I was born as the oldest son in a working family in the ‘Rupel’ region in Flanders, Belgium.
I have been creative from my childhood on. Comic books drawn with pencil (e.g. Storm of the fantastic Don Lawrence) or own ones ... the first paintings with water colours of animals and flowers and sketches ... many drawings and sketches.
I was a dreamy, timid child who was busy with creative activities and who retreated into self-built fantasy worlds with Lego and Play Mobil.
During my teens I discovered the computer and almost stopped drawing. I was fascinated by those bits and bytes and especially by games. Not only to play but also to make them myself. Many hours were spent drawing in graphic software and programming game engines to show 2D figures on screen in 256 colours (VGA 320 x 200 someone?). In itself, a very creative process with many artistic aspirations and challenges: the first digital steps as it were.
But then you come to an age where you have to start thinking about your later career and life. The creative drive was still there so I dreamed to go to the art academy and become a real artist. That was not my parents' choice of course. Something about 'a real job' etc. So it was the logical choice to follow an A1 graduate Information Technology program that I graduated with distinction.
During this study I was working hard on developing games and I had aspirations to get started in the game industry. Unfortunately this sector was as good as non-existent in Belgium and existed mainly in America or Great Britain. I was able to get the interest of an English company with some demo’s and had the opportunity to go to a job interview somewhere near London. But in the end it did not matter. Too timid and inexperienced to explore the world at that age and travel to London. Also financially it was not evident to make such a trip. So the dream was quickly abandoned.
After my studies I was able to start working as a consultant at the renowned firm Anderson Consulting (now Accenture) - one of the big 5 consultancy companies at that time (and still is by the way). A new world opened to me. There I stood. The timid dreamer who suddenly went to play the consultant, I honestly had no idea. It was in any case a decision that changed my life thoroughly. I learned a lot of skills that I absolutely did not see at school and I became more open as a person.My career as an IT consultant went well. It were busy and long days with a lot of expectations and challenges. Which I didn’t mind but it meant I did not have time, energy or interest to be really creative - neither on paper nor on screen.
However the 'artistic feeling' and 'urge for expression' never really went away so I decided to follow a part-time art education course at the Royal Academy of Arts in Antwerp (Belgium).
From the moment I entered the classroom and I smelled the oil paint I knew this was what I always wanted to do ...
After four years of studying at the academy I graduated with a degree and a lot of gained life experience. Experiences that once again changed my life. Going to the academy with all those different kinds of people and thoughts changed my vision of life in a positive way! I also indirectly met my beloved wife "Geke" through the academy ... that happy event alone was already worth the effort and energy. She was the cherry on the proverbial artistic cake.
Meanwhile I was still an IT consultant. After working for 8 years I took another important decision in consultation with my wife. I became an independent and started my own company "Sedacrivity", offering IT consultancy to small and large organizations. Technical IT consultancy eventually proved to be a passion as well and it was also clearly appreciated by my customers. Being self-employed was therefore a logical decision to gain more control over my professional life and it also gave me more freedom to work with art.
All these years I continued to be artistic but the emphasis was mainly on IT consultancy. Being self-employed gives some freedom but also brings a lot of responsibilities.
And of course life goes on as well …
After many years of living together at an apartment in Antwerp, my wife and I finally took the step of buying an old house in Sint-Niklaas. After a thorough renovation and hard work for many years there was time again to think about my artistic aspirations.
The IT evolution had not stopped in the meantime and a lot of commercial artistic work (think of posters, game art, etc.) was being made digitally. Something I had been doing as well for a while now. The Internet had become an all-around medium where you can find a huge amount of information about any topic. There are a lot of online courses and after some searching I decided to follow the online course 'How to become a better artist' as I was still struggling with my artistic aspirations. This six-week course given by 'Robert Chang' once again changed my artistic life. This course made me realize that I was missing the foundations, regardless of the discipline or medium, the basic skills remain the same and should be practiced and studied thoroughly.
In our own house there was a place to set up an own atelier, so in addition to digital work I also started painting traditional oil paintings again. I didn’t find the time or energy for doing that for many years but it was like the rediscovery of a great love. Throughout the online course I was also studying the subject of painting. I read all the online information I could get my eyes upon and eventually bought one of the best books on this subject ... Alla Prima by Richard Schmid. A new world opened once again to me. I began to paint more and more portraits and found a new passion. Through the study and the online course I also understood that I still lacked the basis for painting the human body.
After a positive visit to the open door days at the academy in Sint-Niklaas I decided to take the next step and thus I am currently following a 'Model Drawing' course at the academy with the teacher Benny Luyckx. This training allows me to work on my skills for capturing the human body.
My artistic aspirations and eagerness to learn are bigger than ever. So I am looking forward to the future to come …
With artistic greetings,
Steven De Saeger