Encounters / Art

Today I had decided to see Paul, who is responsible for different art courses at Sint Lucas, since the EMG group isn’t working on wednesdays anyway. An interesting character with a worn leather jacket and a fluffy shock of gray hair, looking very much like the artist and residing in a cellar office where every surface has an aroma of pipe tobacco, since he smokes there. He listed some courses for me and I decided to at least do serigraphy. Good physical art-working and a getaway from improving programming skills.

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The older students are apparently away most of the time, but today Lucas was doing interviews with the master students concerning their final works, so I saw him briefly. One girl was doing something around garden gnomes, or kabouter. I find that word totally hilarious for some reason. Naturally, the kabouter of Rien Poortvliet are well known here; that creepy tome, Tomtarnas hemligheter / Suuri tonttukirja – anyone? So when I happened to look it up in Wikipedia it got even better: Kabouter Buttplug. An artwork in Rotterdam by American sculptor Paul McCarthy.

LOL. Supposedly it is a Christmas tree that he’s carrying… I can’t resist making the connection to yesterday’s post thinking Kabouter Buttplug would make for a great bandname.

Today I indulged myself with a “business lunch” consisting of tilapia fillet at a place called Sensunik near the university. It was very good, but I can’t really decide if it’s sad or neat to eat a relatively expensive lunch by oneself at a restaurant. One up for the service though, they were extremely friendly and even gave me a silly token coin to use for shopping carts (which really makes no sense). I don’t know if you’re supposed to tip here, but no-one has grumbled so far.

As for other courses, I have decided to try and take a workshop around the theme of borders in february. This was mostly because the artist who is guiding the workshop, Wesley Meuris, has made some really exciting work:

In the afternoon there was then the serigraphy. The good thing with that course is that it makes for a chance to meet some of the students at Sint Lucas. From which i firstly got the somewhat disappointing information that the beautiful weather that’s been the norm here really is uncommon for the season, because mostly it should be rainy. Still, it seems that now there is an inroad to getting to know some local people.

Generally I think I’m slowly picking up on things to do in Antwerp. There is some strange comix-geeky club coming up in the weekend, and  I also found a comics store where some  flyers, free magazines and postcards were duly picked up. Also, there does seem to be lots of galleries etc. to visit. At the university I found a quite nice art magazine, De Witte Raaf,  black and white on newsprint, that lists a respectable amount of galleries in the region (that including France, Germany, Britain). Perhaps unsurprisingly, few if any places like that are advertised in the info handed out to exchange students.

Some of you are perhaps aware of the amazing Belgian strip comic Cowboy Henk. Well, so I tried to ask for Cowboy Henk collections at the comics store (which happens to be right by my flat) but the shopkeeper didn’t have any. When asked, he was actually a bit surprised that it was so; apparently Cowboy Henk is such an old thing here that it’s weirdness isn’t given deserved appreciation (He was looking in the shelves containing rubbishy mainstream humour strips). Anyway, he will mail me when he gets some Henk. I also suggested that he check out Yuichi Yokoyama. I would like to get my hands on the Combats album which is only available in french.

The bike mission is ongoing: It would be useful to get a ride, but getting the fixie/single I’ve been planning does seem to require a trip to Holland. A bike seller told me they’re not popular here at all, but he didn’t know the reason. Maybe Belgians are above bike trends?

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