Quiet Company
Quiet Company
Discover talent in photography and illustration: original, honest and simply beautiful.
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Jeroen De Wandel (1980), photographer

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How did you start with photography?

I’m a late bloomer. I have been experimenting with cameras for a long time, but I only started at the Ghent art academy at 30, in evening classes. I was never sure what to do with my life, but suddenly everything fell into place.

How did your work change since you first started?

A lot! I went from photography to mixed media: instead of photographing landscapes and people, I now mainly make collages, I sometimes use paint, experiment with other materials and also make objects.

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What are you working on right now? 

I’m fascinated by how memory works. Recent research showed we cannot trust our memories: they are constantly being processed and influenced by new events and experiences, as a foundation for future developments that might have an effect on our lives.

Memories are stored in different zones of the brain. The amygdala is responsible for processing emotional memories such as a relationship ending, war, etc. These memories are usually very well stored. Other memories get colored over time by, for example, by retelling them again and again, not knowing the exact facts over time. Our brain will fill in the gaps.

There's research nowadays about erasing those traumatizing memories, stored in the amygdala. We're closing in on planted memories, as you can see in movies like Total Recall. The collective memory, on the other hand, can be influenced by, for example, social media. Fake news is real!

What is your creative process?

I photograph a lot and I do it very intuitively. By now, I have a decent archive of analog and digital images: mainly my own work but also found material. Some images stay untouched for years, or return in other forms.

I process my pictures the way our memory works: I create new images by editing, tearing, re-photographing and experimenting with existing material. Is what we see an image of reality or is it fake news? Should photography as a medium represent reality or not?

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Who or what inspires you?

It depends on the mood of the day. In general, I'm influenced by music, psychology, science and our society.

Lately, this has been my visual playlist: Edith Dekyndt, Wolfgang Tillmans, Katrien De Blauwer, Christian Boltanski, Tomas Saraceno, Roger Ballen, Joan Fontcuberta, Paul Klee, Batia Suter, Jaromir Novotny, Doina Kraal, Vincent Delbrouck, Quentin Lacombe, Gerhard Richter …

My auditory playlist: Murcof, Fire Orchestra, Laurent Garnier, Neil Young, Holly Herndon, The Comet Is Coming, Pink Floyd, 9T Antiope, Karen Willems, Felicia Atkinson, Amon Tobin, Stan Getz …

What do you look forward to in the future?

Evolve and experiment. Learn more about working with different materials, mixed media, video, sound …

In the near future, I hope to exhibit a lot, to find a publisher for two book dummies I have around my Amygdala project, and to work together with other artists.

Whose work is on your walls at home?

My walls are nearly empty, apart from a few weathered wooden panels with painted birds, a flea market find. No idea who made it.

What three words describe your work? 

Resonance, energy, composition.

What’s the best advice you ever received?

Work hard and never give up.

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Elise Vandeplancke (1992), illustrator

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Inspiration seeps in from all around me, often without me noticing. I love to explore the human form and natural patterns: plants, light, landscapes.

I prefer to draw on the train when I’m returning from my job: I take my sketchbook and just start. I put the pencil on paper and things spontaneously appear.

Before, I focused on graphic design, but I rediscovered drawing and it brings me a lot of joy. I want this to show in my work. I love experimenting with colour: this turns my sketchbook into a source of inspiration, full of colours and ideas.

For ‘Kashan’, I chose screen printing. It’s simple and mechanical, but also a bit magical.

 
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Hanne Lamon (1982), photographer

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Describe your work in a few words.

Intimate, fragile, mysterious, emotional.

Who inspires you?

Daisuku Yokota, Gerhard Richter, Wolfgang Tillmans, Gilbert Fastenaekens, Geert Goiris, Awoiska van der Molen, Tine Guns, Thomas Vandenberghe, Katrien Deblauwer, Sarah Eechaut, Elke Boon, Dirk Braeckman, Jeff Wall, ....

How did you start with photography?

At 14, I found an analog camera from my mother, and I started photographing myself and my friends. I was so passionate about it that I studied photography at KASK. Now I teach at DKO (part-time art education) and I’m working on personal projects.

What is your goal?

Finding a balance between family, photography and teaching.

What is your creative process?

I work very eclectic: with different digital and analog cameras, in color or black and white. The feel of the print is of great importance to me. Finding the right paper and finishing is an essential part: it adds value to my work.

Do you have a dream destination?

I’m drawn to unspoiled nature: mountains and water keep returning in my work. But what surrounds me close to home also serves as an inspiration. I often start from images in my head, that transform during the process.

What are your plans for the future?

I love to exhibit. How to combine images, how they impact each other, how they work in a certain space, … I have a few exhibitions planned for the near future.

