ARTISTAS DEL MUNDO - BÉLGICA/ ARTISTS OF THE WORLD - BELGIUM
My name is Iban Van der Zeyp and I was born in 1969 in Mortsel, near Antwerp, Belgium. I graduated from art high school in 1991 and soon after I started doing exhibitions. I still had to do regular work part-time to make a living. In 1997 I did a successful solo exhibition in Antwerp that changed my life and I was able to start painting full-time.
The following years I had some side projects, but I never abandoned painting. I was editor of a local magazine for a while, then a real-estate photographer for a few years and I helped my wife with her collectible toy shop. Meanwhile I kept doing one or two solo exhibitions a year and several group events as well.
When the pandemic struck in 2020, all planned exhibitions were cancelled and in 2021 I thought that I had waited long enough, so I decided to open my own gallery in my hometown.
How your interest in art was born?
I grew up in a creative family. My mother is a fashion designer, my father a musician and my aunt a visual artist (water colour, drawing, sculpting,...). My grandfather worked in an office, but he was also very talented in drawing. In fact, he was the one who inspired me because his approach was very simple and unconventional.
What factors marked your path?
My grandfather thaught me to think outside the box; even if your subject is very simple, there are ways to make it interesting. His way was colour and that's why I use to many bright colours.
The second big change came when I was in art high school. We got an assignment to depict an everyday object in four styles: realistic, expressionistic, abstract and schematic. I chose a little plant with long curved leaves that was on the mantelpiece in our living room. My abstract work was the start of my style, curvism. If it had been any other plant, my style probably would have been very different.
Who are your artistic references?
I admire lots of artists, but my main influences are Pablo Picasso and Marcel Gromaire. I also get a lot of inspiration from the work of Bernard Buffet.
Which of your works is your favorite? why?
Not an easy choice, but I would have to say "Autumn", which is an interpretation of a work by Marcel Gromaire. I admire the work of Gromaire and this piece in particular because it's both a bit chaotic and calming at the same time. Although my version is very different, it has the same effect on me.
How has the pandemic influenced your creations?
The pandemic caused all my exhibitions to be postponed or even cancelled, so I started making smaller work because it's easier to sell online. It's also because of the pandemic that I opened my own gallery - my exhibitions were postponed or even cancelled and the first one was scheduled for the end of 2022 and I could not wait that long.
What sensitizes you?
Tell us a little about the works we are seeing
"Autumn" (original title: "L'automne"), acrylic on canvas, 95x120cm. This is an interpretation of a work by Marcel Gromaire. I love the original and I just had to make my version of it. It was the first time I used so many earth colours.
"Klimt's jealousy", acrylic on hardboard, 80x120cm. I combined two paintings by Gustav Klimt and created my interpretation. On the left is "The kiss" and on the right is "Portrait of Emilie Flöge"; in my version it appears as if Emilie Flöge is jealous of the two lovers kissing.
"The funeral", acrylic on hardboard, 60x80cm. In this piece I used lots of grey and brown and hardly any bright colours, very different from what I usually do, but death is just a part of life, so it should be part of my work too.
"Tamara on Wednesday", acrylic on canvasboard, 24x30cm. This is one of the many small portraits I painted and it's an ongoing series. Every time I have a model come over (at least once a month) I take a series of portrait photos. Then I select seven and I abstract each one on every day of the week, so I create a series of seven portraits of every model.