Jos Vulto’s artistic career took off with smoking fish and meat. Soon after other products followed suit, like smoked milk crates. He used these to make imprints on linen.
Once, Vulto even worked on a bunker: after wrapping the complete fortification in cloth he started a controlled fire on the inside by using sawdust and hay. The smoke created an imprint of the building on the cloth. Vulto named this technique Rooking (from the Dutch word: rook (smoke).
From 1990 onwards, Vulto lived in New York where he smoked several empty buildings. In 1999, Galerie A received a smoked invitation for the exhibition Smoking Buildings. The artist had also added a ‘lightly smoked’ letter.
The last time we were in touch was some twenty years ago. In the meantime I had lost his address, but through the Internet I found out how he had fared since then.
In 2008, Vulto started producing raw-milk cheeses in his apartment. The press took a lot of notice of ‘NYC’s Newest Cheese-World Legend’ and his ‘delicious hand-made cheeses’ were much in demand.
Unfortunately, Vulto’s cheese enterprise did not end well. In 2017, several people in different American states got food poisoning by bacteria such as Listeria, caused by contaminated cheeses. Some of them even ended up in hospital and two persons passed away. The source proved to be: Vulto Creamery in Walton, New York.
In 2018, the authorities closed the company down.

Image: smoked invitation, 1991 (2 versions).