Creative inspiration: James Ensor
While sketching, grubbing, and searching the right lines for this work, I noticed the skulls and skeletons were finding their way again into my work, and perhaps it was the Flemish song playing in the background that triggered some memories because suddenly I was back at an exhibition that I visited maybe 20 years ago together with my grandmother. In Ostend, one of her favorite places to unwind, we went to see an exhibition of James Ensor (13/04/1860 – 19/11/1949) who has lived in that city by the coast his entire life. I remember that yes, the paintings of the sea were nice, but the masks and skulls, they had an exceptional impact, triggering curiosity.
I visited many places together with my grandmother. Too bad we didn’t make that many pictures in those days because it would certainly add to the memories. From the butterfly garden to the Royal Palace, exhibitions, or simply the beach, I’ve always been a curious person and I loved being on the road with her. I have so many small souvenirs from our trips together and I’ll cherish them forever (from exhibitions I could mostly pick a postcard or two with a print of my favorite work).
“You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with (Jim Rohn), “noted Chase Jarvis in his book Creative Calling, but he added a very interesting thought when he added that these five people should not necessarily be five real humans in your close environment, they can also be fictional or historical figures and we can absorb their legacy through books and other media.
Being not only far from my home country, but also far from cultural exposure and action (unless the scent of surströmming counts as culture), I started collecting more art books, so when thinking back to that Ensor exhibition, I decided to order this book.
“Can’t you just Google that? All the information is online, no need for books, “say some. I disagree. Sure information is easy to find, especially when you know how to find good sources but books, compared to perhaps Wikipedia or another online place, have a way to slow down the time and take you to the world of the artist and their inspirations. Away from all clickable links and distractions, we can travel through time and we can fully immerse ourselves in the history and world of others. Even in a time where all social media channels push 5-7 second video clips, I enjoy and appreciate reading a whole book about one subject- an artist, a style, an era, a thought process, … — and this also helps to not get the brain of a goldfish 🙂