Ray Gilles, The Forgotten Illustrator

Although we love our illustrators, established names even have a museum, sometimes one falls into oblivion. That's why it's up to the I Love Belgium team to re-establish a forgotten talent. Ray Gilles is one of those cartoonists that were active in Belgium in the 1960′s, but whose name seems to have faded in the mists of time.

Ray's style was very recognizable: fine lines were alternated with thick black areas, combined with a series of cutouts. A style that was very much appreciated leading to exhibitions in Brussels, Antwerp and Liège and collective shows in Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent, Mechelen, Molanwelz and Milan.

In 1961 he debuted with his cartoons on the Flemish Humour Festival. He was asked to design a carpet for the Belgian Ministery of Economic Affairs and won the Prix La Métropole for young Antwerp painters.  He contributed to magazines and periodicals like Tijd en Mens, Bouwen en Wonen, Summier, Art Abstrait and Kontrast. Cartoons by Ray Gilles were published in De Standaard, and he also designed books and magzines and theatre posters.  His work was regularly published in Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Germany and Italy.  Gebrauchsgraphik showcased his art, and Swiss magazines heralded him as “a master of graphical humour” (this paragraph is a short profile written by Belgian cultural journalist Gaston Durnez).

He was married to Stella van der Auwera, an abstract painter, fabric designer and teacher at the academy of Mechelen. Sadly enough, paintings and drawings got lost, were stolen or ended up in the bin. Our Belgian museum don't have works of this (commercial) mastermind and the ones left are in private collections. Still, online Ray Gilles can be reborn as an artistic mastermind!

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