Taking over yet again the charming historical premises of DE Studio, previously the home to a bank, a hotel and a theatre school, the graphic art and illustration festival Grafixx is an “ode to paper and print”, bringing forward rising artists and international heavyweights. Set in motion by the cultural association Villanella and Huis Haas ― an Antwerp–based platform for publications and exhibitions by young illustrators and graphic artists, Grafixx offers a weekend fueled by a variety of happenings.
Opening with a discussion “The Future of Graphic Storytelling” by art and print connoisseurs on Friday eve, the lecture series welcomes celebrated names, young talent and passionate experts, inviting visitors to take a peek over the illustrator’s shoulder, look into the making of a graphic novel and even spend a day in the life of an independent publisher. Among the speakers is the famous Belgian illustrator Ever Meulen, giving a tour through his aerodynamic illustration career, the renowned expert of “Ligne Claire” Jan Van Der Veken, elaborating on his most interesting commissions for Wall Street Journal, Wired Magazine and Esquire among others, the influential Italian visual storyteller Lorenzo Mattotti on his most prestigious commissions for Vanity Fair, the Cannes Film Festival, Wong Kar Wai and others, the Norwegian illustrator Bendik Kaltenborn, known for commissions for the Norwegian musician Todd Terje and magazines like The New Yorker and New York Times, the eclectic German comics phenomenon Henning Wagenbreth, talking about his impressive art practice and Tommi Musturi from Huuda Huuda, shedding a light on the challenging comics publishing industry in Finland.
A cartload of precious printed goods will be on show and on sale at the Zine Fest, presenting a bold curated selection of graphic novels, comics, handmade zines, freshly printed posters and postcards, as well as booths by international independent publishers and collectives that will personally introduce their work. Apart from the focus on print and paper, Grafixx has selected a collection of innovative and witty animation films, and offers hands–on workshops with illustrators and graphic designers Nous Vous from London, the Dutch print collective Knust and Belgian illustrator Martha Verschaffel.
Amanda Vahamaki
In addition to all this, nine artists are given free rein to unleash their personal vision and the limitless possibilities of illustration and graphic art on DE Studio, turning its facade and rooms into unique art pieces, sets and installations. But at night four artist–musician duos will serve an audiovisual trip with unexpected turns.
Jan Van Der Veken
Lorenzo Mattotti, New Yorker
Nicolas Burrows