Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimizu

Award winning Japanese illustrator based in New York City and instructor at School of Visual Arts.

Netherlands and Belgium in 12 days: 4 cities, 2 lectures, 3 days of workshops, and many more FUN

Just got back from a 12 day business trip (includes a short weekend getaway) in the Netherlands and Belgium.
The main reason of the trip was to speak at FITC Amsterdam conference and to run one day drawing workshop.
Then the trip got expanded to visiting art school HKU in Utrecht for two days of workshops and one free event after FITC was finished.  Then at the end, I added a few days to travel with a friend down to Antwerp and Ghent in Belgium, mainly to catch acclaimed picture book artist Carll Cneut‘s solo exhibition In My Head where the artist moved his studio in the museum during the duration of the exhibit, and to meet him.
Here is a quick photolog of the trip.


One day drawing workshop during FITC Amsterdam with 18 enthusiastic participants. Some of them came all around Europe, some even from US and Chile! We just drew all day long, non-stop.

lecture at the main room during FITC AmsterdamSome from my slides from the talk

Utrecht is a small canal city near Amsterdam, which has a different, more low key charm. HKU is an art school located here, where I had two full day workshop and an evening of open-to-public free talk event. 

Ghent, Belgium
when I started planning the trip to Amsterdam last fall, I realized illustrator Carll Cneut was having a large show In My Head in Ghent starting December. I had known his work for years, since I bought one of his picture books in France during illustrators’ annual new year trip about 7 years ago, and had been taking the book to show to my SVA students every school-year since. I asked him if I came by to his show he would be willing to meet with me (I made sure to tell him that I am not a stalker), and he said YES!
A good friend in Amsterdam has been telling me for years she wants to come with me to Antwerp (because we both love Antwerp Six), so we decided to take a trip together to both cities over a long weekend.
It turned out to be the best decision I made. Ghent is a picturesque medieval town, but not a tourist trap like some other similar cities. We got to see Carll’s show, and he took us around to a long walk during sunset.  (oh and, of course got my books autographed!).
If you are interested in the exhibit, it is still going on till May 10th.

the photo above was taken during my long morning run. The town was just so beautiful, I ran much longer than I normally would in a morning.

Owning Carll’s book for about 7 years, then planning this trip since September, I finally met him in person. Yay.
He has moved his whole studio to the museum during the duration of the exhibition. Which is great for the visitors, but in reality, he said he can’t really work with constant visitors, so end up working after-hours at home. That is so generous of him to do that, considering I won’t even accept studio visits. I can’t really work with people around.
Many of Carll’s original acrylic paintings and drawings are on display. After I planned this trip, I read on internet: ‘if you have to choose between Ghent and Bruges, go to Ghent’. Now I know why. It’s just a picture perfect gem.and, as we were leaving, I couldn’t help myself taking many pictures of amazing-looking train station ceiling.