2013 - The Artist I dim the light so I may see A vision through the dusky haze, A figure form in smoky rooms, The scent of air from out this maze. A poppy's vein before the sleep, From there it drags me to the deep.
I search the mystic's vague attempt A myth? A lie? A tale of fate? No promise made of gold and fame, But dreams that lead me through the gate. Just out of reach these dreams hang sweet, And lasting thirst lay at my feet.
- Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire
2015 - Article: "L'Homme dans la Lune" View the original article on the website on cultation.com
For this painting I was exploring a link from Abstract Expressionist to Surrealist philosophies of automatism in relation to form vs feeling. The two broad movements share roots buried in the human psyche by using a method of 'doodling' to interact with the preconscious mind. Where the Surrealists (to a certain extent) used their automatism to evoke images acting as metaphor, the Abstract Expressionists favored a method that concentrated on a non-representational content. Their marks were to communicate the process of painting, a deep self-search where the lifted constraints of figurative representation allowed for a different approach to representing the preconscious. In psychology, the Surrealists were interested by the Freudian based interpretation of dreams, while the Abstract Expressionists followed the path of Carl Jung to a concentration on self realization and the theory of a collective consciousness. I started with pure creation, attentive to the deep feeling in my gut. In the first instant I attacked the canvas with a spontaneous gestural mark only to trace and retraced my movements with vigor, alternating colors with each layer. I followed my creative spirit as I marked and wandered through my mind, my personal experience.
I stop and step back… I see his face somberly suspended in space; emotionless in the midst of chaos, endlessly waiting, watching. He doesn't look at me, he looks forward; to the seemingly immortal life ahead of him. The man in the moon. A few final touches to acknowledge his presence and i am finished. I can't touch the canvas anymore.
Many people don't see him right away. Other images arise as each person sees something according to their own batch of experiences. But with a slight nudge, he reveals himself all at once, almost theatrically.
The face in the moon is the most famous example of the psychological phenomenon known as Pareidolia, the interpretation of seemingly random visual stimulus as important information. Other examples include seeing Jesus in a toasted piece of bread or a rabbit shaped cloud. The artist Max Ernst of the Surrealists is credited with developing the technique of frottage; pencil rubbings on paper over textured surfaces to suggest interesting forms. Even Leonardo wrote of this effect in his notebooks as an interesting tool to ignite creativity.
L'homme dans la lune is created from a gestural sort of frottage, a cloud built from layers and layers of emotionally charged marks. This allows for complex form structure inspired by the multiple perspectives of Cubism and the color relationships of Impressionism. Form is perceived and interpreted together with non-representational marks.
"L'Homme dans la Lune" acrylic 70 cm X 35.5 cm Paris, France
2014 - Nike
Pins and daggers pierce my skin These many tears, they crack and burn I watch my numb hands crumble Joints grow stiff And in one strong swipe my head will fall.
Oh Nike, is that what you search? Frozen still before the chance to flee from that eternal perch? Which forsaken brute has taken Your thoughts and sight, Your words, your might? Or did you cut it off yourself?
“This is definitely one of my most intricate paintings, I usually keep them fairly ambiguous. I asked for a playlist of songs that the patron really felt he connected with, and over the course of two months I painted this almost religiously, listening to his music. I like to think of the process as a complicated Rorschach test, built from felt abstract marks to create an active frontage of sorts from which I perceive, construct, deconstruct the shifting forms.
The music really works to bring the patron and myself to a closer mental and emotional state by mixing our experience together. I sent it to him with instructions to also experience the painting by candle light. To see it how the cave painters might have seen their creations move in the flickering light at Lascaux.”
“The Devil You Know” acrylic 200 cm x 140 cm Paris, France
“I started Masquerade without a preconceived image in my mind. My limbs move in fluid motions, coursing with energy and my mind thinking of nothing and everything at once in a sort of hyper-attentiveness. My only guidelines were to create a cloud or a fog of sorts with an all-over composition for the viewer to drift through. Drift viewing is like being in a dream state, comparable more so to a day-dream or a series of peripheral hallucinations than a sleeping dream. The viewer patiently looks “into the painting” rather that “at the painting” and allows the marks to guide their sight.
The cloud is created through layers of felt gestural marks and, as in watercolour painting, the lightest of hues created by saving the white of the canvas and shades are created through a manner of applying acrylic paint which I like to call “rusting”. The forms in the painting are kept at a certain level of ambiguity to keep a larger variety of implied forms rather than defining exactly what I, myself, see. This creates a unique experience for the viewer as each relates to it according to their particular perspective.
This style of painting is like putting together a puzzle. You have the pieces as they come to you; you don’t know what the end result will be or how long it will take reach a comfortable pause. I refrain from using the words “completion” or “finish” as the painting never has a definite end. It has its own life which grows and transforms each time it is worked on and each new layer brings with it a possibly drastic change if called for. It is a conversation between the artist and the medium; cycles of action / reaction building upon each other to reach a peak of expression. The artist must remain attentive for a moment when aesthetic beauty balances with gut feeling. The key to this is to place your faith in experience and in the expressive qualities of your personal mark while allowing the life of the painting to play out its natural course.
