The Frans Masereel Centrum artist residency

Giovanni Ambrosio Black Spring Graphics Studio blog

The Frans Masereel Centrum artist residency

Exploring art of printmaking at Belgium’s Frans Masereel Centrum: my 6 Weeks as an Artist-In-Residence

Have you ever heard about the Frans Masereel Centrum?

I do, I have been there, and I have spent among the best six weeks of my life as an artist (yes I know, there’s no six week packs in the life of an artist, but there’s Twelve Moments In The Life Of The Artist, by David Sedaris, and you should definitely read it). Anyway, I think I have heard about FMC for the first time in my life when I was living in Germany. Informative literature on art, museums, art spaces, kunstahalles was literally everywhere. I think I got a journal in my mail box between the Obi weekly catalogue and the Liedl one. From there on I started to think about the idea that I should have, somehow, put my practice of image making into a direct confrontation with a place dedicate to prints, to printed matter-at-large as it’s stated on the website. And I eventually did, having to opportunity to be among a group of resident artists in 2021.

The Frans Masereel Centrum (FMC)

The Frans Masereel Centrum is  located in the quiet countryside of Kasterlee, Belgium and its named after the influential Belgian artist and engraver Frans Masereel, who pioneered the graphic novel format in the early 20th century. The residency provides artists with studio space, specialised equipment, technical assistance. The studios are a live anthology of printmaking, you can engrave but also print in a state of the art digital studio, you can screen print, you can di lithography, you can laser cut. You can basically experiment everything. You can wake up in the morning, enter the studio and basically be nothing else but a printmaker, all the rest is just somehow, somewhere outside. Somewhere else. But probably the best part is that the studio has a pulsating heart which resides into the team working there: Ivan, Nathan and Tom, at the time I have been there. More than extended knowledge, smooth friendly conversations, gentle helping hands. Not to talk about the back office team. I remember that last year an Italian unknown colleague artist reached out to know about the Fmc, I think I said it should be one of the moments in the life of an artist.

Printmaking with artists

The Frans Masereel Centrum residency has had a profound impact on my practice, I had time and tools to start new works or to reshape some matters I had carried with me. But I think my time at the Frans Masereel Centrum artist residency in 2021 was a transformative experience overall because I had the opportunity to get in touch with a group of amazing artists, from different background, with different perspectives. We have shared a fantastic time, long conversations, dinners, projects. Hopefully I carried my camera to help me stock marks of that time during beautiful summer days. I have now put together my casual journal, with fragments, of papers, of prints, of shadows, of people, of lights, of architectures.