Marnix Everaert lives and works in Ghent, Belgium, where he is a professor at the Academy for Visual Arts teaching non-toxic printmaking. Working in a variety of media, he favors printmaking, especially etching, which he worked on during both residencies at Zea Mays. Everaert first visited Zea Mays in 2015 spending two weeks at the studio with the Zea Mays Fellowship. He returned again in 2017 for another two weeks as a resident and workshop instructor. Everaert’s work, precise and imaginative, explores an alternative version of the world we exist in, documenting and extrapolating the details of this parallel world.
Everaert spent his time at Zea Mays working on this theme, which he titles “Encyclopedia Turbatio,” referencing the latin word for disorder, turbatio. “In my case, it can be seen as a way to understand the world not through ordering and archiving but through disorder. A kind of parallel world that allows me to have a look at the world we live in. Liz once called it science fiction, without the bad connotation from sci-fi movies. A self-invented world but still grounded in the world we live in. Of course, there will always be a shift when you are in a part of the world that is not really your home. Where people speak a language that is not your mother tongue, where you see the differences in small or bigger things. Where all things are different, even if you recognize them in one or another way.”
Everaert says he had plans for the work he wanted to do to both residences, but that he found his work evolved upon arrival. “I arrive at a residency with some ideas from which I know I will probably not use them. Arriving at a place I am not familiar with disturbs my normal way of working. What I get in return is something I call ‘friction.’ It’s a thing I love and hate at the same moment, but which is always fruitful in the end (after the residency).” He found this process easier the second time, once familiar with the place, environment, and people. Everaert began each visit with 4-5 days spent working in his sketchbooks. Jumping off from this foundation he used the brief 2 week periods to begin etching projects he later finalized back in Belgium.
Everaert found his collaboration with other artists and teachers at Zea Mays to be his most valuable experience. “I have been teaching printmaking techniques for over 27 years and on every residency, I still learn new things. I see how others teach or work with people, how techniques are used, and sometimes I just enjoy the fact of being there. The way Liz works with people in the studio is very close to my way of working with my students. A lot of empathy is involved in all those wonderful people that form a studio. The impact of Zea Mays has been more to strengthen my way of teaching by seeing that others also do this in an equivalent way.”
He also cites the opportunity to see how others use specific techniques as fresh inspiration. “Always new is when you meet people you have never met before. I believe that for me is the best part of a residency. Of course, you always see new things, ways of working, new products, … But unbeatable is the kind of work people make with the same materials, that is always new and interesting.”
Everaert remembers his time at Zea Mays very positively, sharing, “ Zea Mays is an extraordinary place. It’s a residency so different from others. Not only for the fact of being a non-toxic studio but also the whole atmosphere in the studio. Liz and Sheldon are very devoted to the case and are great instructors. I think the whole printmaking community needs more of this kind of person. Zea Mays is a studio where you feel very welcome, where you feel people care about you, where you feel part of a ‘family.’”
During the pandemic in Belgium, Everaert found his own creative practice put on hold. As a teacher, with lockdown cutting the school year in half beginning in March, he found his time and energy absorbed by the creative problem solving his role now required. “We had to find different ways of teaching and this being so new for us took most of the time…The future is so uncertain and we have to be prepared even for things that might not happen. These last six months have been a really strange period in life.” Everaert shares his recent project, a website (www.printgreenprintsafe.org) he is working on that will offer new insight and information on non-toxic printmaking, and will be bi-lingual (Flemish and English). It will be online this Fall/Winter 2020.
More of Everaert’s work can be seen on his website www.marnixeveraert.com
And you can follow him on Instagram @marnix_everaert