What made me get into printing

by Stef

Born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1970, Stef was raised in the family’s reputable printing house,
Drukkerij Jacobs, which had been established since 1906.
It was during his childhood that he developed a sense and passion for graphic development
and design and learnt the importance of books, being surrounded by language, text, and
lithography in lead and wood from a young age. Besides organizing letters and lines on
immaculate white pages and hand drawing minimalist logos, Stef worked on every machine
and carried out every task that would prepare him to become a future printing expert.
In the modernisation of the printing house, a Mac became a necessary equipment to hasten
the design process, and it was through a colleague that Stef learnt the basics of Quark
Xpress, Illustrator and Photoshop programmes. From there on, Stef proceeded to focus on
designing, but after 3 years as a graphic designer, the hunger to escape the perceived rules
of how to create a perfect page, inspired him to create his first canvas - an attempt to break
away from traditional graphic mathematics and any limitations of forms and colours.
So pencils, brushes and paints together with handmade, wooden letters his grandfather had
used professionally for years became the new norm on the studio floor. Stef believes that his
work should ignite people’s imaginations to take them into a fantasy world. The way he
paints is unique. It is a slow process as the outcome can never be foreseen, never controlled
by any action and is done layer over layer, only by using pure and basic colors.
Stef had clearly touched a nerve in the art world as his first canvas was purchased
immediately it was finished in 1995, quickly followed by each piece he created. As the
creation process is slow, there was never time or enough work to show to a broader
audience.  
After a while Stef chose to take time out of production for a couple of years to focus on
research and improvement. It was during this time that another fantasy came true with the
debut of his first public exhibition aptly entitled “Fantasy Triggers by Stef” in 2020 in
Antwerp, Belgium. The exhibited works consisted of 12 paintings, 3 (usable) helmets and a
couple of skateboards.
Such was the reception that a second and third exhibition followed suit with support from SCAPA,
a Belgium-based major international high-end
fashion and home decorating brand that truly encompasses Stef’s philosophy of life to be
adventurous, be daring, escaping from every day rules and limitations.
Stef’s latest fantasy world has now evolved into sculptures, and thus, “L’Ecurie de
Marcelo” was born. In cooperation with Marcelo, the sculptor, Stef
has created a make belief stable of unique horses, each with their own names and breeding
programmes.
Stef’s main studio is located in Sotogrande, Spain but he travels to both rural and urban
locations on different continents, to apply their specific influences to achieve each individual
distinctive character that every bloodline in the ”L’Ecurie de Marcelo” project needs.