Ray Gilles is one of the many cartoonists that were active in Belgium in the 1960’s, but whose name seems to have faded in the mists of time. He used a very detailed, almost precocious style that I automatically associate with the common commercial styles of that period : thin lines with heavy swatches of black, quite often combined with clip art and other cuttings.
I can honestly say that I haven’t found any information on him, except a very short profile in the 1964 anthology, The Laughing Drawing Pen, by Gaston Durnez :
Ray Gilles was born on Jun 15, 1923 in Leuven (Belgium), studied at the Academy in Mechelen, at the Antwerp Higher Institute for the Visual Arts in Antwerp and later at the Terkameren Higher Institute. He had expositions in Brussels, Antwerp and Liège and took part in collective shows in Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent, Mechelen, Molanwelz and Milan.
In 1961 he debuted with his cartoons on the Flemish Humour Festival (Salon van de Vlaamse Humor). He was asked to design a carpet for the Belgian Ministery of Economic Affairs and won the Prix La Métropole for young Antwerp painters. He contributed to magazines and periodicals like Tijd en Mens, Bouwen en Wonen, Summier, Art Abstrait and Kontrast.
Cartoons by Ray Gilles were published in [the Flemish daily] De Standaard, and he also designed books and magzines and theatre posters. His work is regularly bing published in Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Germany and Italy. [The German journal – WL] Gebrauchsgraphik showcased his art, and Swiss magazines heralded him as “a master of graphical humour”.
Gilles is currently preparing a collected publication of his cartoons and a study of color in painting. He is married to Stella van der Auwera, a painter, fabric designer and teacher at the Mechelen Academy.
The illustration above was taken from the story collection, Slalom, by that same Gaston Durnez (Heideland, 1963), as were the other illustrations after the click.
(all artwork © Heideland, 1963)