Jan Vankeerberghen (Anderlecht, 9 May 1983) is a versatile Belgian artist and teacher.
He has lived many musical lives in his 35 years. As a saxophone player, keyboardist and songwriter in Zonko, he helped set the stage for World Pop. He has a rich and varied oeuvre as a painter and illustrator. On top of that, Jan is also held in high regard as a composer and educator. He is a master in audio-visual arts, received from the Sint-Lukas art college in Brussels. Jan is a pupil of Geerard Alsteens, better known as 'GAL', political draughtsman and painter and Philip Aguirre y Otegui, sculptor and painter. During his secondary studies, the love of painting arose in the lessons of Nora Theys and Paul Sarens.
PAINTING AND MUSIC
Jan grew up as the youngest of three in a bilingual family near Halle, a town to the south of Brussels. Nearly everyone in his family played an instrument and he learned to play the saxophone in a wind orchestra, and piano at the local music academy.
With his classical education complete, he moved to the world of rock and World Pop. As a child Jan acted in several Belgian films such as 'Daens' by Stijn Coninckx, 'Character' by Mike Van Diem and 'Mon père des jours pairs' by André Chandelle. In the early 2000’s he joined several local bands; Zonko was the most successful. He wrote the music for most of their songs and played the sax in the band. The compositions referenced the minimalist music of Wim Mertens among others.
At heart, Jan is a painter. His love for painting started during a school trip when he was introduced to the works of the Belgian abstract artist Felix De Boeck and met the artist. He decided to pursue his love of creating by studying at Sint-Lukas Brussels at getting a master in audio visual arts. As his final project, he created a short animation film. When he needed music for his project, he worked with Wim Mertens who gladly helped.
His visual art mostly comprises drawings, water colours and paintings. He paints in oil, often inspired by nature and always from within the depths of himself. His portraits express the range of human moods and feelings.
The style of Jan’s latest paintings is abstract expressionism and lyrical abstraction. The oils on canvas are structurally balanced. They are composed by movements, lines and brushstrokes and painted with intention. At the same time, they are also steeped in the abstract expressionist freedom of space and improvisation and the use of placing points and lines as well as space and composition. He is now internationally active and is represented by several galleries.
Throughout the years he has also illustrated several books. His art is also used in the fashion industry, mostly as prints for children’s and women’s clothing.
Despite a fulltime day job as a teacher of art and music at a local high school, he still found time for several solo projects. In 2010, Jan performed for the Belgian royal family in Kortrijk. Two years later he composed the music for a performance by the ballet group Ballerino. They were invited to perform at the royal palace in Brussels for the 20th anniversary of the Queen Paola foundation. In the same year he also performed in the Brussels parliament and the Antwerp City concert hall for the King Baudoin foundation.
He released several CDs and toured the cultural centres with a cabaret programme. In 2013 he had a national hit with the song ‘Zeg maar dag’. In this period, he also started composing for film and theatre.
Through the years his music became more influenced by minimalism and contemporary classic and experimental music. He’s left cabaret behind and joined postmodernism. His rhythmic ideas come from world music and other folk influences. His music has a strong melodic foundation. Jan and his ensemble now mainly play his instrumental compositions. Human voices occasionally appear in his work but mostly his compositions are performed by orchestras or an instrumental ensemble.