About: Jur. Vanstaen

I came to this world in a little village called Laren, close to Amsterdam and in the heart of a famous hairdresser family. It was my grandfather, Maurice Vanstaen, who started the legacy in Brussels at the end of the 19th century. Some years later he made his career in Paris where he became 6 times in a row Champion Mundial de Coiffure (World Champion Hairstyler) during the first decade of the 20th century. One of his clients was the famous cabaret performer Mata Hari who's hair he couped and dyed with Henna during her career. War drove them apart until destiny brought them back together in Amsterdam when she offered him refuge in her house in Amsterdam. Some say they where lovers some say they were just friends but it was due to her that my grandfather decided to stay and live in Holland and started a family. He married a Henriette almost 15 younger then him who gave birth to 5 children from who 3 became hairdressers at a certain time in there lives. My dad, Henri Vanstaen, is one of them. When I was still very young some quite impressive experiences started shaping my childhood. First, at the age of 2, I appeared in the movie picture Traffic, by the famous French movie director Jacques Tati, friend and colleague of my dad and my grandfather. Soon after that I was struck twice with meningitis and at the age of 4 there came an end to the happy family life style when my parents got divorced. I smoothly went through primary school and just before starting secondary, at the age of 12, I was invited to travel to Sri Lanka the Pearl of Asia within an exchange program for kids by the Novib a development cooperation organization. This experience shaped the constant desire in me to discover, explore and to experience other countries and cultures in my body and skin. After high school I went studying Graphic Design and Art Education at the HKU in Utrecht and graduated in 1995 as professor in Visual Arts and Design. Before finishing my final thesis I moved to Madrid for a 1 year Erasmus exchange program at the Academy of Art/Bellas Artes at the Facultad de San Fernando de la Universidad de Cumplutense. I soon fell in love with Spain its people and the culture and changed Holland for Madrid as home and operational base. In 1999, after 4 years as a professional artist I took a year off to travel around Asia. I visited most of South east Asia and Austroalia and finally ended up living for 2 and half years in New York dedicating myself to visual art, design and other artistic activities. After 9/11 I needed a break from Brooklyn N.Y. and went for 6 months to Mexico, Cuba and other Central American Countries to finally ending up in Bocas del Toro in the Norht of Panama. Money ran out and time was ripe to head back home in Brooklyn. New York only lasted another 3-4 months untill I decided to go back home to Spain. In Madrid since 2004 and up to today I have been working on my career as Visual Artist and Designer and set up a small product Design Company called "Cheek to Cheek Productions" (www.ch2ch.com) and started some occasional art teaching at a local orphanage in Marrakesh Morocco.

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