Kalissiehout by Jean-Claude Buytaert

Jean-Claude Buytaert is a Flemish artist and graphic artist, and one of the original members of the art collective Ercola from Antwerp since 1968. He is also known under his nickname "De Rosse".

Born in 1944, Buytaert got his artistic education at the Sint-Lukas School of Arts in Hasselt, and at the Antwerp Academy, where he studied Architecture. In November 1968, he co-founded Ercola, the Experimental Research Center of Liberal Arts, together with artist Jean-Claude Block, author Dominique Donnet and photographer Piet Verbist. Other artists joined the collective in the 1970s, such as Wally van Looy, Werner Goelen, Luk Carlens, Suzzy Bailleux and Georges Smits. Danny De Laet organized his first comics expositions in the Ercola studio in the Nieuwe Hondstraat in Antwerp in 1969. In 1972, Ercola moved to their new atelier and exhibition space in the Wolstraat. The group established itself as the main (and only) representative of the Flemish underground comix scene of the 1970s with their self-published comix magazine Spruit (six issues in 1971-1972), but was also active in other forms of artistic expression.

Illustration by Jean-Claude Buytaert

They produced cover illustrations for Real Free Press Illustratie, a publication of underground comix publisher Olaf Stoop from Amsterdam. Collective comic productions appeared in Aloha ('Johnny Kwatta & Sinister Agens'), Impact International, Spruit, Jos Vanhamme's Ding, Mimo, Tarantula, Gargl and Diepdruk. The group also made the book 'De Onthaarde Maagd' with writer/poet Marcel van Maele in 1972. Buyteart, who signed with "De Rosse", was responsible for psychedelic comics like 'Pic-Nic en Catfood' and 'Constant Haay' (with Block) in Spruit in 1971 and 1972, and for 'Martinne' in Gimmick. The group also made the book 'De Ont(h)aarde Maagd' with writer/poet Marcel van Maele in 1972. The artwork was provided by Block, Buytaert, Carlens and Goelen. In their collective productions, Buytaert was mostly responsible for the backgrounds, Block for the characters and Carlens for the inking. Buytaert self-published mini-comix like 'King Pong' (1970) and 'Brief Encounter' (1973). A collection of drawings appeared five years later under the title 'Evenlybody, 1973-1978: 24 tekeningen van De Rosse' (1978).

Ercola dropped most of its (collective) comics activities as early as 1972, and focused on other forms of artistic expression. The only member who moved on to become a professional comic artist was Werner Goelen (Griffo). The Ercola group has gained most notoriety for their sets for TV and theater productions, psychedelic graphic work, posters, silkscreens and advertisements.

Ercola, during an interview by Jan Smet for Ciso Stripgids (1977-1978). The man in the right corner below was not associated with Ercola: it's Humo cartoonist Kamagurka

Series and books by Jean-Claude Buytaert you can order today:


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