Graffix at DEStudio
In the last weekend of November art valhalla DEStudio is the place to be for anyone who loves graphic art. We had a chat with Eva Cardon, better known as Ephameron, a fantastic illustrator and founder of Grafixx.
What exactly is Grafixx?
Grafixx is a graphic art festival that started very small-scaled with a curated zine fest in 2012. We did not have a commercial goal, we only wanted to give artists an opportunity to expose and sell their work. The zine fest was a big success and a unique event in Flanders. As a result DEStudio asked us to create a festival in a weekend at their location with exhibitions and lectures, which was the start of Grafixx. In the second edition we added workshops and animation films to the program. An extraordinary aspect to our festival is that in the evening a musician and a graphic artist come together to jam and create together. At the exhibition space you can actually have a chat with the artists and buy their work.
What is special about this third edition of Grafixx?
The festival expanded and now also offers an evening program on Friday. If you take the weekend ticket, you are not only getting a big discount but also a tote bag and a portfolio with 20 drawings from artists from the last editions. The musical and visual art performances have become real shows in which the musician and the graphic artist inspire each other. It will be more interactive than last year. We are expecting a huge edition this year, since the number of attendants on Facebook alone has risen massively compared to the previous Grafixx.
The atmosphere is also very informal: you do not have to book your seat at the lectures or workshops; you can just walk in as long as there is room left. We have moved the lectures to a bigger hall, so you do not have to worry that the 200 chairs will be filled too quickly. The animation films have been relocated to a beautiful room upstairs where the atmosphere is perfect.
Of which artists are you proud to have them on the program?
Our musical headliner is Mauro Pawlowski from dEUS who will put a show together with Gerda Dendooven, who is well-known for her illustrations for children’s books. At the exhibition are a couple of big names such as Michelangelo Setola and the French Frédéric Fleury. I am also very glad to have Dominique Goblet and Anke Feuchtenberger at our lectures. Museum’s Press told us the previous two editions that they were too busy, but now they are finally giving a workshop at Grafixx about how to make your own zine. They contacted 100 artists for material to put in your DIY zine, so the result will be priceless.
I am very excited about the whole edition this year and especially about my own drawing performance on Friday. I am rehearsing with Colin van Eeckhout from the metal band Amenra. Most people know us from our separate work since our styles differ so much. Yet, the combination of his music and my drawing will be an interesting mix of hard and soft. I am not very familiar with the music scene, luckily DEStudio has a good reputation so even established bands immediately sign up to play here. It is a great relief when you get such an enthusiastic reaction from a talented musician such as Mauro. Of course, we do offer him a unique opportunity to work together with an illustrator.
How do you feel about DEStudio?
It is a great location that is situated centrally in Antwerp. The biggest advantage for me is that it can be used in so many different ways. My workspace is here so I know the building inside out, but when there is an event the whole space transforms. The rooms are so versatile that Grafixx looks entirely unique compared to any other festival that is organized at De Studio. Almost like a parallel world.
Is the graphic art scene very alive in Antwerp?
I teach at Sint-Lukas and there certainly are a lot of talented students who pursue a career in graphic art. The exhibitions at Kornél that are organised by Huis Haas are also focused on illustrations. I do hope that more people start to arrange group expositions and think about new ways to show their art. My students have organised an exhibition at Kievitsnest for which they made new artwork. It is great to see that ideas and art spread.
Do you have any advice for people who want to be featured on Grafixx?
This year we have the Tekenmachine (‘drawing machine’) that consists of well-known artists and newcomers who will draw at the festival. If you are interested, there might still be an opening to join the crew. Next year we will find out how we can incorporate more young artists in Grafixx. Since it is a curated festival, we make our own selection of international artists’ drawings and zines. We have consciously decided to not feature any artist from the last editions so we could give new people a chance.
A last tip: we are looking for an intern for next year, so students are welcome to send in their application to help us organize a competition for young talent!
Grafixx, 28-30 November 2014
Maarschalk Gerardstraat 4
Tickets €7/half day or €20 for the whole weekend
Text by Tine Van den Poel De Clippeleire
Pics by Ward Zwart, Stephanie Simpson and Sven Van Baarle