The first mark I make on a page is always the most emotional one. It’s filled with excitement and fear at the same time. Excitement about what could happen in the next hour of drawing and fear for the very same reason. Although I usually rule out most of the fear knowing I don’t have to share the work if I don’t like it.
My constant motivation is my passion for cycling and the sharing of my love of the sport. Sometimes it’s professional cycling, sometimes not. But it’s the shared common feelings we all have about riding bicycles that I continue to explore. And because those shared emotions and experiences are personal to me, in my heart I believe they will be personal and meaningful to you.
Like everyone I make mistakes. In many cases I draw from memory and always from the heart and when I do, I make things up the way I remember them. That’s a big part of being a visual artist. These are my interpretations of feelings and events. It’s how I see them and experience them that I am sharing. So when I draw a bicycle and the seat is in the wrong place, I let it go. Or if the wheels don’t line up, I let it go. The details don’t slow me down and I hope you, my viewers can let those things go as well.
Over the last few weeks many of us have focused our attention on the tragic events in Belgium. As we were confronted with news of terrorist attacks against innocent people we were numbed by the senseless violence that permeates our world today. And when we heard the horrible news about Antoine Demoitie, the twenty-five-year old professional cyclist being struck and killed by a motorbike in the peloton during Gent-Wevelgem, we were paralyzed with sadness.
Unable to do much about it we share our feelings on social media, it’s what the world does now. It’s how we cope with the helpless feeling we are left with. We all have a need to share and connect. I’m no different.
So when I picked up my pen and started to draw “Flemish Salute” I didn’t really know there was a difference in which direction the lion should face from the flagpole and I got it wrong, I let it go. And that the official Flanders flag, the one with the red claws and tongue was the correct one to use; I got lucky.
What I cared about was sharing the feeling we all would have from picking up a huge lion flag and racing across an open field in a rage of passion. Chasing our heroes, chasing our dreams and for a moment feeling empowered to prevail against all odds.
We all share the heart of the Flemish Lion.