Posted by Nate Williams
Pieter Van Eenoge was born in 1976 in Bruges, Belgium, but did spent his childhood in Cologne, Germany.
In 1999 he graduated from the Sint-Lucas school for Arts and Science in Ghent and started as an independent illustrator a year later.
Since then he has made illustrations for magazines, editors, theatre, posters and advertising and took part in numerous exhibitions.
In 2011 he published his first children’s book, did the poster for the biggest book fair in Europe and saw some illustrations being published in 200 Best Illustrator’s Worldwide 11/12, Fresh #3 – Cutting Edge Illustration and the 3X3 Illustration Annual where he won gold in the Gallery section and 2 more merits (Editorial and Children’s section).
Pieter now lives in Bruges with his wife, two sons and two cats.
How did you get into illustration?
I studied graphic design at the Sint-Lucas school for Arts and Science in Ghent. In my senior year I switched to illustration because I wasn’t a hot shot at this graphic design thing. But to be honest I wasn’t the best illustrator as well and it took me quite some time to find out how to become a better one. It wasn’t until 2007, when I switched from a more comic driven style to painting, that I could translate the idea in my head to the image on my piece of paper. That whole switch is probably the most important step in my career so far, otherwise I still would be the same lousy and insecure illustrator I was back then.
What other types of jobs have you had?
After graduation I worked 3 years as a graphic designer in 2 design studios. My dad wanted me to, and I couldn’t see a way to make a living as an illustrator. In the end it took me a lot of will power to get me out of the bed, I really hated the job. So in 2003 I quit and became a full time illustrator.
As we move from print to digital how do you think illustration will evolve?
Do we really move from print to digital? I see it more as an expansion, so I don’t think It’s going to make a big difference. There have always been images in the past and there always will be in the future. As long as you can digitize the illustration, you can use it everywhere, but I believe there will be a lot more animation, so if you have the skills, the future is yours!
What is your favorite type of commercial project and why?
I don’t have a favorite really, as long as the jobs keep coming. I prefer a bit of diversity though: one day an editorial illustration, the next 5 months a children’s book and in between a large painting and maybe a postcard. But I would like to have a stronger position in the international market. I’m working mainly for Belgian clients and once in a while for a magazine or company in Holland or the UK. A phone call from New York or Paris would be nice
Is your work more conceptual or decorative?
For now it’s definitely conceptual. I just can’t draw or paint a person, animal or thing without it doing something meaningful. But I love decorative illustration as well and I believe it’s going to play a bigger role in my work in the future.
Do you have an art rep? Why or why not?
I used to have 2: one In the UK and one in Belgium. I left them both early 2011 because the last 2 years I didn’t get a single job. Blame it on the recession Now I have a rep in Holland, Shop Around, and I’m still looking for a rep in the UK and/or US. I’m terrible in promoting myself, so I could use a little help
Please describe a typical day
I try to get up around 7 o’clock, but I’m more a 7.30 kinda guy.
Then there’s a lot of showering, eating and shouting to get a 4 and 6 year old in school and by the time it’s 9, I’m behind the computer reading mails, looking for some nice tunes and working my way through a load of blogs to fill the digital mood board.
At 9.30 I start sketching, drawing or painting, depending on the job of the day.
Around 5 or 6 pm it’s family time again and when the kids are asleep I try to do some more work, take a run around the block or do something useful like cleaning up the pile of toys in the living room, building a piece of furniture or watching a movie…
What is your working environment like?
I work on the top floor of our 1930′s house, which was a real sh*thole when we bought it several years ago.
There’s still some fixing up to do, like painting doors and windows, but it’s the cosiest room in the house: warm in the winter and even warmer in the summer. Best part is that the room is next to the bedroom, so if I have a great idea at night, I can pop out of bed and make a quick drawing. The only thing missing is a tap and a sink, but running for clean water all the way downstairs keeps me in shape.
Who are some of your favorite illustrators and why?
Nowadays I’m completely into Belgian expressionist painters from the 20′s and 30′s like Jean Brusselmans and Gust De Smet, but I could make a list of dozens of artists that have influenced me in the last 10 years so here is a small selection:
- Richard Mcguire
- Blexbolex and François Avril for their shapes,
- Martin Jarrie
- Tom Schamp
- Olaf Hajek and Carll Cneut for their skills in painting
- Lorenzo Mattotti
- Brian Cronin
- Vivienne Flesher and Jeffrey Fisher because they are simply amazing.
- And I don’t want to forget Erik Mark Sandberg from who I still can’t figure out how he makes his art!
What is something new you have noticed or learned recently?
Although I’m 35, according to the person selling the tickets in the museum I last visited I look 26. Entry fee: 1 euro instead of 9
Top 5 favorite things in life:
- My wife being beautiful and hilarious (not at the same time, or… why not)
- my kids growing up
- songs cutting through bones
- playing the drums
Top 5 bands/singers:
I have a favorite band for every decade since the 70′s, but also a favorite song that comes with it:
- Genesis (“Back in NYC” – 70′s – I know, I know, some people will hate me for this, but it’s a guilty pleasure)
- The Police (“Synchronicity I” – 80′s – best band ever, until I saw them play in Amsterdam in 2007 )
- A Minor Forest (“So Jesus was at the last supper…” 90′s – they invite you for dinner and then serve you roadside kill )
- My Morning Jacket (“I needed it most” – 00′s – The god of reverb )
- Bon Iver (“Holocene” – 10′s – A lot of new and exciting bands nowadays, but this one is my favorite so far)
- And since I’m a drummer, Trans Am and Lightning Bolt!
Can you suggest 3 artists or illustrators we should check out?