I recently printed my first photo book ‘struggle strangle struck’ and I want to make another one. I think that’s funny, because it’s such a complex process, but it got me in a way!

I’m also fascinated by graphic printing techniques. I really want to use them in a future series.

Do you have a motto?

Photography is kind of therapeutic for me. I strongly believe being creative is good for you.

I love the philosophy of Dutch artist herman de vries: without change, there’s no chance. In 2018, I participated in a master class with Paul Kooiker. The exhibit eight of us organized afterwards was titled ‘chance & change’.

What is your biggest enemy?

Time. I need time to create: developing a series requires a process. There are still things waiting, but I also have a family and I teach.

What piece of art has made a lasting impression?

A work from Dirk Braeckman I once saw in Museum M (Leuven): a very big print on super thin paper. I also look for this fragility in my work and prints.

 
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Loes Deckers (loesdier), illustrator

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Where do you draw inspiration from?

Various things inspire me: daily life, watching tv, endlessly scrolling through Instagram, people watching, or just figures that are hanging around in my head.

When I was studying, I created my work around ‘the world inside my head’. I mostly draw from memory; only when I’m looking for a specific pose or when I need inspiration, I look at —sometimes very ridiculous— stock photos. I would never ever copy from another artist, but looking at other people’s work gets the creative juices flowing. And mostly, just starting to draw works the best. If I don’t know what I’m making, which I almost never do when I make my own work, I just start drawing a line and it will grow into a drawing. Whether it’s good or not, I never know at the start.

How did you start illustrating, and how did your work evolve since then?

I started developing my own style when I was studying Textile Design at Sint-Lucas in Ghent. Like every creative person ever, I have always been drawing, but it was mostly very true to nature. I painted like I was taught in secondary school, where I also studied art.

I used it for pattern and print, and eventually I was making installations that consisted of drawings, textile pieces, tape, picture frames etc ... That’s where I realised drawing was the common thread running through my work. When I graduated, it was the drawing that stuck with me, and developed.

Now I’m drawing digitally and analog, making murals and postcards, live drawing at events (contact me!), … I’ve also picked up printmaking (screen print, lino).

I believe my work hasn’t drastically changed since I started; it just evolved. I have a more distinct style now, but still love my earlier work. Maybe it became more professional, but in any case, more free.

What is your motto?

Everything will be okay, one way or the other. I know that even when life or work get’s you down, in someway this will help you. And even if it doesn’t, it will always be okay in the end.

What message / feeling do you want your work to evoke?

I just want people to smile when they see my work. In my installations, I add little words and sentences to the drawings, as if the work is talking to the viewer. But even when I don’t, I want my work to address the viewer, and have a little conversation with them in their own head.

Whose work is hanging on your walls?

I don’t have the budget to buy the art I would want, but I have some smaller prints (and a lot of books) from David Shrigley, Matisse (postcards & book) and the Bouroullec brothers. I also have prints from illustration artists I like, for example Lieke van der Vorst, Charlotte Dumortier, Tove Jansson, Henn Kim. And my own work takes up some space as well.

What is your biggest enemy?

Money and time. I’m really good at procrastination. I always seem to be short on funds to do what I want done at that exact moment (instead of planning and saving). If I have an abundance of time, I just make little to-do notes on yellow post-its instead of actually acting on them. But when I’m nearing a deadline I can do much more then I ever saw possible when making these sticky to-do notes.

What is the best advice you received?

Just keep drawing. Nothing too difficult, but everything I do starts with a drawing. Whenever I’m down or feel insecure about work or life, I remind myself to keep drawing. Because that’s what drives me, what I’m passionate about.

What makes you excited about the future?

My goal is to be able to have my own little illustration studio, and be able to live from my creative work. But that’s more like a dream, I still have a long way to go.

 
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Maarten Deckers, graphic designer

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Where do you draw inspiration from?

I’m trained as a graphic designer so I’m heavily influenced by visual communication and typography. Most of my inspiration comes from looking at arts and crafts and from travelling to cities like London and Berlin. I try to soak in as much as I can and allow it to resurface. Looking at this series of abstract prints it’s obvious that the work of Jean Arp left a mark.

Which three words can describe your work?

Abstract. Colourful. Composed.

How does your creative process work?

I hardly ever start with an end result in mind. But I do set some boundaries, creativity needs constraints. At the beginning of my process I allow for influences and coincidences to take over and give me a starting point. From there on I gradually start reshaping, rearranging and recolouring until I find the right balance and individuality. I very much depend on feeling. There’s rarely a message involved.

When do you make your best work?

When I let go of expectations and start zooming in on details that are right in front of me.

How did this series of screen prints come about?

