Day in the Life: Rinus Van de Velde

In Antwerp, we meet a wild child who never was—and hear how art allows him to lead a double life.

Back when Rinus Van de Velde was an ordinary teenager living in an ordinary village in rural Belgium, he saw something on television that would change what happened next. It was a biopic of Jean-Michel Basquiat, the prodigiously talented enfant terrible of New York’s ’80s art scene. “I realized that, apart from all the normality I saw [here], this was also a way that you could lead your life,” Van de Velde, who now lives in Antwerp, recalls. Born to a teacher mother and an engineer father, he had never met a bona fide artist before. Captivated by this televised portrayal of a tortured creative, he began to pretend to be such a man himself. In his bedroom, he’d quietly practice drawing—all the while fantasizing about the other, more exciting, life that he felt certain was ou...

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