Who is David De Graef?

This visionary painter, who tends rather to unsettle than to put in order, invites you to the depths of a bewitching world where no moral value is absolute.

His piercing insight into our institutions and emotions enfolds us in a universe where reason faces fear.

David De Graef’s strange world is a parallel universe. He evokes it with both tenderness and violence.

This autodidact fuses power and finesse to reflect our joy and unease. He merges polarities and offers scenes of loss and resurrection.

The thought-provoking phantasms of the artist sketch mankind’s journey through love and hate, belief and disillusionment, hope and betrayal. This intensely pictorial narrator draws inspiration from physical and mental decay and rebirth. David’s optimism and sense of humour however puts all darkness into perspective.

Through his painter’s eye, David De Graef develops a pictorial philosophy, which transcends each rational explanation or narrow classification.

A. Antoine (written press)

Our human tendency to put things in order inspires us also to categorise them. We also tend to do this with an artist’s oeuvre. We give the painters’ style a name, often ending with “ism”.

Among the “isms” which have been suggested about my paintings, I have heard terms such as symbolic art, magical realism, surreal art, and more. Since I feel very little concern about labelling my artistic genre, all these definitions seem suitable to me.

Some years ago, an American journalist described me as a “Philosophical” artist. My formal intellectual training has been rather limited, so I felt flattered by this. At the same time, it rang true, and I adopted his description.

However, I feel that my philosophical contribution is also directed towards encouraging the viewers of my creations to philosophize. When looking at my pictures, everyone spontaneously wants to guess what the painter had in mind, when creating these themes. Very often, the spectators’ analysis and explanation are similar to my own. The most exciting thing occurs when, through guessing the deepest thoughts of the artist, you discover your own.

Born into a family of theatre and opera artists, creativity was a part of the biotope in which I grew up.

In my fourth year, the kindergarten teacher warned my parents that something might be wrong with their son. Little David seemed to be looking inwards, and not inclined to communicate with the outside world. She suggested that he be sent to a school for backward children.

The teacher soon noticed she missed the chance to shut up, and became acquainted with my mother’s temperament. The pedagogical suggestion was dismissed, and I continued my education among normal children.

My first year of study, the teacher assigned us to draw the schoolclass. My approach appeared to be different: never before had the teacher observed a child of six drawing an interior in perspective.

The front row of desks were larger, followed by progressively smaller desks behind it, partially hidden by the previous one.

Drawing, rather than paying attention to lessons, became my chronic habit at school. The more that my school notebooks started to look like sketchbooks, the more obvious my destiny as a painter became. At the age of 16, with my VAT-number and registry of commerce documents in my pocket, I skipped the art academy and began to exhibit paintings.

Upcoming Events

29 Jun

Sunday June 29th, David will present his new artbook Nuit Blanche.

Interesting links

My books

Second book, hardcover, 192 pages.
Author & publisher: David De Graef
Published 2014
ISBN: 9789082124002

Hardcover, 96 pages.
Author: Members of Artief
Publisher: Mouseion Books
Published 2007
ISBN: 9789079244010

First book, 56 pages.

Author & publisher: David De Graef
Published 2002.

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