My name is Joachim Lambrechts, born in Antwerp (Belgium), where I also work and live with my girlfriend. I’m not married but I do have a daughter (from a previous relationship). I also have a cat who’s living the good life. Much can be said about art. Defining it is almost impossible but I’m convinced it’s essential. Not just for me, but for everyone.
PIECE WITH ARTIST
JAN 29, 2021. ANTWERP. BELGIUM.
Tell us your story, how did you come to painting?
I've been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. It's something that has actually always been there. No doubt I also owe a lot to my grandmother, who was also very fond of art and went to the academy herself. She has always encouraged me to be creative myself. In elementary school, I found that I could draw better than most of my classmates. Then I started to realize that I might have a talent for it. But it may have been the only thing I could use to distinguish myself from the rest.
I actually scored below average for the majority of the other subjects, which actually made me quite insecure. I think the urge to be good at something has always motivated me even more to choose art. In secondary school I therefore started studying art at the academy of Antwerp, which was actually a logical choice. But after three years I left without ever graduating. The years that followed were very turbulent and unstable.
I also became a father at a very young age, so suddenly I was given responsibility and had to start making money. I have done many jobs, mainly in factories and warehouses. One after another, year after year! I felt like I was stuck and it made me very unhappy. But it also motivated me to change my life. I knew I had two choices. Either I would do factory work all my life, or I would opt for art! I chose the second ...
How would you define your current painting?
I just finished a series of paintings for my new show 'Allegro' which is currently running at 'Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery' in Berlin. So at the moment I am not painting. A little break you could say. After working so intensively (I think I painted non-stop for about three months), it's necessary to take some distance and find new energy.
So it's difficult to answer this question. What I can say is that my latest series is all about music. 'Allegro', the name of the exhibition comes from the Italian music term 'Allegro' and means a 'fast,' cheerful 'or' lively 'piece of music. The tittle not only describes my creative process but also provides a lens through which to interpret these works. They are all paintings that in one way or another have to do with music and portray individuality, laughter, storytelling, creativity and wonder. I have no idea what theme I'm going to work on for my next series, but I'm looking forward to start painting again!
Tell us about your style and technique. Any secret that can be told?
My style can best be described as naive and childlike. That's the atmosphere in which I try to work. I always try to paint a recognizable image that gives the impression that it hasn't been thought about for too long. It has to come about very spontaneously. Almost like a child would make drawings or paintings if you know what I mean. It's actually quite funny because when I was a kid myself I always wanted to be able to draw like an adult, but now that I'm an adult I try to paint like a child. Everything has to do with my state of mind.
Sometimes I manage to move myself into a zone where I don't think but just paint impulsively. But then the next moment I overthink everything I'm doing and then I don't believe myself anymore. Then it happens that I destroy everything I was working on and start all over again. In a way it's a struggle. But that struggle is actually very important. In fact, I have the impression that my best paintings are those with which I have struggled the most.
How do you usually start your paintings? With a sketch, a draft or is it just an improvisation?
I never make preliminary studie. That doesn't really work for me. Like I said I always try to work as spontaneously as possible. Of course I sometimes have an idea or a theme that I want to work with, But I always just start painting without knowing where I will end. I don't want to just have to repeat a few steps to get to a finished result, then I lose interest. I think it is important that it continues to surprise me. That's what I like the most about it.
What are your motivation forces? And the artists who have been and are an influence for you? Artists that influence me, probably too many to list. And every day, through social media, I discover new ones. And as far as my motivation is concerned, it’s actually quite simple. There is nothing I like more than this, so it's not difficult to find motivation in that area. Of course it's not an obvious career choice and once you take the step to become a full-time artist, it is not easy to find your way. It’s trial and error. Again and again. That's part of the deal, but can also be very frustrating. Then it’s indeed sometimes difficult to persevere. Perhaps my biggest motivation is the urge to get better. My work is evolving all the time, so I am very curious about what my work will look like in 10 or 20 years from now. If I want to know that I must of course continue to paint. Apart from that, there is simply no plan B.
What can you tell us about your studio, what kind of place is it?
I actually just moved to a new studio. so everything still has to unfold a bit, if you know what I mean. But as soon as I start painting again, that happens automatically. It may be a bit of a boring answer, but for me a studio has to be practical in the first place. It's the place where I work. To other people it can sometimes seem chaotic. Especially when I'm in the middle of making a new series, it can seem like a bomb has exploded. But in the middle of all that chaos there is a certain structure. Order in chaos basically. For me, my studio is also the place where I can escape the hectic city life, so I always try to furnish it a bit nicely. It is my own safe cocoon and I love to be there more than anywhere.
What is art for you?
In one word: Essential.