zondag 1 september 2013

Paul Van Hoeydonck

About four or five years ago, I was told about a Belgian artist who was the only artist in the world who had his art displayed on the moon?!
Needles to say I was impressed and more so intrigued by who this amazing person could be!
Over the years I began to read about him and discovered that he was mostly a self made man, this might not be very impressive to you all, but for me it gave the whole concept much more meaning.
He studied History of the art and majored in it, but never finished art school, he actually started art school but wasn't satisfied with the teacher telling him what to do.
He believes that as a teacher you need to be able to sparkle the students interest so they can develop there own personal sense of direction, not trying to push a student in a direction you as a teacher think is the right direction, or as Picasso once said,  "Everything You can imagine is real"
Clearly a big mistake on the teachers behalf because Paul left and started to do what he liked doing, creating art without any pushing in any direction from anyone!
A very important development in the life of an artist, find your own way looking at things.
In a way I could feel his pain as I have met my very own mind numbing people who always seem to know better what is good for you.
In the 60s, 70s and 80s Paul was one of the most famous artist in Belgium with some really nice exhibits across the land.

The last 20 years for various reasons it became silent around him, when spoken about the subject Paul Van Hoeydonck http://paulvanhoeydonck.com/ as such, he became not more than a small footnote that after a while was forgotten all together, and if possible not even mentioned at all.

Paul on the other hand kept on working, and showed it to people who were interested to see it, all over the world.

In Belgium however people forgot to mention him not realising that he became bigger and bigger in almost every country but Belgium!
I tried to locate him and thought for a few years that he lived in Deurne a suburb of Antwerp, but never found the courage to contact him!
Once I did call him up and heard a young mans voice saying his name and I soon realised this couldn't have been the same person, as Paul Van Hoeydonck had to be in he's 80s by now!
So I started to look him up again on the internet and found he lived in Wijnegem, actually right around my corner.

Because the respectable age of the artist these days he had a secretary doing most of his "other stuff" so Paul could concentrate on his work, what he is still doing today by the way, as you can see.

I contacted Dirk Fret who arranges his agenda and I told him I really wanted to take pictures of Paul if this was even remotely possible?
I send him my website so he could see if it was a style he liked or not, and that I had been taking pictures before.
A few weeks turned into months and two weeks ago he contacted me asking me if we could arrange something this last week.
I went to Paul Van Hoeydonck's house and found a somewhat older house that from the outside could never reveal the Artist inside.
So I met him after all these years, and the man is still my hero today even more so because I had no idea that he created so many things over the years, his house is a small factory filled with treasures behind every corner.
On one of his walls a plastic case with picture inside and an actual little aluminium man or "fallen astronaut" as the world knows it.

Needles to say I was very impressed, so many things I saw that carry so much history and beautiful peaces of art and some I didn't understand but probably made very much sense to the artist for sure.
This is my humble homage to the artist as I think we are all to blame if he is not known in Belgium for the art he creates still today.
I am contemplating to buy a peace of his art, mind you not because of the investment value.
But a memory to a Nice man who made me realise that working hard for what you believe in, makes you believe it yourself most of all, and this is the most important input you can generate, because you become your own generator for your own creations, and if you,  by all people don't believe in what you are doing than how can you expect others to understand or even like whatever it is that you do.
He had to fight so may years to get recognition in Belgium, since 40 years ago his little friend arrived on the moon with can only be described as the most expensive art transport ever accomplished in the world today, or as I would like to say a very small statue but a giant leap for mankind ;-)

Ohhh let people laugh…I’m on the moon!
Paul Van Hoeydonck