Team Paper Snap took a trip to Belgium last September. We spent a lot of time exploring our temporary home, Brussels. We got lost, did touristy things, spent loads of money on beer and waffels, but one of the most memorable experiences was attending Belgium's main comic book creation festival called Cultures Maison.
We picked up the Cultures Maison flyer at a book store because it looked quirky and interesting. We knew that when we got back home to Johannesburg we had to work hard on a series of prints for our first exhibition, we were searching for some inspiration and this festival seemed to be exactly what we needed!
The opening night of the festival finally arrived, we jotted down the directions and headed to the nearest tram stop. We were on our way to Maison des Cultures de Saint-Gilles, which is near the Brussels-South railway station.
We had previously spent some time wandering through Saint-Gilles during our trip. It's exactly the kind of neighbourhood that we are usually drawn to. It has an artistic energy, it's gritty and the population is multicultural and diverse.
We hopped off the tram at its very last stop, which made us a little nervous! We hadn't been to this part of St-Gilles before, the buildings here are semi-derelict and we felt a little bit lost. just as we started to doubt our directions we found artsy looking people crowded outside a building. We made it!
Cultures Maison is a three day long festival dedicated to micro-publishers and self-publishers. It started out in 2010 and features Belgian and International Publishers.
Comic books, Graphic Novels and zines are abundant, but you'll also discover amazing screen printed posters, stickers and postcards. The artists and publishers proudly stand by their work and are eager to chat to you as you browse through their collections. It was mind-blowing to meet the artists, even though we can't speak French, it was still really cool to express our appreciation of their work with a nod and a smile or an excited 'thumbs up'!
Check out some of the goodies we picked up at Cultures Maison.
Dieter Vdo, the painter responsible for the 2014 poster. We just love his in-your-face style. his illustrations are wild and loads of fun, a good mixture of warped and cute.
We fell in love with the work of Rebecca Rosen. This little book is called Down in The Deps and it's all about depanneurs (corner stores) in her area, St Henri, in Montreal, Canada. The entire book is screen printed, the front cover is 2 colours, while the inner pages are 4 colour prints.
More from Rebecca Rosen. This is a screen printed self-promo postcard, she was handing them out for free, the print is all about fishing for work in Brussels. Pretty smart.
Telri couldn't resist this miniature book called Promenades by the French Illustrator, Jean-Bon. There's a tiny house on each page.
Toutou Trame, by Aurélien Débat. His prints, stamps and sculptures are truly amazing!
This little book features beautifully screen printed Miasons. Check out more of Jerome Dubois' creations here.
La brûlure des Petits Dieux by Myriam Schüssler
This Jungle scene is so cool, the artist left their initials on the back of the print and that's all we have. We really want to credit them but we have no idea who they are! I guess the mystery adds to it.
Mystery solved! the illustrator is Yannick NorY, so happy to be able to share and credit Yannick's illustrations.
We couldn't leave without grabbing two editions of Ralf and Ron Ron by Rémy Benjamin. Rémy's comics are so youthful, we love his style. I only wish we could read French.
We really miss our visit to Belgium, it not only filled our studio shelves with amazing sources of inspiration, it also filled our minds with great memories and our hearts with a desire to create!
Brussels is a city for the interested and curious. You'll be rewarded for keeping your eyes and mind open.