For this article in the international artist series, we turn to Belgium, featuring six artists who create fantastic work, from illustration to graphic design and more! I asked each artist how their country and culture inspired their work, and they delivered fantastic answers. Enjoy!
Julie Hoyas is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Brussels whose work has a gorgeous, dream-like quality to it. You can check out a few pieces below or see more of her work in her portfolio.
"I lived in the Belgian countryside. So I have a love of nature, but also a curiosity about the world and other cultures.
"Now I live in Brussels, a multicultural city very rich and very open. People in Brussels are modest and open-minded. I think it is this mentality that has helped me do my best to touch and explore art beyond my boundaries."
Jean-Michel Verbeeck is a Creative Director based in Antwerp. His work is mind-boggling and fantastic. You can check out a small selection of it below or explore more of it in his portfolio.
"I've always lived in the great city of Antwerp in Belgium. The busy streets, fast pace of living, and the amazing growth of new creatives have always pushed me to face any challenge and to reach out for each opportunity until I said no more.
"My work was losing its personality and Antwerp influenced me to start slowing down in the most positive way. By slowing down, my artwork became more meditative, more peaceful, and even more abstract than it was before. I was creating a place where I could relax from the busy city life and really translate my inner soul to a series of abstract artworks.
"Taking my inspiration out of my daily emotions, a series of minimal sculptures came to life which are intended to give people a small moment in their lives to sit back from the busy times we live in and get into a meditative state of mind where you can feel the peaceful effect of colors and repetitive motion."
Vébé is Thibaut van Boxtel, an illustrator, designer, and photographer who works with INK Studio in Brussels. His collaborative work is vibrant and imaginative, largely being constructed of paper sculpture. Check out a small selection below or see more of his work in his portfolio.
"Belgium is a mix of two main and different cultures. On the north part, the Dutch people evolved with a German-based culture. On the south part, the French people evolved with a Latin-based culture. These two cultures are strong and quite different.
"Through the centuries we learned to all live together with a common goal. This contrast feeds a lot of things in Belgium, especially our creative approach. At INK Studio the two main creatives, and co-founders, are from this cultural difference. Cid is a francophone and Vébé is Dutch. One is more impulsive, the other more meticulous.
"Brussels, where the studio is located and also the capital of Belgium, is often called the center of Europe. It brings many other cultures together. This also makes us open to other cultures. All of this mixing of cultures inspires us in what we create. In Brussels this mixture is called a 'melting pot'."
Green European Journal
Clotilde Goubely is an illustrator and character designer based in Brussels. Her work is so fun and animated, featuring silly animal characters with great expressions. You can check out a small selection of her work below or in her portfolio.
"Belgian humor is off and positive, like my illustrations, I think. Belgian surrealism is just as inspiring. My illustrations are sometimes dreamlike, sometimes humorous; it fluctuates.
"The Belgian people are discreet but memorable. I hope my illustrations leave the same feeling."
Mario De Meyer
Mario De Meyer is a graphic designer based in Ghent. His work is glorious to behold, filled with color and some seriously fantastic typographic designs. You can check out a small selection of pieces below or in his portfolio.
36 Days of Type 2016 - G
"It's hard to answer that question in a country so small as Belgium, but one of the cultures that influenced me a lot is the music culture. Electronic music was pretty big around here in the 90's and I've always been drawn to the creative freedom there was.
36 Days of Type 2016 - J
Novelty Waves 3
"I remember I used to collect flyers and posters from all of those parties. The bold, colorful artwork and the creative freedom there has certainly been one of the triggers to become a graphic artist myself."
Good Name Is Better Than Silver & Gold
Fre Lemmens is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Heusden-Zolder. His design work is elegant and modern, spanning branding projects to illustrative installations. You can check out a small selection of pieces below or see more in his portfolio.
"Not that I’m fully aware of it, but no doubt I picked up a bunch of impulses, being from Belgium. We do have a rich art scene and history, especially in the cartoon and comic segment, which was, and still is, most relevant to my interests."
"As a kid I always dreamt of being a cartoon or graphic novel illustrator. I think this is something you might notice in my style: clear lines, bright colors, and always trying to implement a bit, or better, lots of drawing and illustration elements."
"Belgian people tend to be humble, comfortably taking the position of underdog. Instead of shouting out our ideas, opinions or critique, we use a lot of humor, subtle commentary, or tongue-in-cheek remarks. It’s these components that help to approach a project or take a stand towards a concept or client.
Belle & Belge
"Apart from that, Belgium is home to a lot of cultures, an interesting melting pot of dialects, styles and habits. It’s nice to have a taste of all these different factors and in this understanding keep an open mind, both in our creative work and day-to-day lives."
Many thanks to the artists above who took time out of their busy schedules to answer my questions are share their work with us. Follow them around the web below: