The year in creativity through the eyes of some experts. A moment to show work from Belgium that made an impact and is inspiring for our community.
From tapestries in times of lockdown to natively digital embodiments of intermixed supermarket products, this year’s most gripping work according to Ben Boliau.
From lost dogs looking for a home to out of space 3D images, this year’s most intriguing projects for Ingrid Deuss.
From the electrifying work of Dries Van Noten to amazing dancing beats, here are the year’s most fascinating and outstanding sound projects of 2021 as believed by Cedric Engels.
We do hope you'll find something that surprises you.
BEST OF ILLUSTRATION BY BEN BOLIAU, MUTANT
Ben teaches Illustration and Graphic Design at Sint Lucas Antwerpen. With a career of over twenty years in graphic design and branding, he joined Mutant as graphic designer, copywriter and self-proclaimed ‘curator-of-crafts’ last August. In his spare time —if there is any left— he designs outrageous (Ben & Pixel) covers for underground rap artists, and dabbles in apparel design for streetwear and skate brands.
Sam is the undisputed ‘Your favorite illustrator’s favorite illustrator’. Both Master artisan ánd artist, virtuous with pen and pixel, and critical of his own work to a fault. Too stubborn and true to his artistry to be labelled a diplomat, but other than that he is —no hyperbole— the Peter Paul Rubens of our times. It is therefore fitting that he was commissioned to draw six tapestries for the Seventeenth Century room of the newly renovated Antwerp landmark ‘Het Steen’. The entire tableau depicts a whirlwind experience via historical and mythological situations, people, architecture and art related to the city of Antwerp… topped off with some vintage Vanallemeersch absurdity that really ties the room together.
Some will have trouble categorizing Martijn Mertens’ Sint Lucas Antwerpen Master graduation project ‘Tumtu Market’ as illustration. But when words are deprived of their meaning and reduced to colors, shapes and archetypical concepts, the bulkheads between disciplines evaporate and something like typographical illustration comes into play. Both visual dissertation of wanton consumerism and contemporary reinterpretation of Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem ‘Jabberwocky’, Tumtu Market breaks ground by venturing into the abstract, experimental fields of Augmented Reality and NFT economy. Expertly designed and cleverly conceived work by one of Belgium’s most promising graduates.
This might be perceived by some as blowing my own horn, but I was still unaffiliated with Mutant at the time the project was running and take absolutely no credit in its creation. The outright choice for illustration on this project however, was one of the reasons I was attracted to the agency’s vision, and happily obliged to mutate myself when approached. You’d be tempted to think nobody in his right mind would want to marry the world of poetic illustration with that of soccer fandom, but that’s exactly the kind of tension we need seek out more. Expertly crafted by Volstok in next to no time, this project is a perfect example of how efficient illustration can be, and how under-utilized it remains in our industry.
BEST OF PHOTOGRAPHY BY INGRID DEUSS, CZAR
Ingrid started up recently photographyPLUS at CZAR. She works with image-making heavy-weights to rising stars. She carefully curates tantalising visual stories made to measure. Therefore, she was a freelance artbuyer/producer for advertising, music and fashion with 25 years of experience. She also has her own Art gallery in Antwerp since 2011.
Burberry enlisted visual artist Frederik Heyman to convey his vision of serenity and adventure to life in a unique CGI world for the collection’s campaign, produced by Bounce Rocks. Frederik is a 3D artist, whose work intersects the disciplines of art, fashion, music and culture. He has drawn curious eyes since the very beginning. Having worked with some of the most seminal creatives of our time (think: Y/PROJECT’s Glenn Martens, Burberry, Thierry Mugler, Michèle Lamy, ARCA and Lady Gaga, among others).
For me Sylvie is an incredible growing Belgian artist with absolute international allure. Her new album Montbray is just released. And my absolute favourite number is “ Walk Walk“. This video was made in honor of the dogs that never found a forever home... and most of the dogs in this video are still up for adoption!
Peter investigates self-determination and motivational body culture in 'Self-Visitation (Maurice)', a visual story for GR-05 FW21. The editorial appears alongside other work produced by global artists, each lending a unique perspective to life before, during and after lockdown. “In these images, I don’t take a position on gym gains or beauty ideals. Instead, I examine what it means to take matters into your own hands”, although Peter.
BEST OF MUSIC BY CEDRIC ENGELS, SONHOUSE
Born in 1987, Cedric started his musical career around the turn of the century. Hermanos Inglesos was born. An album followed on PIAS, which led to a signing with Sony Music. Cedric went to Law school and specialised in Copyright Law and wrote a master thesis on sampling. In 2011 he started his adventure in London with two goals: learning as much as possible at SAE-audio engineering/Middlesex University and inhaling the inspiring power of the Thames' shores. Back in Belgium, he co-founded Sonhouse to focus on the creation of sound identities in an international context. His mission in life is to make people aware of the power of sound and the impact on our society, hence his book ‘The Power of Sound’ and TEDx-talk on Sound Ecology.
I met Orson Wouters in 2013 and was immediately captivated by his track 'Mr. Croissant Taker’. It made many dancefloors happy during my DJ sets. Since then, we've collaborated a few times on projects that confirmed his talent every time. And then there was 'Dansu': the pinnacle of that talent. From the very first moment I heard the track, I thought: this is perfect. And timeless.