Laura grew up in a little village in Flanders, Belgium in a creative environment.
Since the age she could handle art material she never stopped creating. In 2006 she decided to study Graphic Design. As she grew up without television it was a big challenge to work in such a digital world. Soon she discovered that you don’t have to design exclusively on the computer, but that you can interweave drawing and computer. In 2010 she obtained a masterdegree in Fine Arts. In that year she avoided design on computer and worked in and with the streets and woods. Her work resulted in an artist’s book* at the end of that academic year.
A few weeks after Laura graduated at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent, Belgium - 2010 - she got the opportunity to come to New York.
She spends most of her time in her atelier in the lower east side and in the brooklyn art scene. Her life is interwoven with art. It’s not a hobby it’s her life. It’s about thinking and breathing art.
Her earlier work consists of a combination between found materials (such as notes, photographs,...) and pencil, charcoal, paint, spray paint, oilsticks, ...
People consider them as collages but Laura claims that it’s not about that term: “People sometimes ask me in which medium I work, then I answer most of the times that I make collages, because people expect a convenient answer. But for me I don’t consider my work as collages. My work is ‘work’. I could say that my medium is ‘passion’ instead of collage. The term ‘collage’ reminds me of eldery people puttering on a table in a care center”
Her recent work is less figurative and decorative. It's very intuitive and therefore actual but there is a theme in her work that is consistent. It’s about space, the relationship between different, individual things and substance.
“The fact that finished things come together and become something new is so fascinating for me, almost magical. I consider each finished work as unfinished because there is that constant movement between the work and me, the materials and me. It’s life, like living beings moving physical and mentally from one place to the other all the time. Back and forth. Up and down. That relationship between things has always been in my work even in the struggle between analog and digital. It’s about finding a balance in every connection. Connections between human beings, between art and the artist and between material things.”
" Every work has his own existance. When I create it always starts with a very dark motion, almost destructive. It's an intense experience, a shock. At first it is vague and it has to be like that, otherwise it's only a visualization of that intense experience. In all the darkness of creating I feel the connection with the material. I am the material. I am the painting. After that moment of creation I feel disappointment and I am unsatisfied. I'm never satisfied with a work because I'm always mentally changing. But as long as I feel there is substance, there is existence I can go on with my unfinished path that is always going to be unfinished"
Laura had a few exhibitions in Belgium. The exhibitions that she had in New York are on a much intenser and different level. That is part of the drive to work harder. To quote Laura: “ At first I thought you could only create if you were inspired. But now I realize that art is part hard work and part inspiration. It would be stupid to sit and wait for that inspiration. Sometimes it’s better to slap yourself and to drag yourself to your workspace. But I never make art against my will.”
Laura works and lives in New York and finished in January an exhibition 'We hungered' at Con Artist gallery. She works with several artist at the Conartist Space in The Lower East Side in New York.
cargocollective.com/lauratack (coming soon)
Roger Swings is a Belgian blacksmith. He talks about his passion for his work and how the rhythm of the hammers on the metal sets his mind free.
Filmed by Danny Vanbergen - Tim Verheyden
Produced and edited by Tim Verheyden
Naar aanleiding van de Dag van de Ambachten, een dag waarop een groot aantal Vlaamse ambachtslieden hun deuren openzetten voor het grote publiek, gaat de ondernemersorganisatie Unizo op zoek naar een nieuwe naam voor de term 'ambachten'.
Unizo maakt gebruik van de Dag van de Ambachten om te wijzen op een hiaat. "De consument is anno 2012 opnieuw gericht op zoek naar duurzame en authentieke kwaliteitsproducten. Toch vindt die consument die producten nog te moeilijk", stelt Unizo. "De sector krijgt volgens 66 procent van de ambachtslieden te weinig waardering. Een deel van de uitblijvende erkenning zit in de ouderwetse naamgeving. De term 'ambachten' is een vertaling van het Franse 'artisanats', maar in het Nederlands klinkt dat oubollig en dekt dat de lading niet helemaal meer."
De ondernemersorganisatie gaat daarom op zoek naar een nieuwe naam die de lading beter dekt. Voorstellen kunnen hier worden ingediend. Unizo beloont de bedenker van de beste naam met een pakket ambachtelijke producten. (belga/tw)
Jackie Rowe-Adams is co-founder of the Harlem Mothers Save. Ms Rowe-Adams lost two of her sons in gun violence. With Harlem Mothers Save, she unites mothers who lost their kids in gang or gun violence and trough prevention, education and support they try to fight violence in Harlem.
