Almost all of Ward’s zines, books, music and drawings contain inexplicable magical events which transcend reality. We find overlaps with folk tales, talking animals and magic realism in literature and film (see: Bukowski & Co, ‘Gummo & Co’, Ensor, Haas & Gaai).
One recurring reference point is the popular 1990s TV series 'The X-files' (85). The programme is explicitly mentioned in Wolven (23), 'Moon' (86), and other works. Indirectly, the theme of the extra-terrestrial or supernatural is even more prevalent. The iconic quote, ‘The truth is out there’, resonates throughout many of Ward’s drawings. Often, these supernatural events function as a visualisation of the inner world of characters. They emphasise their estrangement from 'the real world', or accentuate their position with respect to what is ‘normal’ (see: Outsiders).
The choice of 'The X-Files' is of course inextricably linked to the zeitgeist of the series, which peaked in the 1990s, a period to which Ward often turned in his drawings.
FUN FACT: At several signing sessions for 'Wolven', Ward provided clippings from an 'X-Files' book he had found at a flea market (see: ‘Collection'). He used these to make small collages in the book, which fitted seamlessly with the design of the flyleafs.
- (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.
- (85) The X-Files — Chris Carter. Fox: 1993-2002 and 2016.
- (86) Moon — Ward Zwart. Self-published: Antwerp, 2014, number of copies unknown, technique: photocopy with colour photocopy cover. The first copies came with an addendum in the form of a little bag of bones from an owl pellet.