Zen zonder meester by Frenk Meeuwsen
'Zen Zonder Meester'.

Frenk Meeuwsen is a Dutch painter and visualizer from Amsterdam. He works for commercial clients through the Roughmen agency, and didn't make his actual debut as a comic artist until 2017 with the spiritual graphic novel 'Zen Zonder Meester'. It was followed in 2020 by the semi-autobiographical 'Jaar Nul'.

Early life and comics career
Born in 1965, Meeuwsen joined Evert Geradts, Ben Jansen, Hanco Kolk, René Meulenbroek and Aloys Oosterwijk in their Studio Arnhem as an apprentice at age 19. During this period, he illustrated one short story, 'De Pavlov Reflex' by René Meulenbroek, which was published in the amateur comic magazine Coyote in 1986. It also appeared in the 2017 memorial book 'Terug naar Studio Arnhem'. Meeuwsen chronicled his time at the studio in a short comic story for the Studio Arnhem issue of comics news magazine Stripnieuws in August 2016.

De Pavlov Reflex by Frenk Meeuwsen
'De Pavlov Reflex'.

Meeuwsen didn't further pursue his career in comics, but instead picked up painting and illustrating. He later completed his artistic education at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy (1991-1995) and at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (1996-1997) in Amsterdam. He is also a practitioner of Eastern martial arts and has a black belt in karate.

'1 Jaar Studio Arnhem' (Stripnieuws #64, 2016)

His fascination for the philosophical thinking of the Far East led him to Japan in the mid-1990s, where he lived in the temple city of Kyoto. He has since exhibited his paintings in his home country and abroad. Meeuwsen furthermore works for commercial clients as a visualizer and storyboard artist through the Amsterdam-based Roughmen agency.

'What is the sound of one clapping hand?' (From: 'Zen Zonder Meester')

Zen Zonder Meester
He returned to the comics medium in the 2010s, when he started to chronicle his search for spirituality, truth, himself and the essence of Japan in short comic stories. Most stories take place in Japan, but the author also regularly revisits his youth in the Netherlands, with his father as his first guru. He applies a black-and-white drawing style strongly inspired by French artist David B. To Meeuwsen, "a drawing is like a Zen garden: wavy lines on snow-white paper." The 55 semi-autobiographical chapters are collected in the graphic novel 'Zen Zonder Meester' ("Zen Without a Master"), which was published by Sherpa in November 2017, and simultaneously in Germany at Avant Verlag as 'Zen ohne Meister'.

Jaar Nul
Meeuwsen's second graphic followed in 2020. The semi-autobiographical 'Jaar Nul' (Sherpa, 2020) gives an intimate, loving and humorous look in the life of a young father in his fifties. From the doubts in advance - Meeuwsen never wanted children before - and the heavy pregnancy with problematic delivery, to the pure practical issues of preparing the nursery, changing diapers and the well-intended advise of friends. Still, the book never becomes heavy-handed, and shows the bearded biker from his softest side!

'Zen Zonder Meester' was presented in Amsterdam-based comics shop Lambiek on 24 November 2017.


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