Fries & Co
Potato Expressions Artists and fries
- To drop something like a hot potato : avoid a problem
Hugo Ansems Nicole Gijsels Eric Legrain Gilles Houben
A big leap back
To learn more about my artistic youth, let’s turn back the clock as far as my memories will go.
All children draw and doodle and cover their fingers with chocolate spread.
Between the ages of 10 and 14 I used to live in Begijnenvest.
I used to do cubic drawing on sheets of squared paper. Unfortunately they have all now gone forever. I especially used to like drawing plates, cups, knives and spoons. I used to show them to my teacher to try to make up for my poor efforts in wood work.
The letter dating from the New Year 1955 is an early work.
At that time texts were written by hand in exercise books, especially for history, and my love of drawing can be seen from the numerous sketches I did around the writing.
Antwerp May 1957
I received a diploma in thanks for my participation in a drawing competition organised by the society of the blind in Antwerp, with the slogan “week of the blind”.
My first major achievement was the representation of four large drills in the Bell Telephone work shop. At the time I was just 15 years old.
I had bought a canvas and oil paints in the Grand Bazar.
I did this painting in our attic.
When I was about 18 I met Walter Groener of the Fakkeltheater and quite a few other young people.
Meanwhile I was able to use a studio in the attic. There are a few photographs of my bedroom but also some of the paintings I did then.
I did an exhibition at the Hessenhuis together with Marcel Cockx from Leuven and Werner Van Bouwhorst
The mayor of Antwerp, Lode Craeybeckx, came in person to inaugurate the exhibition.
In 1963 I met Kari Bert from Ostend who invited me to do an exhibition with him there.
This was the start of a very long acquaintance.
In 1964 I served my country in Euschkirchen and then for another six months in Luchtbal in Antwerp.
I used to do drawings for the Compagnie newspaper.
I used to draw the old buildings in the town of Antwerp.
I still have the drawings in Indian ink that I did of the town hall, of the Oostershuis and the Blauwtoren.
In the meantime I acquired a typewriter and started to write about my walks, short stories and poems that I then illustrated.
I got married when I was 25 and my wife and I went to live in Niel.
Over several decades I used to draw the picturesque parts of the town and the places I visited on holiday.
I also started drawing New Years cards using a more naive style.
The gradual disappearance of the Belgian tradition for chips, especially chip shops, gave me the idea of giving the chip a new lease of life through my imagination.
My paintings, together with those of my grand-daughter Elena, were put on exhibition at the Chip Potato Museum.
For me drawing has been a long journey up hill and down dale, over seas and mountains, day and night and I get much pleasure from it.
Mrs Nicole Gijsels has a chipshop in Berendrecht in Belgium.
But she is also an excellent painter of all the aspects of her job.
Have a look at some of her paintings :
We have several of her paintings in the museum.
Was born in Namen in Belgium in 1963. He followed the courses in the 'Académie Royale des Beaux Arts in Liège. He lives and paints in the village of Beho.
We found his way of painting very attractive and acquired a large painting of a chip shop.
The title is FRITÜURE which is a nice combination of FRITUUR (in dutch), FRITURE (in french) and FRITÜR (in german).
Gilles Houben painted fries shops for over 40 years.
We were lucky enough to buy from him a painting of the typical green fries shop on the market place in Bruges.