De Perfesser by Jan van der Aa

Jan van der Aa was a Belgian painter, poet and cartoonist who published under the pseudonym "Punt". As a comic artist he is best known for the 1970s stop comic 'De Perfesser'.

Early life and career
Van der Aa was born in 1927 in Hemiksem, Antwerp. His father was a warehouse clerk. He enjoyed painting and drawing from a young age and honed his skills through private lessons in drawing and painting for about a year. Among his graphic influences were Constant Permeke and Gustaaf De Smet. He went to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, but the outbreak of World War II in 1940 eventually caused the school to close down. Van der Aa went to work as an apprentic baker, a clerk with a printing firm and eventually was able to continue his clerk profession at his uncle's notary office. In his spare time he made paintings, drawings, woodcuts and lino-cuts. As a poet he wrote both for children as well as adults. In 2002 his poem 'Canvas' received the Prijs van de Vlaamse Vredesbeweging ("the Flemish Liberation Movement").

De Perfesser by Jan van der Aa

He spent all his spare time painting, drawing and making woodcuts and lino-cuts. He published his first cartoons under the pen name Punt in 1958. This pseudonym, which means "point" in Dutch, referred to the fact that he considered his work finished when he signed a "point" behind it. His cartoons appeared in magazines like Film en Televisie, Kerk en Leven and Raak. By sending in his cartoons to various international cartoon contests his work got noticed outside his country's borders too.

De Perfesser
He also made the stop-comic 'De Perfesser' in Straal, the two-weekly information magazine of the Christelijke Ziekenfondsen (Christian Medical Fund) in the 1970s. This pantomime comic featured a professor, albeit only in name, because most gags showed the character in situations outside a laboratory. 

Cartoon by Punt (Jan van der Aa)

Final years and death
In the 1980s Van der Aa's health deteriorated and he underwent two heart operations. Eventually he retired from his daytime job. The best part about it was that he could focus the rest of his life on artistic activities. He passed away in 2007 at the age of 80.

Legacy and books about Jan Van der Aa
The Jan Van der Aa lane in Hemiksem is named after him. For those interested in his work, Marcel Pira's 2000 biography, published by Antilope Art Books Publishers, is highly recommended.

Jan van der Aa

Series and books by Jan van der Aa in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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