The freedom we dream of and the reality we neglect are intertwined in the paintings of Belgian-born muralist Gijs Vanhee. The artist was in Sofia to create a mural in the city center at the invitation of the Visionary Foundation and as part of Belgian Days 2022.
Location: 23 Han Asparuh str., Sofia
Total area: 80 кв.м.
Gijs Vanhee is an illustrator who became passionate about street art in his teens. Now he is a well-known and active mural artist of the street art scene in Europe, who develops coherent stories with his interesting characters on walls in the urban space, on paper, canvas, and digitally.
In his narrative drawings, humans with the head of a bird play a leading role. The search for freedom forms the common thread throughout his work, as well as the balance between nature and society. His works are an invitation to take time to stop and look around, to search in the details for stories or questions about us humans or how we are drifted away from who we are. His drawings have a very recognizable style, often in black and white or with limited use of color. With murals, the elements or textures present usually play an important role in the work. This visual language becomes a recognizable style in black and white that speaks loudly on crucial topics that people, preoccupied with the "important" matters of their daily lives, neglect.
The mural Parked Life is a story telling a piece of the life of his "free birds", as Hayes calls his types...a story about a traveller, a dreamer; a story on wheels, integrating elements of local life and culture or the point of view of a stranger in a foreign country - the viewer chooses. The richness of detail and different elements in VanHee's style allow for a wide interpretation and as he says himself - "working in an urban environment is always perceived in a changing context that may be different a year from now. The freedom is in letting the work take on a life of its own."
Listen more from Gijs in his conversation with the visual artist Sebastian Quick in Visionary Talks 002.
The project is part of the Belgian Weeks 2022 and the creative program of the Visionary Foundation. It is realized with the financial support of the National Culture Fund, the One Year Grant `21 program, the Belgian Embassy in Bulgaria, and partnering with the Belgium-Bulgaria-Luxembourg Business Club and 0511 Designs.
Photos: Mihaela Draganova, Nikola Bagarov
Cover photo: Nikola Bagarov