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aka gert paenen

Born in Antwerp, Gert Paenen studied illustration at Berchem Fine Arts Academy, but moved to France right after that. He started up a bed & breakfast in Burgundy. During his stay in France he continued experimenting and drawing and so, the first illustrations, prints and cards were created. Starting out in a rural area was a challenge and Gert’s illustrations were sold under the name of Fabrique Bakelite on markets, local art shops and at exhibitions (both solo and with the Morvan Artistique collective). After coming back to Antwerp, Gert didn’t follow the standard path, creating illustrations for others but rather created his own world of images, which he sells as prints and cards in his own little art and vintage shop ‘Galerie Frits’. Not ‘another creative effort’ in a quiet back street, Galerie Frits opened in 2019 in the middle of the touristic center. You might have seen Gert’s work before as they were featured in a 4 pages spread in Citta (Gazet van Antwerpen), and he recently made illustrations for Natagora.

THE BEFORE AND AFTER

THE PRINCIPLES OF FRITS

Galerie Frits was founded on some basic but important principals:

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local design : Well it can't get any more local than this: Shop owner = illustrator ... it's all created in-house. When you buy a print, a gift or a card here, you know it is made in Antwerp, in limited quantities.

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locally printed : The artwork, cards and gifts are printed in Europe. Maybe it's not the cheapest solution but it does keep Frits' ecological footprint as low as possible.

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sustainability : Frits sells vintage, and although carefully selected, all of these items are second hand. With buying second hand vintage, you help the environment, and at the same time, you'll get something original, and different homeware and decoration. Not that you want to make your friends jealous ...
 
While these 3 principales form the base of Frits' collection, there had to be a shop. Call it luck, or faith, but the cutest place in the touristic centre of Antwerp was available. A little shop behind the cathedral, in a building dating back to the early 1600's. The distressed back wall is even older, it's the foundation for the 'new' cathedral which, was never build. This wall it around 500 years old.

In november 2019 Gert worked weekends and evenings to get it all freshened up and finished in time, all thanks to the help of friends and family. In December 'Galerie Frits' opened it's doors for the public.

the independant artist shop

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