The Goblet Way

Entering Dominique Goblets website, is like discovering an alternative universe. Nine of her works float around on a solid black background like a miniature solar system. Select one of the art pieces and you are taken to another page with a list of works in that category. Explore further into the site and you will begin to understand how Alice must have felt falling down the rabbit hole. Nothing is familiar. You navigate through the pictures by clicking on sketches of eyes glancing over their shoulder or straight at you. Obscure spinning three-dimensional objects take you back to the previous page. 

Much like her website, the work of accomplished Belgian artist and author Dominique Goblet is known to be experimental, poetic and often biographical. After graduating with a degree in visual arts from L'institut Saint-Luc in Brussels in 1991, Goblet joined an alumni comic group and began her journey into the world of pictures mixed with words. Since then she has published numerous works of art, photography, writings and comics such as Faire semblant c'est mentir (2007), Changements (2010) which consists of portraits created by Goblet and her daughter Nikita of each other, and Plus si entente (2014). 

Recently, I Love Belgium had the pleasure of interviewing Goblet about her creative process, inspiration, and what comes next for this Brussels based creative. Here's what she had to say: 

When did you first start making art?

It is difficult to define when one has "started to make art." Drawing has always been a part of my life. In 1991, when I left school, I started doing joint projects with members of the FRIGO group, graphic artists from Saint-Luc, that I used to pass in the halls at school. We were very active. We did exhibitions, created narrative objects, collected experimental comics and reflected upon the limits of the genre. We wanted to find new ways of expression both graphic and narrative. That's why we founded our own publishing house, to publish things that at the time didn't fit into the norm. 

Why do you make art?

It is a difficult question to answer because it is too broad. It is a journey that almost creates its own path. And then one day, it became a necessity and we could no longer do anything else. I had things to express. I had to express them and other ways of expression might have been detrimental to me. But is this "reason" why I make art? I'm not sure.

What is your most important artist's tool? Is there something you can't live without in your studio?

there isn't one particular tool I work with, because, personally, I changed tools in order to try new things and combine different techniques. i do this to avoid boredom, to stay curious and to deliberately create a handicap for myself to challenge the "Savoir-Faire" (idea that practice makes perfect). For me, mastering a technique means losing the charm created by accidents. A state of total control, is a state I flee. I want to remain fragile and lucid to find solutions in the creative process. Therefore, I have no specific attachment to one specific tool. On the other hand, I always work with quality materials. So, I spend a lot of time trying out different tools and paints.

You have done everything from painting to photography to writing. Do you prefer one medium to the other?

I don't give a preference to one type of media. Photography, drawing, writing, they all are a very big part of my life as an artist. The field I'm active in as an artist, working with both images and words, is quite complex. Roles can be reversed and so writing becomes drawing in a direct support of the narration creating an object of expression. The words that are incorporated into the image become the drawing, a visual element becomeing part of the composition. Moreover, photography has always been a world unto itself. it has an indispensable influence on my work as a storyteller because it creates an atmosphere and structure to build my worlds from. I never copy a photo but often one or more photographic reproductions help me in the creative process.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Inspiration is not something that falls from the sky. I do not believe the clichés of "the magic of inspiration." Ideas come to me while I'm working. it's like the second wind the cyclist gets as he passes the tenth kilometer. Certain practices can stimulate ideas such as collaboration, keeping a notebook, sketching, and lectures. You have to be willing to make fire out of every kind of wood, Above all we have to be able to put these things into perspective and create synergies between them. I believe that the "magic" lies at the clash between the connection of two apparently unrelated things. 

Do you collect anything?

I collect many things, no doubt, too many things. I have a database of imagery which I look at almost every day. I'm fascinated with this "fountain" of photographs of powerful and unusual images. Apart from that, I also have a weakness for objects that tell a story. 

What is he first piece of art you ever sold?

I had to make an effort to remember the first piece I've ever sold because the relation between creation and money does not concern me. My studies have resulted in very relative success. However, while presenting my work during my senior year of college, one of the professors, the only professor I've ever admired, bought one of my drawings. That event has deeply marked me, as my grades in general, which were rather mediocre, had been swept aside in a split second.

Who is your favorite artist?

I will give you one, so as not to overwhelm you with a thousand. Stephane Mandelbaum. At the age of 20 I was blown away by him. He did exactly, what I foresaw possible, without knowing the shape. When I discovered his work, it was a real shock. it took me 5 years to get over.

What piece of artwork are you most proud of?

There isn't any work that deserves more "pride" than another. I fell especially good about never letting go of the piece, about never feeling satisfied about my abilities, about always preferring to take risks and refusing concessions. In the sense of risk-taking, one must also consider pieces that expose him the most. I have also worked on an autobiographical account for a very long time. It is certainly a key pillar of the whole of my work, but one wall does not make a house. Each project is founding, even with their potential weaknesses.

What are your hobbies?
The word "hobbies" is a word that is very alien to me. Everything I do, I do with the same commitment and pleasure as in art. There are no "more important" and "less important" things. Thus I joyfully studied electricity, plumbing and welding in order to fix the problems in my house and for 2 years I've also been making ceramics in evening school. I could also mention many other unusual and crispy things that are enjoyable or relaxing for the mind.

What project are you working on now? 

I am currently finishing a book that I have co-created with artist Dominique Théathe. I met him in an art center for people with mental handicaps. It is a mixed story, between his life and the one of the American wrestler, Hulk Hogan. Moreover, I have made drawing for a film of Guy Mar Hinant and François Ducat about a meeting between Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson and I finished writing the scenario of my next comic book. 


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