Auteurs : Ambre - Boris Bukulin - Joseph Callioni - François Fléché - Thomas Gosselin - Pierrick Gui - François Henninger - Maarten de Man - Pierre Marty - Lucas Méthé - Miroslav Sekulic-Struja - Lucas Taïeb - Vincent Vanoli...

samedi 7 décembre 2019

Interview with Maarten de Man, november 2019

I was very happy to put your drawings in Tchouc-Tchouc. But we don’t know each other in real life, and I can’t really imagine how old you are. Are you making drawings and comics for a long time ?

I was a very unhappy teenager until I found out that I loved drawing.
That was 1974... and here I am 2019 still drawing, of course quite a lot happened in between.
My first inspirations were indeed comic books, record covers, science fiction movies etc.
I remember listening to bands like Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream while dreaming away, dreaming up a world I tried to draw.


A few years later, admitted to the Art-academy this fantasyworld collapsed, my musical taste shifted from symphonic bands like Pink Floyd to Punk and New Wave and all my ambition went into discovering more about art.
I started to paint very ‘wild and expressive’, quite the opposite of what I had done before.

After I had left the  Art-academy I struggled to make a living as an artist with varying succes.
My dreamy teenage fantasy drawings were a thing of the past, forgotten in some drawer where my parents still kept them.

Years later, when emptying the house after my parents death, I found them back.
Things had not gone so well, confused I concluded those old drawings now meant more to me than all that ambitious artwork that had followed it.
I had tried to be a professional artist and found I had lost myself in the proces...

Somehow this became a turningpoint, I stopped seeing myself as an artist.
I started working in a hospital, followed courses, became a nurse, worked very hard for many years. Slowly I started drawing again...

The drawings I post on Tumblr are from that period until recent.
The work from before that period I don’t feel related to anymore.
So here I am 61 trying not to lose that 16 year old boy again. (I like the numbers.)

Have you ever published in Netherlands ? Or maybe self-published ?

I am no good as a publisher...made a few books but only 5 or 10 copies, never really published them.

Are you sometimes, or maybe always, working on “complete” stories ? The panels that we can see on your website, are they a part of long stories ? Or a part from comics that exist only in imagination ?

A complete story, that something I still dream about...
Sometimes I see all my attemps as one giant puzzle with which I struggle.
It’s incomplete, unfinished, I feel like I am stuck in some pre-production phase, still trying to figure out what my concepts are.

Don’t you like it to be this way ?

Maybe I have accepted my lostness, my drawings no more than just some souvenirs from all my wanderings...

There is a mood of dream in your work, something that is very sweet. Do you recognize yourself in this universe ? Would you like to live in your landscapes, maybe with the animals that you draw ?

I tend to have a passive, contemplating way of looking at things.
The way I approach drawing it seems more like I am ‘exploring’ a world than actually creating it.
Of course I still try to be the Director but nobody listens to me.
For the most that world and the figures in it seem to make up their own rules.
Well, very nice then, have it your way...
It remains a vague, fickle world.
It takes great effort to make it a bit more substantial, wondering if that makes it any better.
But yes, I do recognize myself in it, very much.

How is it to live in Hertogenbosch (Bois-le-Duc) ?

It’s a historic town, you know, home-town of the famous painter from the Middle Ages. *
It’s under an anoying perpetual construction and reconstruction.
If you just leave the houses where they are you don’t have to dig them up later on - that’s my opinion.
So, the municipality of Bois le Duc and me we go our separate ways...

* Jérôme Bosch lived in Bois-le-Duc.

Do you enjoy some other drawers or comics ? Maybe some comics from Netherlands ? Maybe some old stuff ?

My neighbors have dogs, when they walk their dog I tell them I walk my ‘inner dog’.
I also have no kids but try to raise my ‘inner kid’, quite problematic.
My inner kid has a taste in comics I am not always able to follow.
I hope for the best when he gets a little older and wiser.

Anyway, about five years ago my interest in comics began to grow again, my comic collection began to expand, slowly conquering shelf after shelf, (where is it going to end...)
I feel that I can learn a lot from what I have collected so far.
It changed my attitude towards drawing, it made me aware of the fact that I lacked a lot of skills - so - back to school.
I think Fred’s Philemon was what it all started again, soon followed by whatever I came across.
All very much in what I might call the Sci-Fi Fantasy department...

Comics from the Netherlands... I am a fan of Marten Toonder, a great storyteller.
He was a big name in the Netherlands, died in 2005, now a bit forgotten.
Wonder if you ever heard of him.
Of course I should mention Tobias Schalken, my friend and fellow townsman, I understand he is already  following you on Tumblr.

On your tumblr we can see some beautiful paintings...
Painting... it seems I am slowly picking it up again, not really sure what to think of it yet...

What does Phantatura mean ?
Phantatura... or Phantatura Station... I asked Kluh the Chronicler, who is a kind of know it all in my stories. He says it’s a refuge, a little cabin in the desert, very hard to find... but I shouldn’t be telling you that because that’s secret information!
‘It’s not down in any map; true places never are.’ (Herman Melville)

> More drawings and comics in Tchouc-Tchouc n°7

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