“Kukuxumusu is the only brand I return to regularly”
Frank Daenen (Bree, Belgium, 1979) is a picture book maker brought up in the country of Tintin, . He kew Kukuxumusu during a visit to Barcelona and loved it. “I like when drawings or stories are on the edge, not politicaly correct”, he explains to us from Meeuwen, a little town 80 kilometers far from Brussels.
What do you like most about Kukuxumusu?
I like the illustration style of Kukuxumusu, its sense of humour, the ideas and the fact that the shirts are bold. I like when drawings or stories are on the edge, not politically correct.
This interview takes place a few days after the Paris attacks on the 13th November. How do you feel about it?
I feel anger. I try not to feel fear. I try to enjoy the things we have always done. As an illustrator, I can only express this feeling by keeping doing what I do: make children’s books and showing the kids a nicer world than the world they are apparently living in.
Among the many characters and drawings of Kukuxumusu, which one is your favourite?
I like the ones with the sheep and of course the classic ‘Citrosis’ t-shirt: it makes me laugh!
Any other brands you are fond of?
Not really, I just buy the things I like, no matter what brand it is. I think Kukuxumusu is the only brand I return to regularly.
Kukuxumusu is a bask word meaning “the kiss of a flea”? What does it mean to you?
The name says it all. For me, Kukuxumusu is a way to connect to people who have the same sense of humour.
Do Belgians share our sense of humour?
Of course they do. Belgians have a great sense of humour. Maybe we are a little bit reserved but we’re not serious at all, you only have to get to know us better. In fact, Belgium is a very inspiring place to live.
Tell us a bit about your country, then.
Belgians are proud of the great stuff they have like chocolate, beers, cheeses, french fries, mussels, waffles,… We have a great soccer team, great fashion designers, excellent musicians, dancers, artists, comic book makers,…
You work mainly with children. How do they behave in your workshops?
A few months a year I’m on the road to visit schools and libraries in Belgium and The Netherland. During these visits I tell stories from my books, sing songs, play guitar and show toddlers how to draw simple illustrations. Children are very honest, candid and great to work with. I learn a lot from the stories they tell and the comments they give during the workshops.
Which places do really inspire you?
I love walking in the pinewoods and the sand dunes around Meeuwen, where I live with my family. Belgian cities like Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp, are also inspiring. A place I have recently discovered in the south of The Netherlands, called Zealand… and of course, Barcelona. Who doesn’t like Barcelona?
Do you have any pets?
A cat called Joepiter (my youngest son always called planet Jupiter “Joepiter” or “Joepie-ter” wich means Yippee-ter in Dutch) and a young Berner Sennen dog called Olaf.
Which is the last item you bought at our online shop?
I was looking for a black long sleeve t-shirt and when I saw the one with a batman logo made out of a lot of bats I had to buy it.