Artistic Excellence 2013 | Honorable Mention: Mark Van Crombrugge


Mark Van Crombrugge, Old Milk Bottle and Grapes, oil, 31 x 59.

Mark Van Crombrugge, Old Milk Bottle and Grapes, oil, 31 x 59.

What inspired your winning entry? When I start a new painting, I never know where it is going to lead me. I like discovering things along the way. When composing, I add objects and take away things. In this painting, I was inspired by an old milk bottle I once bought at a flea market. I imagined that, once upon a long time ago, there was actually milk in this bottle. The bottle was still new back then. Was it in a kitchen on a table? Was the milk used to make a cake, or did children drink it to quench their thirst or maybe their hunger? What happened with this bottle, so that it is so scratched now? I was just wondering, so I decided to fill the bottle with milk and put it on an old table. And this was the starting point of this painting.

Where did you study art? I studied art for six years at the Sint-Lukas Brussels University College of Art and Design, where I received my master’s degree. After that I studied art restoration for a year at The Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage in Brussels.

How would you describe your style? My style is pretty straightforward. What you see is what you get. I am looking for realism, not necessarily hyper-realism. There has to be a balance between the realistic style of painting and the subjects that I paint. I like to explain things in the painting itself, not afterward. Therefore I paint carefully, and I speak in a clear language.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be? This is easy to answer. If I weren’t an artist, I wouldn’t be me. I would not and could not exist without being an artist.

What are your goals for the future? I always have one goal, and that is to make every painting a better painting than the one before. And yes, of course, I would like to be a famous and a respected painter, but I am not a commercial type or the “artist” type. I like art, but I don’t like the art world.

What galleries represent your work? I am an einzelganger [a maverick or lone wolf]. I am not represented by any gallery, but maybe I will reconsider my decision in the near future.

This story was featured in the December 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art December 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!