Interview to Vincent Bal


Enjoy this new interview to Vincent Bal, filmmaker and “shadowologist”! Have a look here: websiteInstagramEtsy
Hi Vincent. I read in your biography that you have directed so many films, shorts and commercials. But you have also written and illustrated books and you are the creator of the Shadowology project. So, which is your first love, between direction and illustration?
The answer is, I just like to make stuff. Wether that is a film, or a book, or direct a commercial. I enjoy creating things. But drawing is something that I have been doing since I was very small, so in a way it is my first love. What attracted me to film is that you can combine so many different disciplines. Acting, storytelling, photography, music… On the other hand, it always takes a very long time to finance a film, and it’s a very complex undertaking. When I make my shadow doodles I’m the whole crew by myself, and the whole production process from idea to audience can take as little as half an hour. I love that. Plus, it also involves storytelling, acting (in the drawing) and of course photography. 🙂 It’s nice to have both.
How does a shadow doodle start? Do you pass your time searching for objects with a “good” shadow or does the idea pop accidentally into your mind?
I always start with an object I find appealing. I then place it in the light and try to play with the shadows until I recognize a form. You have to keep a very open mind doing this. It does not work when I’m stressed or when I want to force the shadows to take a certain form. It is very surprising to see what a difference the smallest details in lighting make. It is impossible to predict what will come out. When it’s summer, I love to work with real sunlight, because the shadows are so sharp and the light is so beautiful. But then I have to work really fast. Because the sun moves, the shadows change all the time. And then there are the clouds. I hate the clouds when I’m drawing. 🙂  Probably the things I see in the shadows have something to do with stuff I have seen in the recent past, or things that are in my subconscious, it works a little like a Rorschach test.
Where do you get your inspiration? Or who has inspired you? Tell me some artists, filmmakers, musicians you like.
So many people I admire… I love comic book artists like Franquin, Sempé, Daniel Clowes, Crumb, Morris, Seth, Christophe Blain, Trondheim, Bill Waterson, Hanco Kolk, Yves Chaland… Film directors like Billy Wilder, Tati, The Coen brothers, Kubrick, Lubitsch, Wes Anderson, Van Dormael, Melville, Fellini… Artists like Rik Wouters, Spilliaert, Velazquez, Matisse, Renoir, Bill Viola, Klimt, Dufy, Hopper, Van Gogh (he had a good first name)… Photographers like Weegee, Saul Leiter, Van der Elsken, Brassai, Robert Frank, Gruyaert… Composers and musicians like Chet Baker, The Ink spots, Prince, James Brown, The Beatles, The White Stripes, Duke Ellington, Serge Gainsbourg… I love it when I’m inspired or touched by a work of art.
What do you see in your future? Direction, illustration, maybe animation, painting, acting, artistic embroidery or what else? 🙂
I have no idea what the future will bring. If you would have told me two years ago that so many people would enjoy my drawings would have said you’re crazy. So that is a very nice surprise for me. I’m developing a few films, a family film an animation project and a film noir. So hopefully I will be producing one of these in 2019. Besides that I hope to continue with the drawings and maybe make an album cover or a magazine cover that way. That would be cool. I published a book with  my drawings here in Belgium last year, and I would also like to see that published in other countries. Who knows?
The last question is one that no-one has asked you but that you would like to be asked. What is it? And thank you for your time.
That’s a difficult one. On my website, people can send me a message, but only if they answer one question and that is ‘what is your favorite dessert?’. You cannot send a message if you leave that blank. It tells a lot about people, I have found. My top three at this moment would be (in random order!), Crêpe Suzette, Zabaglione and Ile Flottante. Although Pavlova and Dame Blanche are favorites too.
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