Interview with Artist Joe Ganech
Self-taught artist Joe Ganech has had a love affair with art since he was a child. A lifelong anglophile, inspiration struck Joe whilst in Nottinghamshire, and in late 2016 he began creating a collection of colourful, imaginative paintings inspired by the history of the county. With his work to be sold at Nottingham Tourism Centre from September 19th, we caught up with Joe to discuss his work and inspirations
VN: Tell us a little about yourself and your background as an artist…
My background as an artist is quite unusual. I worked for twenty years in a luxury hotel in Brussels, which left very little time for art in general. Since I was a child I always adored art – I drew a lot, read a lot of comics and had a very imaginative inner world. I think it may have been because I was an only child – my imagination saved me from long and boring afternoons, which I filled with drawing.
I had to stop working in the hotel business and I started training in creative software. I immediately loved it! After years of frustration without creating due to the lack of time I had at the hotel, here I finally find a path, an artistic way that I liked and that really fulfilled me.
This training did not last very long, only one or two weeks, just enough time to learn the basics. But I knew in myself that I was going to continue and never stop. Passion was born and nothing could stop it. So, I’m a self-taught artist who perfectly understands what frustrations there are when you want to express yourself artistically, but a job prevents letting you create.
This is my background, that of someone who measures the happiness and importance of a creation. I enjoy every second.
“Who has not wanted to live with Robin and his companions in the forest of Sherwood? I dreamed, like many other children, sharing these adventures with Robin. The character of Robin Hood is timeless, it remains so today because of his morals and his behaviour resonate with us all.” – Joe Ganech
VN: Your paintings are gorgeous with a mysterious, ethereal quality to them. Do you know where you find your inspiration, or is it a mystery in itself?
Already I thank you very much for loving my creations. If I’m honest, I really do not know where this mysterious side of my creations comes from, I think it’s really part of me. When I create, it’s like I am in a meditation, a second state of concentration that is very difficult to explain. I believe that this state is what allows me to create what I present to the public, I let myself be guided by my instinct. Al of this is very subjective, and to tell the truth I do not care too much to understand, but more about creating and sharing with others.
VN: Your work includes some references to other cultural icons, are there any particular famous folk that you admire?
Yes many, I love England enormously and I do not say it just to please you, it is the truth. I love the historical and contemporary British characters. I believe that this passion for your country must certainly come from television series that I watched as a child. I grew up in the 70s and at that time many British series were broadcast on Belgian TV, I remember Black Beauty, The Prisoner, The Avengers, and many others… all this universe fascinated me and I said to myself what a wonderful country England must be. If you add the songs Queen, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and all those mystic groups that my mom listened to, you can imagine the impact that your country had on me.
I love the Victorian era, its atmosphere, the buildings. I really have many icons, but more than an icon it is your country in general that really fascinates me. It may seem strange to English person who lives and was born in England, but sometimes there is no explanation for what one does not understand, and it is better so. Without knowing why, when I am in England I finally feel at home.
“I tried to capture the moment that connects us to those images buried in our memories of childhood. The whirling of the carousel, the wooden horses, the pipe organ. We could almost hear the music now if you listen, immersing us in this festive and unforgettable haunting air of our childhood.” – Joe Ganech
VN: Lots of students come to Nottingham to study art, and the creative scene here is getting stronger and stronger. Do you have any advice for those wanting to become successful artists?
The only advice I can humbly give them is to work, work and still work- this is the whole secret!
Create something every day, even if it does not seem good to you, or it is not very serious one day it will become so. Never be discouraged, never give up – even if things do not go as you wish. You are responsible for your successes and failures, do not blame anyone else. Be passionate about what you do, without passion nothing is possible – with passion, you are already a winner!
Do not deceive the public by making works that do not really represent who you are. Be courageous even if others do not understand, the important thing is to get your inner world into the outside world, by being truly yourself.
Listen to your teachers even if their visions are not yours, do not be arrogant. Remain humble and love to learn every day. Never forget who you are and what you want to share with others.
The best gift that art brings you is contact with people from different countries and cultures – it is always extraordinary to see people from completely different backgrounds trying to talk about the canvas that they observe, when 5 minutes before they dared not talk to each other.
I believe these humble tips will help one way or another.
“For many Nottingham residents, the annual Goose Fair is a playground of nostalgia reuniting young and old with a sense of fun. In this creation, I wanted to emphasise the timelessness of this special event for the people of Nottingham.” – Joe Ganech
VN: Your work is available in many formats, from prints to rugs to clothing. Tell us more about your prints at Nottingham Tourism Centre?
It is an honour to be represented at the Nottingham Tourism Centre. The creations that are presented are those of Robin Hood, Goose Fair and Lord Byron of the emblematic characters of Nottingham. I am very lucky to count among my friends Marysia Zipser, who is my promoter and who is an extraordinary person, she and her son Marcus Gilmore are passionate about art and especially the beautiful city of Nottingham. For me it is a great joy to be a part of the Nottingham artists despite the fact that I am not a native of the city, I love its atmosphere and those people who are the soul of its past and its future.
The creations that are presented at the Nottingham Tourism Centre are immense pride to me, as if I were part of this beautiful community.
Thank you Joe for sharing your work and thoughts on creativity, inspiration, and Nottingham.
To see more of Joe’s work, pop down to Nottingham Tourism Information Centre on 1-4 Smithy Row, or check out Joeganech.com