Expat Artist: Ian Elders
Brussels-based cartoonist/caricaturist Ian Elders finds that moving abroad has broadened his artistic horizons.
Name: Ian Elders
City of residence: Brussels
Reason for moving to Belgium: Previous relationship
Can you describe what you wish to communicate through your art work?
As a cartoonist i suppose my only communique would be humour, although I also do more serious work such as sign writing and caricature portraits
Which medium do you work in?
Pen and ink, pencils, pastels - or whatever is handy!
How has living abroad influenced your work as an artist?
From living in mainland Europe I can definitely say my horizons have been broadened. For example, if you visit Berlin you find yourself surrounded by street art. Also as a keen cartoonist Brussels has opened my eyes to a whole new brand of graphic artists
Which up and coming local artists do you find worth mentioning?
I have definitely been very inspired by a local artist who goes by the name Fahar West (www.facebook.com/home.php#!/faharwest) He has without a doubt re-ignited an interest in one of my first loves - Animation, an often over-looked medium
How easy or difficult is it to mix with the local artistic community?
I consider myself to be quite a social person and above all I find the local music scene a good way of meeting new faces
Can you offer some advice to people wishing to break into the local art scene?
I’ll tell you when I get there/
What kind of financial support is available for artists working in your country of residence?
A lot of artists and musicians I know are involved in the SMART scheme. It allows artists, and other people on un-employment benefit, to receive tax benefits from their independent work. As anybody living in Belgium knows, tax can be quite tough.
How would you describe the art scene in Belgium; for instance is it thriving or not in good shape?
In terms of local festivals, installations, exhibitions and free participation I think Brussels’ art scene is in pretty good shape. I speak, of course as a participant and not someone of authority!
Since the age of about 15, I have always been fascinated with caricatures and, as such, the human face. It has been repeatedly the most interesting image for me to draw. When I was about 17 years of age i discovered the work of Sebastian Kruger (www.sebastiankruger.org). He has, without a doubt, been the artist who has influenced me more than any other as he has taken the work to a whole new level.
Other, more contemporary influences I could name would be Gerald Scarfe, the English satirist, also Peter Schrank whose work has popped up in the Economist and the Independent, and Robert Crumb, the zany American. Also, more recently, Derrin Brown who is known all over England as the magician/conjuror, and who has also championed Kruger as an influence. His work with paints is nothing short of brilliant. In short, the human face has always been a fascinating subject for me. Each different, each with something to play with, and each, once you've found that twinkle in the eye, with something to make you smile
Ian is also singer with the BrusseLs-based band Men in Blue.
You can contact Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org
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