French is still one of my favourite authors. Her stories are uncanny and poetic, and she has a drawing style to match.

Mike Diana - "The Legend of the Florida Fish-Man"
French opened my eyes for underground beauty. Mike Diana hit them with a brick. A bloody brick of SMUT! Diana's work is riddled with violence, abuse and ugliness. It is also very enticing (at least to me), vibrant and original. He taught me not to shy away from my own bloody thoughts of smut. I have been drawing tortured flufbunnies ever since.

Jan Svankmajer - "Food"
Jan Svankmajer is one of the profound geniuses of stopmotion animation. His work evokes Blake, Poe, the Russian dadaïsts, and of course Ladislas Starevich (the grand old man of stopmo). I admire the way he braids dark psychological themes into interesting visual experiments (or the other way around).
Incidentally, I really, really don't understand where someone finds the patience to work with stopmo-techniques. I probably would smash the camera before I even got to 24 frames.

Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons - "Watchmen"
I discovered “Watchmen” relatively late – about a year before the movie came out. I think it's one of the best graphic novels I've ever seen. One of the best books, even. Moore & Gibbons are so meticulous in their ambition it makes my head spin. This book makes me think more and try harder. If that's not inspiring, I don't know what is.

Charlotte Salomon - "Leben? oder Theater?"
For a couple of months, I kept a visual journal. It was a lot of fun but eventually proved to be too much work in addition to all my other daily drawing activities. Flipping through Charlotte Salomons “Life? or Theater?” always makes me want to pick it up again.  

4 opmerkingen:

  1. Awrite! I can use this extra info. Thanks.

  2. Heya Merel bedankt voor het bezoekje op mn blog! Zojuist Welcome to the Dollhouse gekeken na het rondsnuffelen op je blog. Heerlijk schrijnend!

  3. Hey, wat goed! Inspiratie is het mooist als je er ook anderen inspireert... :-)