Artprojects for youths

When I was a child, my dream was to become a veterinary surgeon (or vet). The wicked ways of life have decided otherwise. Instead I became an artist, a sculptor.

Being the oldest son of a father-physician and a mother-painter, I was named Lucas, after the patron saint of both. My great grandfather on my father's side was blacksmith in a small village named Rotselaar. My favourite way of expressing myself is through metals. I can probably best summarise my path of life as a conglomerate of genetic factors and a wilful personality structure.

In western culture, the various artistic movements of the last decades are very strongly polarised. The avant-garde or 'contemporary art' follows the path of thought and the human brain. On the other hand, there is a traditional movement through which, in plastic arts, figurative expressions are addressed. As a result of my formation which was focused on philosophy, my work has been strongly influenced by my personal points of view. We live in an era in which the harmony of mother nature is strongly endangered. I consider it my duty to utilise my artistic talent to draw attention to this fact. Being a member of the leading culture, I therefore do not consider art to be a morally unchallenged 'spielerei'.

Creative ability is a basic ability of every human being. Five hundred years from now, the earth will be what we made her to be. Artists consider this ability to be a goal as such, whereas others use this ability mainly in order to support their main activities on a more subconscious level. To me, creative ability is inextricably entangled with other abilities like love, admiration, conscience, beauty.

Animals are a frequently recurring theme in my oeuvre, however I can hardly call myself an animalier. My educational activities, amongst others, for the Canon- culture division, and the educational department require a broader scope. Also the urge and the possibility to express myself in multiple ways are present in my personality. Hopefully this quest will never end.

Primarily my fame stems from the giant sculptures which I realised for the Gentse Feesten, Kaaitheater and The Night of The Proms since the eighties. A short summary of these is to be found on 'Who is who in Flanders since 2000', also to be consulted on the internet: .

Already in the years preceding the Canon projects, I was actively involved with schools, youth organisations, institutions for the disabled and diverse groups of adults. I developed my own vision on methodology and didactics, christalized from a diversity of experiences. When, as an artist, I am a guest in educational circles, I characterise myself as being a confrater, a teacher in creative ability, a description which should not be considered pretentious but which serves to add clarity and equilibrium on a pedagogical level.

In this lies the refreshing factor of a confrontation with people from the non-regular circuit. We are professional specialists without the qualities of lecturing pedagogists.   The main difference between a work of art and theory is to be found in the fact that a work of art forms a new entirety built up from the chaos of the elements in which this entirety is a goal as such.

Then again, the communicative power of a work of art determines its value. Theory, on the contrary, originates from an existing structure aiming at the interioralisation of knowledge as its ability. This is why I dare to compare projects of arts with mental gymnastics, or be it in a psychological sense the retraction of the capillary vessels. Staying in motion is necessary and which discipline is more pleasing than the arts which we are all captive for through creative ability!

Similar to Latin and Greek, art also can be practised in function of general education, the first two of which serve to enrich structure and hygiene; and art, which cultivates personal growth and culture. Naturally there is a multitude of different angles when referring to art. Merely describing the concept often encounters difficulties by reason of its own implications. If we already know what art is, we gradually see more expressions of art of which we rightly wonder whether or not they are still art. The difficulty is clear: is a coherent definition possible? Nevertheless, these reflections are necessary for us, educational project artists. We are frequently confronted with questions regarding this theme. The hardest being who is or who is not an artist, who is great and who is insignificant, where art stops and kitsch begins, what art is and what is not, what is contemporary, reactionary or even (insignificant, bullshit, rubbish ...) .

Personally, I choose to keep the division simple and didactic. An artist is a specialist in creative ability and he uses all his other abilities, conscious or not, in function of this. Everyone builds a hierarchy of his abilities in order to realise himself, each in his manner. In this sense, being an artist is as much of a calling as being a baker or a doctor.

The basic elements of the artist are present in every human computer, one can easily notice this with toddlers. There are colours, notes, letters, numbers and shapes which we then play with. Now we consider the difference between a creating and a performing artist, such as the composer and the musician or the writer and the actor. A creative artist stands naked in front of his material whereas for a performing artists, a human intervention preceded.

Nevertheless, the basic element can be a poem or a score. A poem can be transformed into a musical act, a score into a dance performance. Every time again a new entirety, a new creation.

What is to the artist is also applicable to the school projects. We are challenge to apply a personal approach, even when in group setting. Dare to contradict established patterns, dare to think back, dare to refresh, dare to seek a personal formulation.

Also expressing in a aesthetic way, emotional and idealistic structures which can only be personified through the arts, is an important goal of the profession.

Multiple times, I have been made attentive to the fact that a group structure changes completely during a session. Youngsters, who would otherwise be extremely introvert sometimes become leaders and vice versa. Also, young people often thank me for what they have experienced for themselves. This leads me to conclude that art projects are a meaningful addition to sometimes extremely charged school schedules and that they are not an extra burden. A statement I have often heard.