Antwerp Kunst

Interview. Joachim Lambrechts

Joachim (born in 1986) is an artist from Antwerp, Belgium. In 2001 he went to art school in Antwerp but left without ever graduating. In the years that followed, he spent a lot of time experimenting with various approaches to graffiti and managed to introduce himself into the Belgian street art scene relatively quickly.

Since 2010, in addition to making murals in various European cities, painting became Joachim’s main activity. His first solo show was shown in 2014, the same year he decided to become a full-time artist. Since then, his works have been exhibited in numerous group- and solo shows both at home and abroad.

How did art come into your life?
I guess it has always been there. I’ve been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. I was very lucky with my grandmother, who also painted and had a great affinity to art. She always encouraged me to be creative. When I was with her, she often bought me small canvases and let me use her good paint and brushes. She also often took me to museums and exhibitions. I remember one day we went to see an exhibition of Pierre Alechinsky in Ostend. When I stood there in front of his artworks, a whole new world opened up to me. I think I unconsciously decided there that I also wanted to be an artist.

joachimofficial interview Antwerp
Joachim Lambrechts in his studio

How do you choose your themes and subjects?
I have already noticed that many of my topics are somehow linked to my childhood. That was clearly noticeable on my last solo show On the Spur of the Moment at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery. Many of the works there arose from memories of my childhood. For example, cowboys are a recurring theme and refer to the many and typical Western movies, that my father always watched. As a child, I didn’t like them at all, but for some reason, they have stuck in my memory and now appear in my work.

But not all topics are conscious choices. It happens that I start from an idea, but it gradually evolves into something completely different.

Sometimes I overpaint parts I don’t like. In this way, forms can arise that give me inspiration and cause me to change course. That is how my first still life came about, but since then I have made several because I find it a very interesting subject to work around.

Can you tell us about the process used to create your paintings?
Spontaneity is essential in my work. As I said above, I often let the moment guide me. Because even though a painting often starts from an idea, you will never see me making preliminary studies or sketches. That just doesn’t work for me. When I feel like I have to copy something I’ve already done, not only does the spontaneity disappear but also the joy I have while painting. If I can’t feel those two things while I work, I don’t believe myself anymore. Then I quit and start from scratch.

A good painting should radiate the feeling that it has been painted without thought.

What gives you the most joy?
My studio is always a mess. So when I have finished a new series of works, and afterward see them hanging in a gallery, or in people’s homes, where they really come into their own and stand out nicely against the wall on which they hang, that really makes me happy. I also often get messages from people who have purchased one of my works to tell me how happy they are with it. The knowledge that my paintings decorate living rooms, on basically every continent of the world, and that they are part of the everyday life of these people is really a very grateful feeling.

What item would you be lost without?
Basically all the stuff I need to paint and art in general. You could say that art has become so essential in my life that it has become a primary need. In addition, it has shaped my identity and gives meaning to my life. So if that suddenly disappeared I would lose a lot of myself. There are few other things that I attach so much importance to. Suppose art suddenly ceases to exist, then I would move to an uninhabited island and only keep myself busy with other primary needs such as water, food, shelter, etc…

What are your plans for 2020?
2020 has actually been a very productive (and important) year so far. I have decided to make fewer murals in order to fully focus on my work on canvas. I just finished my first solo show at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery in London, which was a great success, and at the end of August (also via Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery) some of my new works will be shown at Enter Art Fair in Copenhagen.

I’m also working on a new screenprint that will be released one of the following weeks in collaboration with ART-Gallery (Knokke, Belgium) and together with GraffitiStreet (a renowned urban-art gallery, based in Chichester – UK), I’m planning to release a second print somewhere by the end of this year. Apart from my work, I have the feeling that I want to take a vacation. With the Corona crisis, a proper trip abroad is rather unlikely but I think I’ll go to the Belgian Ardennes for a few days. Just to relax and while I’m there anyway, I might rent a kayak.

Joachim Lambrechts –