'Phaedra' (Zone 5300, August 2000)

Erik Wielaert is a Dutch children's book illustrator, plastic artist and comics artist. He spent many years working in the Dutch small press scene, and is one of the driving forces behind the local comics magazine Gr'nn. With Belgian cartoonist Willy Linthout, as scriptwriter he drew the humoristic police thriller trilogy 'Het Laatste Station' (2007-2008). Wielaert is best known for evoking magical fantasy worlds, full of mythical creatures who can be cuddly and eerie at the same time. His fine sense of colour rivals his mastery of the pen.

Early years and influences
Erik Wielaert was born in 1957 in Amersfoort and grew up in Leiden, Assen and currently resides in Groningen. As a child, he liked the comics magazine Pep. In high school he and a friend already made one-page comics, but his focus eventually shifted to music and painting. Wielaert studied liberal arts and painting at the Art Academy Minerva of Groningen, where he graduated in 1982. Among Wielaert's graphic influences are Moebius, Lewis Trondheim, Charles Burns, Milo Manara, Nicolas de Crécy, Jacques Tardi and Mike Mignola. He also has a passion for fantasy and science fiction, which is reflected in his work which often depicts fairy tale worlds with elves, trolls, fairies and monsters.


'De Geest van het RKZ'

Early career
Originally Wielaert mostly made free artwork which was exhibited in alternative galleries. When his abstract paintings became too large to complete in his studio he switched to illustration work instead. As a breadwinning he decorated the pages of many schools books. He drew for the home magazine of Het Oude RKZ, an old hospital turned into a squatters' location , and designed posters for their annual parties. Two years after it was turned into a legal housing place, Wielaert made his first comic book, 'De Geest van het RKZ' (1988), about the history of the building. The text was written by Martin Zwiers, a fellow occupant. His next comics booklet, 'Bauknecht - Renovasie zonder weerga', followed in 1992 to accompany an exposition of an artists' collective.

Gr'nn
During the 1990s, Wielaert began publishing his comics in Dutch indie comics magazines. Wielaert's passion project is Gr'nn, a small press comics magazine circulating in Groningen. Since its foundation in 1996 he is part of the editorial board. The other core contributors to the bi-annual magazine are Vlerk (Edmond Spierts), Diderik van Dijken, Erik Snelleman, NAAM (Bastiaan Hooimeijer) and Bafuss, but new talent from the Groningen region is also welcomed in its pages. The group also cooperates on other other collective projects such as expositions and installations.


'Nachtschade'.

Incognito
Between 1998 and 2003 Wielaert made several one-shot comics for Robin Schouten's small press magazine Incognito and its companion album collection. Among them were 'Nachtschade' (2000), a series of three black comedy horror stories, and 'Waanklanken' (2001). 'Waanklanken' consists of two short stories, namely the horror tale 'Met de muziek mee...', and 'De Tol van de Roem' about the side effects of a djinn fulfilling the three wishes of an amateur rock band to become famous. For the same collection Wielaert also drew the noir detective story 'De Zwarte IJscoman' (2003), scripted by Robin Schouten in what was his debut as a scriptwriter, though the title itself was thought up by Lode Devroe. The story is set in 1947 and unfolds as a film noir about a black ice cream salesman.

Besides Incognito and Gr'nn, stories by Erik Wielaert have appeared in Zone 5300, Lustre and MYX Stripmagazine, and on the comics portal Stripster.nl.


'De Zwarte IJscoman'.

De Kletter
Between 1997 and 2000 Wielaert illustrated the serial 'De Kletter' in the university paper of the University of Groningen (RUG). At the same university he also illustrated a promotional survey about comics by professor Rudi de Vries who teaches Business Management and Arts, Culture and Media.

Graphic contributions
Wielaert contributed to 'Groningen Bij Nacht' (2006), a collection of dark, short stories set in Groningen and written and drawn by artists hailing from that city. His story was titled 'De Vampier van het Westerkwartier'. In 2007 Menno Kooistra's horror comics anthology Bloeddorst included his short pantomime comic 'Lamia'. Between 15 May 2014 and 28 February 2015 Sam Peeters, Barbara Stok, Erik Wielaert, Bart Nijstad and Maria van Driel contributed to a comics project instigated by the Centrum Beeldende Kunst Groningen (CBK Groningen). The five selected artists illustrated various scenes from the town's rich history to the present times. Their sequential illustrations were on display at Groningen's Grote Markt.


'Het Laatste Station' #2.

Het Laatste Station
Between September 2007 and 2008 Wielaert worked with Willy Linthout ('Urbanus', 'The Year of the Elephant') on the humoristic police thriller 'Het Laatste Station'. The trilogy follows inspector Vandermeulen who is struck by bad luck. He and his colleagues don't get along, his car breaks down and his mother lives in a retirement home where she can't cope with the death of her husband. He tries to find a mysterious serial killer who calls himself "the Monk" and who conducts a killing spree in the red light district until Vandermeulen realizes he too is a personal target... The subplot around the suicide of Vandermeulen's father was motivated by Linthout's grief over his 21-year old son, who also committed suicide. 'Het Laatste Station' was notable as Linthout's first attempt at more serious and dramatic storywriting, as the cartoonist was previously best known for parody comics and his comedic comics series 'Urbanus' and 'Roboboy'. Linthout would later create the touching graphic novel 'Het Jaar van de Olifant' ('Years of the Elephant', 2007-2008), which expressed his grief over his son's untimely death more openly. Standaard Uitgeverij initially intended 'Het Laatste Station' as a diptych, but Linthout managed to persuade the publisher to make it a trilogy. This however resulted in a lower page rate for the third book, but Wielaert continued with the project because it was such an important story for Linthout to tell.

Other work
In 2006 a collection of Wielaert's black-and-white short stories from small press magazines was published by Sherpa under the title 'Nacht en Ontij'. Wielaert illustrated Stefan Nieuwenhuizen's text story 'Ans en Greet en de Geheime Deur' for comics magazine Parcifal, and made the illustrations for Minke van Dam's 'Sprookjes' (Noordhoff, 2016) and Richard Backers's juvenile educational book about pirates, 'Piraten' (Noordhoff, 2017). The artist is furthermore known for designing new year's cards, T-shirts, party posters and beer labels. Since March 2007 he hosts his own blog.

On 1 September 2011 an exposition of Wielaert's work opened in Galerie Lambiek on display throughout the entire month.

www.wielaert.nl

Series and books by Erik Wielaert in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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