Edited and filmed by Tim Verheyden
driving a cab to get back on the market...
Produced, filmed and edited by Tim Verheyden
Driving a cab for me is… I find it to be very tiring. And being where I was earlier in my life to now, it is mental anguish. Compared to what I could be doing, compared to what I do now. Or what I could have been doing if I didn’t get my financial world turned upside down in the stock market.
I was a market maker for a firm on Wall Street, we made markets in the NASDAQ market. I made lots and lots of money, several million dollars. Upon till 2008, banks went under, I was ‘all inn’ and now I am driving a cab.
The biggest week I ever had was the week of my birthday in 1999. The week of my birthday in 1999 I made 540,000 dollars in one week. That was my biggest week ever. Now I have 1000 dollars a week, so… you live by the sword, you die by the sword. I died by the sword.
Ah… Wall Street guys.
I think the lesson I have learned most is that greed is not good and we all became very greedy. When money becomes so easy to make that you have got to sit back and look what is going on and review what is happening, because we came to a point that we were just printing money. I really should have sat back and said: ’what is going on here, because that just couldn’t continue’.
I knew it was going to a difficult situation to go back on Wall Street, so I thought the best way to do it was to go out there and market myself, hang a sign in my cab.
Hopefully, the right guy will get in my cab and I’ll get a job. But it is very discouraging that after 8 months … I really believed I would have a job. But as my grandfather used to say: ‘this too shall pass’…
And I hope very soon, because this sucks.
BACKGROUND OF THE STORY
According to New York State Comptroller Thomas Di Napoli, 32,000 people will have lost their jobs on Wall Street by the end of 2012. That makes 32,000 since the bank crisis began in 2008. Many people who have gotten fired, still don’t have a job. Scott Curtis is one of them. Curtis was a successful trader on Wall Street, made millions and millions of dollars and all of a sudden he lost everything he had: his money, his job, his house and his wife and kids. Curtis is now driving a cab in NYC, promoting himself, because that’s the way he hopes he will be back on Wall Street again: meeting the right people in his cab.
Scott Curtis worked almost 30 years on Wall Street, he had it all: a nice job, an apartment in NYC, a house in Miami and a luxury life. In 1999 when the company he worked for was taken over by Merrill Lynch, Curtis decided to go and work on his own. The sky was the limit, in the week of his birthday in 1999 he made 540,000 dollars. Years later, in 2008, the banks went under and like so many, Curtis’ company went under too. He had to move back to Miami, sold his house to pay his debts. His wife broke up with him. And now he is back in NYC, driving a cab, hoping for a better life.
NYC, night time. We are in the cab of former Wall Street trader Scott Curtis. Curtis always rides his cab at night because he makes more money then. Curtis talks about his life on Wall Street and explains why he chooses to ride a cab: he wants to promote himself. In his cab he hangs a sign where he talks about himself, how he lost his job on Wall Street. He hopes some big shot from Wall Street will get in in his car and offers him a job. It is already 8 months since he started doing this job and so far nobody has offered him a job.
BEHIND THE SCENES
When I heard about the story if Scott Curtis I immediately contacted Scott to ask him if he would work with me on this project. Without a doubt he said yes. Of course Scott wants to get his story out, but on the other hand, there was this immediate respect for each other. I spent several nights in his cab. Scott talked to me also about his children. How he is missing them. They are with their mother in Miami and every two weeks Scott is flying over there to see them. A lot of money he earns, he spends on his tickets. Scott hopes he get his life on track very soon. At this moment he is staying with his brother, he sleeps on the ground in the living room. Must not be easy for a man who once made million and million of dollars. A night, we went out for sushi, because Scott told me that is his favorite food, he used to eat it almost very day. Now it is too expensive. I took him out for diner, that is the least I could do. Thanks for having me in your cab, Scott. All the best!
Three times a week, 18-year-old Thonn McMillan travels with his mother from the outskirts of Brooklyn to the SUNY-Parkside dialysis center to get treatment for his kidney failure. Thonn is originally from Grenada, but three years ago he and his mother had to come to New York. At that time, Thonn was already more than a year sick and doctors couldn’t find what he suffered from. He got treated for tuberculosis, but once arrived in the United States, doctors found out he had Wegener’s disease. Thonn needs a kidney transplant to survive, but he can’t get on a list, because he is not a US citizen. On top of that, he and his mom have to find shelter. Now they are staying with family, but they have to move out soon. And they have no place to go…