Besides the great artistic period that we all know from 3 to 8 years old, including incredible doodles and spontaneous creations, it is quite difficult to place an exact date to the beginning of the adventure.
However, if I turn the question differently: since when did you start thinking about painting every day? I can find an answer. So I would say at the beginning of the 2000s. At that time, I discovered graffiti, and I observed it a lot and practiced it immediately. Drawing letters and painting walls became an obsession. I think that passions are not randomly triggered, there is always an explanation, even a small one.
Looking back, just for the anecdote, I used to draw the same portrait 10 to 15 times, and put them on the last page of an encyclopedia, then open the cover and make it look like I was using a photocopier. I was half artist, half magician. Around the age of 6, my mother gave me a pack of Tuppertoys stencils (which I found again a short time ago). That was also amazing. By the way, I've never used them as much as I do now. In fact, I loved the idea of being able to duplicate an image or shape.
I still remember collecting the color bars and test bars on the packing boxes and saying, "I want to do this later!".What I really wanted to do was play with shapes and colors. I've been living for "painting" for almost 20 years now and I can honestly say with perspective that all these moments have marked my childhood and influenced the tools and practices I use today.
What are your inspirations? Do your artworks tell a story?
My environment inspires my practice a lot and Paris doesn't help. Here, for the past 6 years, "Paname" (translator’s note : a slang nickname for Paris) and in particular the Goutte d'Or district have without a doubt made my work evolve. My painting has been adorned with elements specific to this city. The architecture, the social diversity, the cultural heritage, the differences, whatever their nature, are always a source of inspiration.
Speaking of inspiration, I can't ignore my artistic influences, especially in the field of visual arts. These are so numerous and varied, I can only propose a short and frustrating succession of names, at the risk of creating an absurd and bubbling list of artists or artistic movements that do not respect any chronology, and push curiosity to make links.
Marcel Duchamp, Shirley Jaffe, François Morellet, Olivier Mosset Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Jérôme Bosch, Marina Abramović, Vincent Bioulès Cimabué, Dorothea Lange, Le dadaïsme, Manfred Mohr Ker Xavier Roussel, Camille Claudel, Frank Stella, Bernard Piffaretti, Vivian Maier, Matisse.
I do not have the will to tell a story while painting. If there is a story, then I would say that it is the paintings that tell theirs in an autonomous way. However, nothing prevents you from telling yours. Behind their false air of abstraction, I would say that the elements present in my work tend to defy themselves. They defy each other both in substance and form, and all this while remaining in a pictorial self-telling.
Do the textures of your materials matter to you? How do you decide which colors/materials to apply to your paintings?
At the beginning of my research, I worked on the fluidity, the viscosity of the material "paint". My desires were to paint and have fun. Until today, I have never forgotten the playfulness in my work.
Regarding texture, its presence is just to be noticed. If it is perceptible, then it appears not as a goal but as a component of the execution process. The material, visible on the pictorial support, simply testifies to spontaneous research. I stopped making sketches a few years ago to paint. I build on the canvas, which always allows me to provoke the unexpected, to obtain problems of composition or chromatic relationships and to start a physical, even mental fight to win the painting. This way of painting does not remove the stage of research that occurs beforehand. Far from it, it is a daily process that consists, among other things, of observing, collecting images through photography or picking up things from the street. All of this contributes to a data bank from which I draw at the right time. The search for colors flows from the search for shapes and vice versa. One does not go without the other.
You work in a studio located in the north of Paris with several artists, what's it like to live together? Do you work together?
The association "À titre provisoire" gathers 14 artists with different mediums. Painters, engravers, photographers, plastic artists, ceramists, and lithographers meet daily in the workshop located in the Goutte d'Or district of Paris.
Each actor of this workshop benefits from a private working space. We do not work together but share our opinions and experiences with pleasure and kindness.
One particular area of the workshop brings us all together. It is the one of Pascal Gabet, a lithography printer who has been working for several decades. He collaborates with the artists located at the 6 rue Saint-Mathieu but also works and prints for other national and international artists. More than a noble and ancient printing technique, it is above all a treasure that is at the center of our workshops.
Beware of appearances, this large central workshop, dedicated to the art of printmaking, is often and vitally transformed into a dance floor. You just have to come at the right time to discover it.