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Ward’s narrative work—countless zines, Wolven (23), Ik kom van ver, maar blijf niet lang (24)—often play out in unnamed locations, far from the city. People walk around in abandoned and neglected streets. Great mountains of rubbish lie heaped up on vacant lots, car wrecks remain in the street, walls are always covered in graffiti tags. The artist creates a melancholy and desolate melting pot in which characters wander, lost, in search of themselves: ‘It’s so easy to get lost as a teenager, especially when there’s nowhere to go.’ ('Wolven', p7)

These places were constructed by combining childhood memories and reference material from books (see: Bukowski & Co), found on the internet (see: Internet) or in films (see: Gummo & Co), resulting in a hybrid location midway between the Kempen region in Flanders and American suburbia. In 'Wolven', for the first time this place was given a name: Hazenberg ('Hare Hill'). In a sense, almost every place that Ward drew is a version of this village. Besides the Kempen influence, some Latvian references also seeped into 'Ik kom van ver, maar blijf niet lang' (24), after Ward went on a month-long residence in Riga through 'kuš!' (69), to work on the book.

The locations are somehow separated from reality. Where the stories take place exactly is not important, because streets emanate a universal vibe, which the reader recognises from their own experience or from popular culture.

  • (23) Wolven ('Wolves') - Enzo Smits and Ward Zwart. Bries: Antwerp, 2016. Second print run, 2020. Translated into French as Wolven - Même Pas Mal: Marseille, 2018.
  • (24) Ik kom van ver, maar blijf niet lang ('I Have Travelled Far, But Won't Stay Long') — Enzo Smits and Ward Zwart. Bries: Antwerp, 2020. Second print run, 2021.
  • (69) kuš! —publisher and organiser in Riga, Latvia: 2007-present.