22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Kaatje Vermeire

Portrait Kaatje Vermeire
© Ali Ghandtschi

Kaatje Vermeire was born in Ghent, Belgium in 1981. At the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, she initially studied Graphic Design and Advertising Design, then Graphic Art, to devote herself to her penchant for illustrations in experiments with techniques like woodcuts and etching.

Her first publication of book illustrations was »De Vrouw en het Jongetje« (2007; tr. The woman and the boy); the texts were contributed by Geert De Kockere. A year later, she received the Boekenpluim Prize (Belgium) and the White Raven Prize (Bologna, Italy); she won the latter prize again in 2011 and 2012. In 2009, Vermeire designed the picture book »Mannetje & vrouwtje krijgen een kind« (tr. Male and female have a baby) by Brigitte Minne. Vermeire’s charming illustrations, with their collage-like mixture of realistic and playfully naïve motifs, of color fields and detailed pencil sketches that also emphasize process, are a good fit for Minne’s poetic, succinct texts about the wonder of developing life. The picture book »Mare en de dingen« (tr. »Mare and the things) appeared in 2010 in collaboration with the author Tine Mortier. It is about the special relationship between a little girl and her grandmother, who helps Mare find her way back to life after an accident, because grandma is the only person who understands the girl. The story won the Grote Picturale Prijs of the Flemish city of Ronse (2010), the Bilderbuchpreis der Jury der Jungen Kritiker (2015); and in 2015, Deutschlandfunk radio chose the German edition of the story as one of the seven best children’s books. In 2008, as a guest blogger for »Villa Kakelbont«, Vermeire had already published »De V-vlucht van Otar« (tr. Otar’s V-flight) as a story with her own writing as well as illustrations. A Spanish translation was printed in 2010 with the title »El Vuelo en V de Otar«. A year later, Vermeire illustrated Leen van de Berg’s picture book »De vraag van Olifant« (tr. The question of the elephant) and answered the philosophical depths of the story with equally riddle-posing, but dreamily light pictures. Vermeire has said she has often experienced that a spontaneous sketch can capture what she wants to express better than illustrations in which she invests much blood, sweat, and tears. After collaborating with the writer Bas Rompa on the book »Japie de Stapelaar« (2012; tr. Jack the stacker), Vermeire most recently illustrated Giula Belloni’s story »Guarda che la luce e del cielo« (2013; tr. Look at the light and the sky) and in 2016 will be executing the visual design for a text by the famous Belgian author, Peter Verhelst.

Kaatje Vermeire lives in Wetteren, Belgium.