Clément Jacques-Vossen is a Belgian contemporary artist living and working in Brussels.
Clément loves history and contemporary fantasies (Lord of the Ring, Game of Thrones, …), In his work you find historical figures and historical events melting together with contemporary culture.
In his small works he uses the method of marouflage on wood. Marouflage is a technique for affixing a painted canvas to a wall, (in the case of Clément on wood) using an adhesive that hardens when it dries such as plaster or cement.
Your artwork is either grey or very colorful. In which part of your creative process do you decide what it's going to be?
At first, I painted the big formats only in black and white, now its changing color is emerging. It took me a while to start white colors.
I love to paint with black ink and water on paper, and it was logical for me to do the same on canvas, but with acrylic paint.
Also, Guernica had a great impact on me.
When viewing it, I saw all the possibilities of black and white paintings. But now I us a mix of both. They are no rules, it is how I feel it.
Were your parents supportive when it became clear that you wanted to be an artist?
Not really… they don’t know a lot about contemporary art. It’s also difficult for them to judge the works of their child when he is young.
It was clear for me at a very young age that painting will be my life.
But I did have a lot of support from my grandfather. He made me see a lot of different style of paintings.
How strong an influence, was your surrounding on you?
My surrounding was very important on me. The artists that inspire me the most today are artists that I saw when I was very young.
For example: Walter Swennen, Pierre Alechinsky, Lionel Vinche, etc.
Still to this day I look to their works. My taste was very influenced by my grandfather again.
It’s with him that I discovered all those amusing artists. I think the Belgian art history also has a big influence on my work.
Other Belgian artists like James Ensor or Pieter Bruegel the Elder, that I discovered in museums around the country, had also big impacts on me.
And the idea that you need to work hard and be passioned about your work, is also something I got from my surrounding.
Would you have become an art historian if you weren't an artist? Are you already both? Do they go hand in hand, or do you separate them from one another?
I have a big passion for history and art history. But I realized that my true nature was making stuff. I like to learn but also, I need to create.
The problem with studying was that it asks for a lot of time and attention.
It was difficult for me to study art history and making paintings. To study or to make paintings you need to focus 100% on it. It was not possible for me to do both.
It’s why I decide to focus everything on my paintings and leave the studies behind. Also, I didn’t have the ambition to become an art historian.
Where do you work? What time of day? Do you listen to music when you work? If so, what kind of music do you listen to? or do you prefer silence?
At the moment I work in a basement at the Sablon in Brussels. The Sablon is the place in Brussels where you have all the antique shops and museums. It’s nice to go there and to see al those artworks live.
I work the best at night when everybody is sleeping and the city is quiet. But yes, I simultaneously listen to a lot of music.
My music genre is very large, it goes from heavy metal to classical music and techno.
I think you can find my Spotify playlist online, it’s call ‘Best of Clem’. At the moment I noticed that music is taking more and more ground in my work. References are creeping in.
Some titles of my paintings are song titles. And I need the music to create a good trance, so that I can focus on my work.
What would your ideal studio look like?
Something else than a cave… A big open space surrounded by nature seems nice.
What keywords describe you and your work best?
Mysterious, playful, Belgitude, old fashioned, independent, …
If you could choose a museum to hang your work in, which one would it be?
Any good museum will do. But I’d really like the Fine Arts Museum of Belgium, the Louvre or the Metropolitan museum of New York.
In the Met they have a very nice collection of mediaeval artifacts. I take a lot of inspiration out of there collection.
A big thank you to the very gifted Clément for kindly sharing his works and his story with us.