Usine Skeleton – The Graffiti Factory

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Usine Skeleton was once a printing and publishing company. The beginning of the company took place before the Second World War. From 1935 to 1948 mostly postcards were printed. The owner liked to photograph Belgian art. He used his photographs to produce postcards printed in his factory. A few years before his death, the company was more and more focussing on the printing of labels. After his death, the company only used to print for industrial customers.

Update december 2018

It seems that demolishing of the factory has began. Some walls have been teared down. It is unknown if it’s possible to visit Usine Skeleton anymore.


The owner of the factory bought a pavilion in 1930 that had served at the world exhibition in Liège and had it rebuilt behind his house. In 1935 the factory was housed at the current location.


In the now empty factory, you will find graffiti everywhere of the Belgian artists Klaas van der Linden and ROA, another unknown artist. Klaas’s street-art is known from the skeletons. His work is known abroad. His other work shows a great diversity, in which bright colors and his unbridled imagination stand out.


ROA is the pseudonym of an unknown artist, presumably from Ghent. He was probably born in 1976. His works have been applied to various buildings in Europe and all other parts of the world. He regularly participates in national and international street-art festivals and collaborates with various galleries, but otherwise there is not much known about him.


ROA also makes murals of animals, often in black or white. Characteristic of this is the detailed design of fur or plumage, with fine stripes; he also regularly depicts the bones, muscles or organs. What is special is the interaction of the drawing with the wall on which it is placed: ROA tries to adjust the shape of the animals to the shape of the wall, and to integrate windows and doors in the drawing. A few works in Doel, the deserted  village at the nuclear power plant, are also made by him.

“Before gaining international fame, ROA practiced at abandoned places in Belgium for many years. This old factory was the favorite playground of the artist, he has made at least sixty works. After many years a new destination was found for the dilapidated factory hall, namely a residential project. This also made the future of the works uncertain. Because of the great public interest and value of the works, the city decided to save the works of demolition. The works will have a central role in the whole project and can be viewed in the gardens of the housing project. The entire project will be completed by the end of 2019. “(Source: Wikipedia)


As an uban explorer I usually hate graffiti. Many of the beautiful abandoned places are terrorized by graffity. Often they only leave their initials or sometimes even worse, just stains and blobs! Occasionally, however, you will find beautiful graffiti.


The son of the founder, who worked at the company, took over the printing business after the death of his father. He changed the focus of the printing factory to industrial printing. Between 1948 and 1976, the printing business was taken over by American multinationals on several occasions, but since no investments were made, the profits  deteriorated. In 2004, the factory went bankrupt and the 46 remaining employees lost their jobs.


Since then, the beautiful works by Klaas van der Linden and ROA have been a magnet for urban photographers and explorers.



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