Erik Heyninck is a Flemish painter and draughtsman, born in Antwerp-Belgium in 1952. At the age of sixteen, he started writing poetry. He taught himself how to play the guitar and read Baudelaire in French when he was eighteen. He started studying chemistry in Antwerp because it would help him to find the Philosopher’s Stone. Then, he decided to do what he really wanted to do and quit university for “a free electric band” called Shub Niggurath in which he played lead guitar and he became the main lyrics writer and composer of the band.
At the age of twenty-four, he went to work in Catalunya, Spain. It was there that he decided to start drawing and painting, creative activities he could do on his own. After his return to Antwerp, he enrolled in the evening classes at the Royal Academy of Arts in Antwerp. The years he spent in the drawing and the etching classes brought him in 1984 to Paris, where he learned the craft and worked as a professional printer of etchings and engravings in the studio of René Tazé.
He has developed and applied his own techniques on the following media: ink pens and watercolour on paper, egg tempera and resinous oil (amber) on panel, pen & pencil drawing on paper for the creation of his artworks.
His works are acquired in the Plantijn – Moretus Museum collection in Antwerp, Belgium; the Kjarvalsstadir Museum in Reykjavik, Iceland; The Bibliotheque Nationale- Paris, France and the Albertina, Vienna, Austria, and Mexico.
He exhibited in several countries across the world including Belgium, France, UK, USA, Italy, Australia, Switzerland, Poland, Spain, and Mexico.
Erik Heyninck is recognised as one of the Flemish Fantastic Art Masters in his native country Belgium. He currently lives & works in Antwerp and spends as much time as possible in France, usually armed with his camera and a sketchbook.
I create my works because it is my natural way of being – just like it is the blackbird’s nature to sing – and also because it pleases me to do so. Being creative helps me not to forget that I’m alive and living this life. I prefer to be an active part of the creative process, to laser beam my awareness and create whilst interpreting and interpret whilst creating, to separating creation from interpretation like the Surrealists usually did. To bring it to a Mythological scale: I feel more linked to the active Shiva principle who destroys to create than to the Biblical Yahweh who created and then passively sat back to watch what he had created.
Although I created the works myself, they defy any explanation and they often baffle me. They go beyond emotion, beyond thinking, beyond instinct, beyond deep fears and beyond high hopes, beyond understanding, and beyond dreams. They can neither be reduced nor explained away by any belief system, including spirituality, religion, logic, objectivity and common-sense.
There is nothing that has to be achieved with Art, no goal to be reached, except to stay in contact with the Source of Inspiration. Art can be a path towards Aretè, meaning Excellence in all aspects of life. It can show that consciousness is multi-layered, multi-dimensional and that awareness can be directed and focused.
Inspiration is always there and is always available. It’s up to us to tune into it.
Erik was commissioned to create a set of drawings on the theme of Odyssea for the calendar of Lloyds-Antwerp in 1986. The works can be viewed on his website www.castalianvisions.org, in Gallery 3.
2017 Visionary Alchemy, One Art Space. New York
2016 Timeless Imagination – the Lally Gallery at The Erewash Museum, Derbyshire England
2015 Canadian Society for Art of Imagination, Eco-Musee du Fier Monde. Montreal.
2013 Psychedelic and beyond, Los Angeles
2013 Visionary Experience, San Francisco
2012 Visionaries, the Art of the Fantastic, Queensborough Community College Art Gallery, Queensborough College, NYC
2010 Fifty Years Fantastic, La Galleria Pall Mall, London.
2009 Venice Carnival, Interart Gallery, NYC
2009 Exhibition on the theme of Dante’s Divine Comedy
2008 Brick Lane Gallery, London.
2007 The Mall Gallery, London.
2005 The Inner Eye, Interart Gallery, NYC.
2005 Festival of Fantasy and Imagination, Lauderdale House, London
2003 Gallery at Cork St, London
2001 Group Exhibition in Lamballe, Bretagne
2000 Group Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London
1998 Group Exhibition in La Gacilly, Bretagne on the theme of Les Villes Englouties (Sunken Cities)
1992 Paradise without illusions, Switzerland