I am Frédéric Forest. I grew up in Annecy, in the French Alps. I spent my time skating, skiing, snowboarding and drawing. I live and work in Paris as an Artist and also as a Designer at Forest & Giaconia.
When did you start painting and drawing?
Like everyone else, I started drawing before writing. I didn't stop there and I love it. It's a viral emotion for me. But I always wanted to study product design because it wasn't about drawing for myself but for a project, for something bigger.
What are your inspirations? Do your artworks tell a story?
Inspiration is the result of random moments running through my head and devouring everything I see. These moments can be anything, a perfume, a sound, a person you meet in the street, a fabric or its detail... My influences are mostly at the periphery of Art. They are mostly concentrated in photography, fashion, gastronomy, music, typography, dance, poetry, color and light. For example, it can be the Villa Malaparthe, the Villa Necchi, the 1967 Jaguar E-type, the architects Frank Lloyd-Wright or Carlo Scarpa, Tilda Swinton, the choreographers Wayne McGregor or Angelin Preljocaj, Dorothée Gilbert, Christophe Lemaire or Dries Van Noten, Radiohead, Haruki Murakami, Moebius, Katsuhiro Otomo, the riders Arthur Longo, Nicolas Müller or Candide Thovex, the photographers Robert Mapplethorpe, Viviane Sassen, Paolo Roversi, and Maud Rémy-Lonvis... . They allow me to express new sensations and to suggest new stories, whatever the project's magnitude.
Do the textures of your materials matter to you? What do you use? If so, how do you decide what colors and materials to apply in your paintings?
I often have the feeling of drawing or painting like skiing or skating. The surface has an important role in this process. I let my mind and my hand play and slide over it. I carry a lot of brushes and markers, but I use almost only one when I work on a canvas or a sheet of paper. It is both a constraint and a freedom that allows me to synthesize an idea, an image. I also do not use an eraser. If I miss or if I am not satisfied, I start again, just like in skateboarding, until I get what I was looking for. And at some point, my hand will find a trajectory, a gesture that will certainly not be perfect but that will be the perfect line I wanted without knowing it in advance. That moment when the body and the mind let go and meet.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I get up at 6:30 am, practice a little gym and yoga, otherwise I go for a 1 hour run, have breakfast with my daughter, then I leave with her and I arrive for 8 am at the studio which is at the foot of Montparnasse. It is located in a historical and vegetalized alley of the district where Picasso and Modigliani had their habits.
For me there is no such thing as a routine. The days follow the projects in progress. There is no agenda, especially in winter when daylight is low, I can draw or paint in the morning, or work on a furniture project and an art series. In the afternoon I can have appointments, presentations to organize, project developments, and emails. I try as much as possible to alternate these hours of creation with project development hours, either with other people or alone. During the spring, these hours follow the intensity and the presence of the sun in the studio. Drawing comes naturally.
I usually leave the studio around 6:30-7pm. In the late evening, I get back to drawing when my iphone and emails are off, so I can focus on my line and projects only. Otherwise, I read before I fall asleep. The words bring me peace.
What do you look for in clothing? What are your style inspirations?
For everyday life, I am looking for an elegance that does not make a statement. A casual and simple style. The quality of design and fabrication are equally important. That's what I like about De Bonne Facture's silhouettes.
Clothing plays both a practical and a stylistic role. By practicing different sports, I have developed a very sharp eye for the efficiency of the technical garment I will choose for a particular discipline. Whether it's the thickness of a wetsuit, the position of a seam or a zipper on a ski jacket, the pockets on a running suit, the quality of a material according to the weather.
For a long time I wore a skater style, with loose fitting trousers and t-shirts and flat-soled shoes. As I got older, I kept this style but made it more simple, almost normcore at times, wearing jeans, a pair of Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers and a white or grey close-fitting T-shirt. From there, I vary my silhouette and my style. The sweaters and coats become important because they finish a style. The shoes have an important role because they determine the look, literally and figuratively. I need to feel good and confident in my clothes. I don't want to follow a fashion trend. I don't know how to disguise myself.
Growing up with sisters and a mother who was passionate about fashion, women's magazines had a strong impact on my outlook. I'm talking about the 90's, a golden age for designers. Christophe Lemaire and Dries Van Noten are among the designers I still follow, even if their clothes doesn't suit me at all. I love their poetry. A rare romanticism.
How important is quality, traceability and/or craftsmanship in the way you make decisions?
The design and manufacturing process is becoming more and more important in my choices, in my daily life, whether it is for my food, my clothes or in my projects. It is not a constraint but a source of creation. The distribution is also important. It would be cynical to order a Patagonia cap on Amazon.
Craftsmanship has been part of my life. Working with hands will always fascinate me, whether it's a carpenter or a fashion designer.
Where can we find your work? What is your latest news?
There is the website fredericforest.com on which we launched original works that you can directly order. My instagram account @fredericforest is for everyday life at the studio and elsewhere. This makes it easy to show works in progress or finished ones.
Following many requests, grammatical-paris.com was created as an art publisher to distribute prints, books, skates and tattoo authorizations online. It is possible to take an appointment to come to the workshop. We are currently working on a magazine that should be out by the end of the year. New collaborations with artists and partners will be presented.
The furniture and interior design projects with Clementine Giaconia can be seen on forestgiaconia.com and on the Instagram account @forest.giaconia. We are working on developing new pieces that will be released next year. A first exhibition will start on April 14 in Spain at The Eleven House gallery, commissioned by Athina Alvarez de Cura. For the first time, there will be paintings on canvas and paper, accompanied by drawings. The title "Tu es mon Jour" (You are my Day) evokes an intimate window on the solar relationship between two people. The exhibition will be on view until the end of the summer and I am already thinking about a follow-up in Paris.