Part I
Part II
Workspace
Schets
Work in progress
Drawing
Tekening ingekaderd
Tekening in schetsboek
Tekening ingekaderd
Schetsboek
Schetsboek
Tekening ingekaderd
Master Exhibition

I Will Be Haunted by This Forever

 

Upon starting the project of drawings that illustrates this book, I set out looking for an optical, visual identity. Interestedly, I looked around in my direct environment, to build a visual identity from my surroundings.
What manages to grab my attention again and again – anywhere, anyhow – is rhythm and repetition. It’s a fascination with, amongst other things, multitude, and it can cause within me both a claustrophobic feeling, and a strange attraction.

One of the places where this feeling is strongest, is the warehouse.
By choosing the subject of the supermarket, I don’t aim to tackle topics like mass consumerism, advertising or the so-called Supermarket Lie – on the contrary, I use the supermarket’s unique aesthetics, the multitude of colors and shapes, rhythmically stacked together, with a choice for each and every one, and then some. The sheer multitude of choices and products often causes frustration when shopping, but as the subject of drawings, it is actually very liberating.

My interest in the topic also has to do with the simple fact that the supermarket has been omnipresent in my life. My mom always made me go with her as a child – from the stroller and sitting in the cart to pushing around my very own mini-cart to ultimately tagging along after her, feeling bored. Well, perhaps I was bored at the time, but simultaneously the place made a strong impression on me: as a kid, the place looked huge. When I looked up, it was like the products were lording over me. Those early experiences helped in forging a connection between myself and the space of the supermarket.

It’s that connection that I’m trying to capture in my work. To draw is to register – and I notice that by drawing, I get better at registering. Drawing keeps things from slipping me by. Drawing keeps me on my toes.

Graphic design has always taught me to draw and paint in a non-traditional way. There is always a ‘design’ element to my drawings.

My work is about communication and, simultaneously, the lack of communicative means or tokens – toying with that presence/absence of tokens creates an interesting tension. I am very economical in specifically hinting at the supermarket in my work. A conscious decision, because I want to leave room for the spectator’s interpretation as well as my own. By allowing myself a certain freedom and not making exact copies, by consciously leaving out elements and adding others and by using various techniques, I allow myself to go ‘beyond’ the image as such. The image of the supermarket is a starting point, but soon I will let it go. I construct the image in my head and deconstruct it on the page. The subject or theme of my work – the supermarket, in this case – is the trigger, if you will, that I need to make any drawing.

When I first tried to capture an image in two minutes or so, I obligated myself to very quickly try out new methods of drawings, using new materials. I taught myself how to draw like I draw now. I reached a certain speed of execution which proved vital – I never slowed down again. My style could be called childlike and naïve – it shows the obsession that I have with drawing.

The medium and the materials, in their turn, help in achieving a particular result. In general, I work on paper with mixed media: ink, pastel, pencil, acrylics and charcoal. 

My method has to do with guts. About just doing it and not thinking too long about it; after all, the image yet changes when the paint or the water dries up. Doubt is not a part of my work – or at least I try not to let it be.

I drew in the supermarket itself, I made drawings from pictures that I took and I drew elsewhere, after walking through a supermarket, from memory. Because of the subject, I paid a lot of attention to colors; I used a broad palette of colors, giving color an important role in my work.

 

This book reveals an almost random part of a much bigger whole. Most of my drawings are but research to an endgame not yet known to me, to a body of work which right now only exists in my dreams, and which may never see the light of day.
My selection is very strict: I now have six drawings that I consider finished.

Here, perhaps, I reveal some of my uncertainty. But at the same time I have to stress I have no fear of failing. I’ve often wondered why failing has such a negative connotation. See, I draw a lot. I think I do so intuitively, without
‘following all the rules’. I draw when I feel like it, without thinking it through, not knowing what I even want the end result to look like.
By drawing a lot, in this manner, my own work is a good teacher. And an unanticipated action, an unforeseen slip of the hand while drawing, can get me just the result I was initially hoping for – getting me where I needed to go without knowing how I got there. 

 

Considering the emphasis on the research that is this body of work – more so than a finished body of art – it is only logical that at this moment the act of drawing should be more important than the drawings themselves. It is all about the act of drawing, about the aforementioned obsession that I have – I have to draw. The whole of all these drawings, of the full research, is more relevant than any one drawing in and of itself.

 

Master Exhibition

© Julie Van den Meutter 2011

Part I