Antwerp on a D.A.T.E.: meet our guests (3)

  • Adrian Cano Franco #thisisantwerp
  • Sander Van Loon #thisisantwerp
  • Itay Blaish #thisisantwerp
  • Jeroen Smeets #thisisantwerp

This Is Antwerp invited 12 internationals to Discover Antwerp Through Experience, in short to go on a D.A.T.E. with Antwerp from the 3rd until the 8th of November. We’ll show them the best hidden secrets, jaunt the hottest places, survive workshops together, enjoy the finest meals and much more. But most important they will meet that one important thing that fuels Antwerp to be the dynamic city that it is today: creative people.

To get more acquainted with our guests, our own This Is Antwerp locals will gradually shine their light on them for you. We're more than happy to share their findings with you this week. Today we asked Ikram, founder of art platform Espectro vzw, to tell us more about our last four guests: Adrián Cano Franco, Sander van Loon, Itay Blaish and Jeroen Smeets.

This Is Antwerp local Ikram

Just walking around the captivating and charming scenery that is A-town, every outsider can find an endless well of inspiration. The lucky dudes/artists that get to D.A.T.E. Antwerp with its crisp autumnal air are Adrián Cano Franco, Sander van Loon, Itay Blaish and Jeroen Smeets. If you ask me, it’s the beginning of a beautiful love affair.

Adrian Cano Franco

Madrid-based Adrián Cano Franco strikes me as an outdoor type of guy whose pictures almost seem sprinkled with some fairy dust. Having the ability to portray the world in an awe-inspiring way, Adrian makes even the most homebound peeps crave for far away travel adventures. His adventure began 5 years ago on a trip to the Big Apple. As he describes himself as a nostalgic person, he felt the need to capture moments of his daily life so he wouldn't forget them. You can take a look at all of his visual memories on his website or Instagram account. I am convinced that when Adrian lays his eyes upon the Antwerp skyline, a new beautiful piece will be added to his visual diary. Fun fact, with each picture Adrian posts on his Instagram, he suggests a song that makes you grasp the mood of the moment the picture was taken. I am already wondering which song Adrian will pick out for Antwerp… Diamonds are forever by Shirley Bassey maybe? (wink wink)

Sander Van Loon

Graphical design magic is what Sander van Loon is all about. Together with his partner in crime, Merijn van Essen, he is owner of a graphic design agency based in Rotterdam called OONA. He's also one of the founding fathers of Mesh Print Club. The Mesh Print Club is a workspace where any- and everyone can get flabbergasted by the world of screenprinting. This traditional craftsmanship is more than ever hot in the Antwerp scene. I am sure Sander will have a blast discovering  a place like CTRL COPY during his stay in A-town.

Itay Blaish

Itay Blaish is what you could humbly call an art-centipede who is currently dividing his time between Tel Aviv and Zurich. Not only is he a graphic designer and visual consultant, but also occasionally contributes to the lifestyle magazine ‘Telavivian’.

As if that’s not enough action for one person, this guy is also the mastermind behind ‘La Culture’: an organization that sets up affordable art exhibitions with young and promising artists in Tel Aviv. This reminds me a lot of my own art platform Espectro. We more or less have the same intention but we also try to include music, artisanal crafts and other cool stuff. This makes me confident he will have no trouble picking up a similar inspirational art-vibe here in Antwerp. He's going to dig the Antwerp pop-up Gallery LAMART or the Street Art Gallery Artifex for sure!

Jeroen Smeets

Currently living in Copenhagen Jeroen Smeets joined forces with other creative minds in the Amsterdam-based agency YOUR:OWN to support other artists.

Jeroen is a guy who got to combine two of my favourite things in life with The Jaunt: art and travelling (yes, it does exist). The Jaunt gives artists the chance to make short trips (or jaunts) around the world. The place where they are at serves as a source of inspiration for the work they have to make during their stay (I know right, it’s jaw-dropping). The Jaunt already covered Antwerp by sending in Mike Perry (The Jaunt #9) last summer. I can't but agree, Antwerp's filled with nice people! Antwerp has a way to work its charm on you whether it’s through its mix of cultures, its people, its historic buildings or its cobbled stoned streets.


Follow their D.A.T.E. with Antwerp on Instagram (#thisisantwerp), Facebook, Twitter and ofcourse on this blog!


text by Ikram Annouri - Espectro vzw

pics by Adrian Franco, Sander Van Loon, Itay Blaish and Jeroen Smeets


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