The act of painting has a sensitive importance; its truth cannot be manufactured. Only by making it an experience within itself can a most impressive and spontaneous expression be fully realized. It is not to create a painting of a dream, but rather to paint the dream as it forms.”
“Masquerade” 02/2013 100cm x 100cm Acrylic On Canvas Paris, France
2013 - Fleeting Muses
A cool breeze of mechanical brand Humming humming this tranquil song. A moments peace is found and lost In twitching light of soiled water. Flickering pure it lasts not long A glance it takes with nothing cost. I weigh its mark upon my hand These fleeting muses I must gather.
- Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire
2013 - Sunset
Pulsating neon disk Looming over the distant line. Red as the earth, Just as blood, Spilt over these silhouetted giants. As water gives them life, They reach towards the stars Hiding this ancient voyeur; Provocateur, His murderous tone, His generous warmth, Behind the silent cape of night. A serene darkness. No moon to sing, nor light the path. Fresh sounds of life scattered Over the resting scent Of death. - Monogaga, Cote D'Ivoire
2013 - Cash Center Kids
their feet stained with dark red earth. shuffling shuffling hands wide spread.
of cows in pastry puff and lard. eager hands touch cold and hard
a bright white smile to shine the sun and laughter heard from three not one.
they stand in rags one tattered shoe two in green and one in blue.
a lukewarm fizz to cool dry bread is he? would he? watch his head.
a nod says yes and off they run. half is left, enough for one.
from one to three, the first boy serves. soon chased by guards with broken nerves.
and off they run with dirty feet, smile and laugh from this small treat.
-Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire
2013 - Statement
When people see my work, I'd like them to experience a feeling in their gut that moves them at least slightly; enough to spark some interest so that they rest there a while longer to meditate on it and hopefully derive their own meaning or reference. It won’t happen every time someone rests their eyes on my paintings but if even for just once in a while, I would like a painting to lead to an experience of self realization for the viewer. 2013 - Statement
I like to use oil paint and canvas, traditional materials, as an homage to the great history of painting and painters before. It is a sort of rejection of modern machine made objects; clean and sleek, crisp and perfect. Imperfections are my perfect. They are life’s little gifts of surprise that make an object human. It is that human connection that I seek. Something that modern technology, in essence, can’t ever create.
I begin a piece by allowing my body to make marks, feeling where they should be made after which the painting tells me where to go from there; which lines to trace, which to erase, where to cover a section with what colour. When to wipe everything down or where needs more contrast. The key to the painting is to have faith that what you feel should be done is an essential step in the life of the painting. As though, I am just the means to create itself.
I see the world as though it is a film. Animations come to life, objects morph and twist into other objects, into faces, into actions, into the infinite possibilities of possibilities. Colours illuminate an ambiance or refer to a strong emotion from the distant fog that is my memory. Communicating my experience can only be done through painting and by attempting to create my experience. I can connect with other people in tune to the right frequency, a connection that runs deep from your gut. The mysterious unexplainable force within each of us, that feeling that relies on ration to strike a balance.
I don’t aim for representation. But of the image appears and is felt, then I don’t reject it. To reject the image would be to create a bias, which blocks the path of truth. The image acts as a reference, a metaphor and/or symbol.
I draw fast at first, resting marks upon marks that flow through my body and mind with ease. To have faith is the only way to find the true path of the painting. These marks that reflect my current and fleeting state of being form, layer over layer like a fungus; a fungus that grows all over and all at once, a cloud with its infinite number of possibilities. All of my experiences and feelings and memories that make up my existence are glazed over. I drift through the void of existence and reference what I feel. Images blend into each other to create new images. I build a puzzle of references and visual illusion. Every viewer can see something new, something personal depending on their own particular set of experiences. One must meditate on these paintings with the least amount of self bias to find what they weren’t looking for.
10/24/2012 - Les Cadeaux...
"I have, so far, drawn about 200 quick but original calligraphic-style abstract gestural drawings, "gifts" to whoever may find them. I post them in inconspicuous places all around town or in the metro. I place them in contrast to different background colours. position them in spots where a wandering eye might drift off to, or where their hand might rest. I tape them loosely to allow it to slightly flutter in the breeze, to wave in a fit of excitement. A single subtle line of five points is all that remains similar on each drawing that expresses a desire to be identified. They still ask to be found, to be acknowledged and redeemed. Their demands, however, come as whispers, not shouts. In the culture of efficient marketing and advertising that surrounds us and vies for our attention, these drawings patiently wait for curious nature of humans to draw their viewers in for a closer look, for the excitement of exploration and new experience. My hope is that someone will sit on the metro or walk through a little alley and come across this beautiful gestural mark, an accurate recording of a completely instantaneous action, which sparks an affinity that even they might not be certain how to explain. I expect that majority of people who see the small square of paper taped to the wall will not have an emotional response and pass it by. Most likely, a greater number of the drawings will fall off in the rain or get blown away by the wind. This is not meant to be considered in a negative sense, however, as the drawings have their own life, they're own story. I see it more as a poetic death, returning to where it came from. It is the few people that recognize that connection and take the drawing with them that is the beauty in this action." (excerpt from a letter)