By zooming in on pieces of 3D animal models. The kind you can build by simply popping out cardboard pieces and sliding them into each other until you end up with a 3D model of an animal (like a giraffe or elephant). I redrew some of those pieces on a large scale and added drawings of pebbles. Some of them I filled with a pattern. I kept moving them around and recolouring them until I ended up with a series of compositions that I screen printed by hand. I put a lot of effort into mixing the colour inks, often using fluorescent undertones to make them more unique.

What is some of the best advice you have ever received?

“Creativity and ego cannot go together. If you free yourself of the comparing and jealous mind, your creativity opens up endlessly. Art is not a product of the ego but a result of being open to inspiration.“ I came across this piece of wisdom on two separate occasions: in an article about a Japanese potter and in a documentary about a Korean buddhist chef. Needless to say I have great respect for crafts and a buddhist mindset.

What is your greatest enemy?

Perfectionism. Too much of it can really ruin the fun.

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Catherine Lemblé (°1990), photographer

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Who are your examples?

American pioniers of colour photography such as Stephen Shore, New Topographics photographers like Ansel Adams and the lyrical documentary photography of Alec Soth.

How did you start with photography?

With the start of digital photography, I started to snapshot everything with my mom's first digital compact camera. On travels; in and around the house. I found it fascinating to see the world around me with new eyes. At seventeen, I bought my first (and so far last) digital camera. When I got an analog camera from my uncle, I picked up analog photography lessons at night. The next year, I started studying Photography at Sint-Lukas in Brussels.

What is your motto?

Focus on the doughnut, not on the hole.

Which photos are on your walls at home?

Photos of Géraldine Van Wessem, Sarah Hermans, Geert Goiris,… 

What camera do you prefer for what type of work, and why?

I like to photograph amidst the peace and quiet I find in nature. The proces of photographing with an analog camera is well fitting. I can only make fifteen images per roll, so I have to make choices.

I like to think about the best framing and I usually don’t make more than one or two pictures of something. It’s an exiting process, because instead of seeing the immediate result on a screen, you have to wait until the film has been developed.

This way of photographing is very fitting for the theme that keeps coming back in my work: the mountains; a world in which time seems to stand still or rather, where different rhythms apply. It’s a step back in time.

The physical aspect of the negative appeals to me. Negatives are stored in a cabinet, I cannot loose them when I forget to back up. The last few years, I choose medium sized over miniature camera because the photos hold more detail.

What is your biggest fear or enemy?

That we keep on destroying our earth. The melting of the arctic ice, the extinction of species, …

You’ve recently moved from Ghent to Brussels. Does that influence your work?

Hardly. I don’t get triggered to photograph in (Flemish) cities.

The former industrial city in which I grew up, did however have an influence on my work. Everything is grey and flat. When I’m in the mountains, the opposite of what I know so well, I get overwhelmed by awe. I’m surprised by the smallest details and all my senses are stimulated. 

What are you proud of?

That I find a way to do what I love.

 
 
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Bert Bossaert (°1982), photographer

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Where do you draw inspiration from?

I’ve worked in video montage for a few years. For a long time, I was inspired by movies like Paris, Texas by Wim Wenders and Koyaanisqatsi by Godfrey Reggio (with music by Philip Glass). Movies that slowly grow on you and never let you go, although you might at first not realise why. I try not to overanalyse but wrap myself in the vibe they leave behind.

I find it inspiring to hear how other artists work and think, especially when this differs from my own approach. A while back, together with eight other photographers, I took a masterclass by mentormentor with Paul Kooiker. His conceptual approach creates a fairly rigid framework, but at the same time, this enables freedom. If I ever found a second wind as a photographer, it happened in that week.

Who do you look up to?

Too many to name: Rinko Kawauchi, Michel Francois, Tine Guns, Thomas Vandenberghe, Katrin Koenning, Paul Kooiker, Wolfgang Tillmans, …

What camera do you prefer for which work and why?

I always work analog and mostly with a fixed lens of 50 mm. It doesn’t really matter what camera I hold, as long as it’s not working against me. When I see something, I need to be able to photograph it quickly, without giving it too much thought.

I worked with an Olympus OM-1 for a long time until it died. My current favorites are Nikon F3 and Mamiya 645. 

What is your dream destination?

I work instinctively, without a clear plan. I photograph as often as possible; I’ll later decide what to do with the images. It can take years before I reach for certain pictures, because they suddenly fit a certain concept.

I don’t have a dream destination, but I reach for my camera easier when the sun is shining. Not because of my nature, but because the light changes everything. Colours, shadows, … Your whole surrounding is more defined.

Which photos are displayed in your house?

Pictures by Sybren Vanoverberghe, Geert Goiris, Sarah Eechaut, Camille Picquot, Vincent Delbrouck and … a few of myself, I’m afraid.