Biography Yves Decoster (1956) Academie of fine arts Antwerp , Belgium.
My first visual memory is of the garden that was behind our house with a little door in the fence. I had the feeling that I wanted to go through it but it was not allowed.
Behind that door was a world that I wanted to discover. That world was green , the green of nature.
I was three years old then.
My parents were always moving and I remember that our antique furniture had to go in a big truck to be transported to another village or town, to another beautiful house with a garden of green spaces. I loved the furniture my parents had, with the wooden sculptures, the designs and the different forms. As a child I was discovering my world.
When I was ten or eleven years , we moved again, this time to a village on the coastal side of Belgium , St.-Idesbald. Our house stood tree hundred meters from the seashore and it was a paradice for me, my brothers and my sister.
When we entered the empty house , I saw ceramic vases and plates everywhere that had been left by the owner. They had simple designs, and were aesthetic and monochromatic. It was a strange and beautiful sensation, the sensation of emptiness, of big surroundings and simplicity. It was in this house that I met, through my parents, a retired director of the art academy of the city of Boom.
His name was George Vercruysse. He lived in the same village with his wife nicknamed “Clemmeke”, in a beautifully transformed , old fisherman's house with a huge garden in the dunes.
The rooms were small with low ceilings, full of art, sculptures and books. The windows were small and double, one on the inside and one on the outside. A small corridor led to a newly build studio full of paintings and the smell of turpentine. It was the first time I saw a painter's studio and from then on , there was no turning back for me. He was a painter and a sculptor who gave my first lessons in drawing. I spend much time there , learned a lot and sometimes stayed for dinner.
In the same village were many other artists, all different, all with strong characters and I met them all trough Georges.
In the nearby town of Veurne, I met Paul Delvaux, a surrealist painter of the same generation as René Magritte. He was famous for his paintings of train stations with naked woman . I went to his house for an autograph. It was 1970, I was fourteen years old and collecting stamps.
During that period I was often on my own and the surroundings were my playground. I went for long walks on the vast , empty beach looking for shells, searching for leaves and plants in the dunes and drying them between the pages of books . I rode several kilometers on my bicycle to school enjoying the environment. Everything felt perfect.
After four years , we moved again! Now we were going inland, to the city of my parents, the city of Mechelen.
Again , it was a period to readapt, having experienced the freedom of the coast. Studies were difficult until I was moved to another school where I started to learn publicity drawing. Once again, I met a good, old-school professor, whose lessons were very intense but with a lot of diversity. We had to learn everything, but on the other hand, he did stimulate us to have our own ideas and to be creative. Thes studies helped me to enter the Academy of Arts in Antwerp for four years of freedom, self-discipline, and the discovery of a big city, museums, galleries, nightlive, people and sexuality.
In 1978 , I became an adult with a diploma and a new friend.
After a sabbatical year of doing nothing, my friend and I started a company in publicity and decoration. For ten years we criss-crossed the whole of the country working for various clients, executing all kinds of work that included publicity, photography and window-dressing. During this time , I also started to do freehand artwork which I exhibited in different cities.
In 1982, we came for the first time to the Azores, where we fell in love with the island of São Miguel. In 1988, we moved there. Slowly we started to integrate ourselves, to know the people and to learn the language. Because I had brought a lot of my drawings, I asked to do an exhibition in a gallery, wich , at that time was situated under the city hall of Ponta Delgada. This was 1990. The response was beyond my imagination and I discovered that the people of São Miguel loved art.
The result of this was that I was very stimulated to create new works and I have not stopped.
I do hope there is an evolution in my work and that in the years to come, this evolution will continue. Explaining my work is very difficult because I work instinctively and in waves of inspiration. I see my art as an easthetic in search of a certain beauty, a feeling, a sensation, even a literary line, all with a touch of eroticism.