Name: Monika Macken
Places Lived: Leuven, Genoa, Palermo
Places visited: France, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Luxembourg, England, Spain, Finland, Canada, Morocco and Brazil.
Loves: Baudelaire, Cesare Pavese, Ward Ruyslinck (a famous Flemish writer, and my husband), Haruki Murakami, Basquiat, Luc Tuymans, Brueghel, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Fellini, Wim Wenders, Michelangelo, Jean-Luc Godard, Helen Mirren, Juliette Binoche, Chopin, Beethoven, Raphaël, Francis Cabrel, Aznavour, Rolling Stones, Radiohead, Leonard Cohen, Marian Faithfull, Françoise Hardy, Dries Van Noten
Philanthropy: Ambassador of the Belgian charity, Hubi & Vinciane.
Career: Retired at the moment, yet throughout my life have led a diversified career as a French teacher, executive secretary, an advertising copywriter, and fashion journalist, among other experiences.
What would one find in the pages of your Paperblanks journal?
In my Paperblanks book you will find short stories, poems, collages, drawings, texts, sentences, photos. Essentially, all that fascinates me and all I find intriguing. The world is an endless source of inspiration. I can be inspired by a poster, a photo on Facebook, lyrics, a painting from an unknown painter, a statue, cinema images….I’ll write in Flemish, my native tongue, mainly, as well as in French, Italian, and English, depending upon my mood.
Do you have any specific themes that you continually refer back to in your work?
For the moment, I am obsessed with towns and graphic novels, and like to represent devastated or surrealist towns and landscapes. My paintings are often disturbing, weird, and totally imaginary. I like Baroque or very linear architecture. I like colors and non-colors. I like stories without happy ends in graphic novels.
I do not know yet what I will become passionate about in the future….
Do you have any personal philosophies you’ve come to develop about writing, art, creation or culture?
Art allows me to live with history in the making, to understand what is new and what is changing in the world, even at my age. I hate vulgarity, banality, and sentimentality. Thanks to my painting, I feel young, mentally, and can understand young artists because we are all part of a creative evolution.
How did you find Paperblanks?
I found my first Paperblanks in the shop SCHLEIPER in Brussels. The cover illustrated Thai Gems, photographed by Gérard de George. It was simply love at first sight and I bought the journal instantly.
What sets Paperblanks apart from other journals you’ve used?
What makes Paperblanks different is the elegance of each design, along with the tactile pleasure to hold the book in one’s hand, to take it everywhere, and to receive compliments for its originality!
Our Artist Series features snapshots of the creative people who use our journals. From all parts of the world, and all walks of life, we celebrate the infinite number of ways in which creativity can be expressed. If you would like to have your story featured, email firstname.lastname@example.org.