Brussels has always been a fertile ground for the image and imagery. The capital is a veritable hotbed of creativity. Graphic arts in the broadest sense of the word play a major part in this, with comic strips featuring prominently.
Countless Belgian and international illustrators have trained in Brussels’ schools. They often decide to settle here after their studies, bringing with them their creativity and dynamism. Exhibition spaces, artists' collectives, printing workshops, micro-publishers, creative agencies, graphic studios... occasionally combined with charming shops, are dotted throughout the capital. The city's calendar is also full of events for all those who love the art: Pictures festival, Artists Print by Brass, le festival du Fanzine, designer markets... In short, the printed image is everywhere in Brussels, and here are just a few of the most iconic addresses that are well worth a visit.
Spaces dedicated to the printed image
Calaveras means "skulls" in Spanish. These are important in Mexican imagery and are often associated with the country's culture. It is, therefore, not surprising that in addition to Belgian artists, the gallery offers a beautiful showcase for Mexican graphic art talents. In its boutique, Calaveras stocks a fine selection of serigraphs, engravings, photographs and original printed works.
The Crypte tonique is a must for those who love images, whether literary, mental or plastic. Founder Philippe Capart is an expert of the history of comic strips and narrative processes. The Crypte Tonique is a bookshop, a space for reflection but also a place for writing. Indeed, La Crypte Tonique publishes a high-flying eponymous magazine.
Wie zit er aan de knoppen van de programmering voor Sterput? At the helm of Sterput's events programme is non-profit E², which is made up of about twenty volunteers and promotes emerging and established alternative artists through exhibitions and gatherings. It also specialises in the micro-scale publishing of fanzines, posters, postcards and books. Throughout the year, you can take part in workshops whose sole aim is to stimulate your creativity and open you up to various techniques. These are sometimes available for children from the age of 3 upwards.
A space dedicated to illustration, whose mission is to pass on knowledge and know-how. It hosts the creative worlds of young Belgian and international talents. Here you can buy numerous creations and graphic novels but also learn various techniques thanks to their in-house workshops. Grafik also organises exhibitions, previews and meetings with young artists. They're a wonderful opportunity to chat with Grafik's founder, Leticia Sere.
The brains behind this address are Ben, a graphic designer and silkscreen artist, and Esther, a communications consultant. Image Fantôme is a creative agency and a silkscreen workshop, but not only that. In 2019, Esther and Ben had the bright idea of combining their agency with a shop dedicated to printed images using all types of media and techniques. They regularly organise exhibitions and workshops.
Moirés is just a stone's throw from the Grand-Place. Conceived by Gabrielle, it feels like it has been plucked straight out of the arty neighbourhoods of Brooklyn. A wealth of creativity adorns its brick walls. Silkscreen prints, risograph prints, engravings... Moirés highlights the various techniques of the printed image. Belgian and international illustration talents have found a beautiful setting here. It should be noted that Gabrielle, also an artist, organises risograph workshops here.
Tandemm defines itself as a curious stationery shop. You can indeed find all the classics of a stationery shop (cards, notebooks, diaries, accessories, drawing utensils, etc.) but with an additional, original touch. The selection reflects a true artistic sensibility and you will undoubtedly find poetic gems to gift. Tandemm is also a graphic studio, specialised in the creation of visual identity and an exhibition space.
Other places to find designs and illustrations
Belge une fois: concept store dedicated to Belgian creation with a touch of local humour.
Blender 01: clothes shop with a beautiful selection of prints.
Candide: independent bookshop which organises exhibitions and meet-and-greets with illustrators.
Hopono: concept store selling artisan fashion accessories and home decoration items.
Mima (shop): the shop of Brussels’ art 2.0 museum.
Parpaing bxls: sustainable design and artisan art.
Plaizier: postcard paradise, that’s bursting with Belgian character.
Rascasse: tattoo parlour run by Elodie and Faustine, two tattoo artists, illustrators and comic book authors. They also host exhibitions with other artists.
Sanlémo: travelling Brussels gallery dedicated to the printed image, publishing and objects.