Lode Coen

Born in: 1952, Antwerp, Belgium
Lives in: Mechelen, Belgium
Describe your art in three words: elegant surrealist intriguing
Discipline: Painting, Digital Media, Illustration, Mixed media
Education: MFA*(equivalent) National Higher Institute of Fine Arts, 1979, Antwerp
BFA, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, 1976, Maxima Cum Laude, Antwerp.
Pedagogical Diploma, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, 1976, Magna Cum Laude, Antwerp.
See More Work:  https://lodecoen-renaissance.tumblr.com

"I can't afford to buy my own Leonardo da Vinci or Botticelli, so I create my own masterpiece. My main love has been the art of the Renaissance since I was a student at the Royal Academy. After a long career in Silicon Valley & Hollywood as an expert in CGI, special FX, I now use a mix of digital and analogue tools to create my art. I create what I like, eclectic art with hidden meaning."

What themes does your work involve?
I am interested in the Renaissance, Classicism and Surrealism, with a Postmodern twist. I am not afraid of kitsch. We live a a fake world anyway, the matrix. There is also a strong influence of music, sound and vision. Also, Asian art, through my study of Chinese, especially calligraphy, but also Chinese renaissance like the art of Giuseppe Castiglione. Japanese art and printmaking. I am also interested in art as a therapy. Other themes include flowers. Perhaps my main theme is ‘light'.
Describe your creative process.
I start messing around, sometimes from an idea or a pencil sketch, sometimes no idea at all. In the process of adding or subtracting to it, I'm open to the unexpected, serendipity and wonder. On occasion, I throw most in the trash, but start again from tabula rasa or start anew from a small left over part. Each time I create a work of art I run through my extended knowledge of art history. So my art is de facto eclectic. I am also a perfectionist, but love to improvise. Many contrarian modi operandi in one artist.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
Foremost inspired by nature and all aspects of light. Also the mythical, mystical and occult. I love the ornamental, like in art nouveau, art deco, 60s psychedelic art, pop art, pre-raphaelites, islamic art and calligraphy. I make art because I started as a 2-year old drawing with a stick in the sand, and since then haven't stopped creating. I don't pursue fame and fortune--those things are all transitory and fade away as quickly as they come--however, I do like my art being appreciated and valued. The art that I share with the world is only a fraction of the 1000s I have created. Will my legacy remain? After I die, I (probably) won't know, so we better enjoy it now.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Art that makes me look at reality with different eyes. Art that makes me joyful. Most often, it is NOT the art that follows the contemporary canon, or the art critics, galleries, or speculators.
What is the role of the artist today?
Now that I am financially independent and I have all the time in the world, I just create for myself and the circle of people that like it. In general the role of the artist is to open doors and windows to make people look at the world from different perspectives. Though some people want to force an agenda on what art should be, either political, philosophical, or social, I do not go along with that. I've always been a contrarian in that sense. Or an ‘Einzelgänger


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist