Haven AiR is an intense collaboration with artists as passionate about the sea as we are. In this project we will be exhibiting their art and an introduce you to the person behind it. The artist in residence selects some of their finest work to be presented in our store for a limited time, used on postcards and on limited edition merchandise. Scrolling down you can get a peek into their lives, reading their answers to our questions.
Frederik (44) is an Antwerp painter. Passions range from art, painting and surfing to anything close to new wave and electronica. Other interests include Japanese culture and history, Italian, English and French vintage fashion.
He calls himself a figurative painter, more so leaning towards impressionism and realism with a touch of colourful surrealism and expressionism.
Hi Frederik, we are very happy to have you for our collaboration and expo. Can you tell us more about your passion for painting, where and when did the flame ignite?
It started from a young age, watching cartoons and getting interested in graffiti. I think skateboarding also had a big impact on me art-wise because of the diversity in advertisement campaigns I saw in the magazines I read (alien workshop, death box and toymachine for example). After that, during midterm, I really got into graffiti and was drawing a lot in sketchbooks, working out ideas and eventually that got me to painting.
I must thank my mom for getting me to like painting, she dragged me from my skateboard to my first real exhibition by Belgian impressionist painter Rik Wouters. At that exhibition, a whole new world opened for me.
Who inspired you? Where along your path as an artist did you discover them?
French painters like Eduard Manet and Eugene Delacroix. Also, David Hockney and the Italian renaissance painters. I already discovered them in a quite early stage of my life through visiting museums in Paris and by school trips to Italy. They fascinate me enormously.
On the other hand, a lot of different artforms inspire me. My main source of inspiration is going through magazines. I also have a large archive of pictures collected on my phone over the years from all kinds of moments or screenshots or video stills that could work for a painting.
What is the main pleasure you get from painting - anything from before you’ve started to the moment you declare your work finished?
When I am painting, these are the moments where I am in true balance and find inner peace, although it’s a constant battle with yourself and painting can ask a lot of you mentally and physically. But it can also be very rewarding as the painting will always guide you towards a solution. For me that’s the beauty in working with oil paints, it is very organic and allows you to make mistakes and reshape structures along the way. This makes the whole process of creating so satisfying.
You’ve been looking forward to our collaboration, tell us about the stoke about making surf inspired art and the collaboration with your local surf shop.
The stoke is real! It is the second time we work together and I am very honoured to be able to show my work in the shop and share my passion for surfing in this way.
We will show around 10 paintings and a selection of about 50 drawings. We also worked on a second print together, which will be available as a long sleeve tee at the shop. Very excited about that.
Why did you choose Chinese ink as a technique for many of your works, made to be shown in the expedition?
It is funny, in the beginning Filip and I were talking about creating a couple of drawings for the t-shirt design. For that, I started working in Chinese ink. You can get a lot of work done in different tones with this medium, a little bit like aquarelle but less complicated. And from just a couple of ideas came this huge flow of drawings from normal paper size to poster size.
I was really enjoying the experiment of working with Chinese ink as you can go so many directions, almost work yogalike like the Japanese masters. It is a beautiful old technique which I respect a lot.
Now and then we recognize the pictures in the magazines we sell at Haven in your paintings. Do you see a picture and immediately know you must paint it, or do you spend hours and hours rushing through magazines to find the perfect one?
That’s right, almost all inspiration for the surf paintings came from « The Surfers Journal ». This is my favourite go-to magazine with a lot of good in-depth content and stories. It’s almost like a diary or a book.
The picture must resonate, if I see one there must be some magic connection. It could be that there are parts in the picture that I never tried out in a painting and it becomes an experimental journey, you have so many different ways to approach water and the sense of movement as an artist or a painter that it becomes a big research in what is possible and how to approach and prepare for the next painting.
You seem to be doing very great as an artist right now. I might jump to conclusions and think lockdown was a great time for your creative brain to run free. Talk about your experience and output!
Haha, thank you. Being an artist, I’m working very hard and it is an ongoing lifework. Indeed, in the lockdowns there where many moments of inner reflection, I could focus on painting and started working on my physique again.
Before the first lockdown, I was working as a bartender and that can become less of a blessing for the body once you hit 40 ;-). So, I set my mind on getting in shape for bodyboarding again and find a good balance in sports and exercises for that.
When it comes to art, during the first lockdown I was experimenting a lot with pastels, which is an interesting addition to oil painting.
As I am a classical painter I cover areas like pastel, still life, landscapes and portraits of course. Because of all the time I had during the lockdowns I also continued working on bigger paintings. Those paintings will see the light in September!
Nice to collaborate with you when the waves are absent and go surfing together when they arrive again. Have you been body boarding for a long time and is it an important part of your life?
Yes indeed. The stoke doesn’t stop when the waves aren’t there, especially with painting it is present ominously.
I tried out bodyboarding at age 16, at the côte Sauvage in France, and never stopped. All my friends are always calling me the turtle or shark bait: “Why don’t you stand up?”. But in the end, I loved it so much that I wanted to stick to it and enjoy to the fullest. I have had the chance to surf with good friends and surf really good waves over the years, for what I am very grateful.
I learned a lot of good new things and techniques during these times. It is a full body experience and an intense mind game, although it might not look that difficult in the beginning.
From the moment you want to try manoeuvres and do the fun stuff, it becomes very technical and the training next to the bodyboarding becomes as important. For example, yoga is very good for that.
The last couple of years I’m trying to practice the drop knee style, which is the hardest to learn. Hopefully I will work that out soon.
When we get back from the seaside, where are you taking us for coffee or food in (y)our hometown?
For coffee, I’d take you to Black and Yellow coffee bar at het Eilandje, Viggo’s at the Coninckplein, Coffee and Vinyl or Go Wild (Eat Dust) few houses from the Haven flagship store in the Volkstraat.
For food, Lunch would be at Lew’s (situated at the new south) as we are organizing a bimonthly art platform for young and upcoming talent there. My buddy Yves makes some awesome sandwiches and dishes all around. You can enjoy your food and coffee while having a look at some art and enjoy the sun at the same time.
For Dinner I always end up in Fons at Theaterplein where Charlotte and Thomas are serving a nice balance of classics and variations of their own. They are also distilling their own gin and rum under the name HenTho.
Bistro Estelle at ‘t Laar in Borgerhout is also a must-try. Erwin, the chef, is a surfer who I got to know at his restaurant. He was the first in Antwerp to exhibit the surf paintings, it fitted perfectly between the pictures of his own surf adventures. If you like fusion kitchen, good wines an and original approach in a nice setting make sure to go say hi.
Continuing the day in Antwerp, what places should one surely visit?
Middelheim open air museum, which now has DE NOR, an artwork by Dennis Tyfus that functions as a small art/concert house during the summer months. Further, my fingers remain crossed for the Museum of Fine Arts that will open soon!
Borgerhout is a very good place for small gallery visits, there are a lot of known ones with a strong program.
Antwerp has a lot of hidden beauties which you can find just by walking around, even after living here for such a long time remains an adventure: the search is yours!
Come and visit the expo in our Antwerp flagship store until the 10th of August. Expo opening in Knokke 12th of August.