It all started with the first confinement and Matthew Burrows‘ idea. Of course I had noticed something about The Artist Support Pledge along the year but I didn’t really pay attention. Until a friend from NYC sent me this article of the New York Times and asked me what the hell I could well be waiting for. That’s when i realized it had gone big and global. And I understood why. Winston Churchill said “Never let a good crisis go to waste”. Exactly what Matthew did. He launched a project that cannot work in normal times. Art market was sinking, all galleries closed, thousands of artists in really severe situation. Matthieu decided to act. Fast. Big. He launched “The Artist Support Pledge”with this simple little post, on march 15th 2020.
A simple idea based on trust and generosity. Just brilliant
Artists have to post a piece on Instagram at the maximum price of 200£ (or 200€, $200). Well below the normal average price of an original piece.They add the hashtag #artistsupportpledge . It makes them visible for art lovers who browse through that huge virtual catalog . More than half a million pieces to date! If someone wants to purchase a work, the buyer messages the artist directly. And the artists all pledge to spend £200 (or dollars or euros) on other works once they sell £1,000 of their own, to support fellow participants. Images of the artworks are posted for free, there is no selection process and no commission is charged on sales. So simple… which is why that went so big so fast.
I created the series “Dancing beneath the surface”
5 small paintings on paper 30x40cm. Inspired by an underwater video capture of my daughter which I cut in 5 consecutive shots, each following the previous one by half a second. Light and fluid as a dance move. I announced the project while posting the first painting of the series. The five sold out in 24h!!! Ok, Price tag was half of market value… but still!? I got messages from followers all over the world, so excited to be able to afford an original for the first time. The 5 little ones went to France, Greece, Australia and New-Zealand. But painting and selling them was just the first part of the game…
Then I followed through on the pledge I made
I actually didn’t do things quite sequentially. I couldn’t wait. I had chosen the artist and the piece I would buy even before finishing the series: Brigitte Yoshiko Pruchnow . An artist colleague at Saatchiart gallery. She is German-Japanese, based in Munich. She’s got a unique touch for kids, pools and pies. We’ve been following each other for years. I now have an original piece of hers in my studio. Thank you Matthew!
The Heart Research UK organization indeed based that great auction project on a singular idea: to select a bunch of contemporary artists and ask them to create an anonymous piece on a small format card (20x30cm). This is how The anonymous heART project auction managed to generated 52.000£ to fund more research projects. They unveiled the artists names only after the auction closure.
I’m glad I could contribute. Thank you Rachel Brooke for inviting me.
You may have noticed: my daughter is one of my favorite muses. So yeah, indeed, she happens to be the child of mines who is most visible in my work. I’m fond of the 2 boys of course. I just prefer to paint the feminine figure. My son Alfred, in spite of being already kindly nicknamed “Adonis” in the family, felt like he needed some more love… and painted with a brush please.
I’m actually grateful he complained. This painting has been a joy to execute. Drawing the smiling face of someone you love is of course a pleasant thing to do. Here he is, enjoying the sunset view from a jacuzzi in Oia , Santorini. Right in front of his girlfriend who by the way inspired another painting Tiana Kameni. While working on this Adonis with ball pen and acrylic, I have tried and explored new lines and colors approaches.
I actually love the final result. May be he’ll manage to make his sister jealous with that?
He could have made another muse of mines resentful. The beautiful Jesi Le Rae. Model at L.A.MODELS, she inspired a the “Jesi’s hat” painting, not long before she’d make the cover of the famous Playboy 2019 Spring “Speech issue” . Well, it happens that her sexy silhouette was painted on this little canvas I had to use for this Adonis… a week-end of June when I was out of canvas stock (see below video). Jesi (who is truly a lovely person) didn’t mind at all and reacted with humor as you will judge from her comments on my Instagram.
It is both calming and impressive. May be that’s why it’s so attractive and inspiring. Then there is this original connection with water. 71% of the globe surface is made of oceans. 60% of a human body is made up of water. There are few experiences as relaxing as swimming in the ocean. Immersing your body in water triggers an incredible amount of positive physiological effects.
“Man and ocean” will be the theme of the next semaine de la science on the island of Noirmoutier. I’m honored that they asked me to create the poster for this fall event. This was such a natural theme for me that I did the painting in one shot. Which is very rare for me.
For the first time, I started with a colored undercoat. The natural imperfections worked just great. I managed to abandon the work after the first stage… which happens to me even more rarely. The ocean effect.
The design of their skin is a fascinating one. It could have been created by Keith Haring (another fish name by the way). Always the same pattern. No two are alike. I’ve been fishing and grilling them for decades but never really noticed their mesmerizing beauty. I sketched their stripes for the first time thanks to an imposed themes in a sketching group I joined during the lockdown.
I enjoyed the design so much that I felt like exploring it in painting. The same 4 mackerels. Just one of them shining a bit more than his colleagues. I would not be surprised if some more of those beautiful fishes come back on my easel soon.
You’ve probably lived a situation like this when you happen to find yourself in one specific place at one specific moment… and life suddenly takes an unexpected turn.
A few days before the French lockdown, I was traveling by train from Amsterdam to deliver a painting in Paris. I would meet friends and enjoy my usual tour of favorite galleries. On the Saturday night, signs of an upcoming lockdown start to amplify. Rather than going back to Amsterdam, I decide to head south with my week end bag and settle on my beloved island for a few days. As I leave Paris, I get started with a sketchbook which I title “exodus sketchbook”. I thought I would be traveling for a few days and that would make a nice distraction. 3 months and 90 sketches later, I was actually still on the island.
My sister Clémence had set up a Facebook group. It became the daily rendez-vous for 100 sketchers from all places, ages and levels. A theme – a sketch – a day. A wonderful routine that built great bond between all those happy artists during 90 days. The nice thing about this unusual practice (create on an imposed theme every day): it leads to unexplored areas… like trees and mackerels. Here are my favorite 15. The 75 others are there.
This painting was commissioned 2 years ago… and delivered in Paris just 2 days before lock down. This is how I could escape to the island of Noirmoutier just in time, instead of going back to my Amsterdam studio. I had just one day left to walk on this beach before all access were banned for long weeks.
I have painted this subject 3 times in 10 years. I love this view that reminds me sailing sessions in those days of perfect quiet weather when we can sail by high tide so close to the rocks. The painting was a gift to a very nice person, who happens to own the nicest cabin of this beach.
This one was started a year ago. My first one with oil after a decade with acrylic only. The face shaped up pretty easily. The volutes of the nice hair locks made me feel like trying new things. This exploration journey took a year… and ended actually in a pretty conventional finish. At least, I enjoyed having this smiley face looking at me in the studio for a year.
They went through the Gorges de Samaria then reached a small pier at the end. Swimming was non negotiable. Dive after dive, the temperature has become a little bit more bearable. Her hand is about to grab this beautifully rusted chain and she will go up. This is only a matter of seconds. Just the time to straighten up on the quay, to scan a never endless bright Mediterranean surface, start to feel the epidermis already heating up, marvel at the water transparency, and at the abstract sea floor design… And dive again!
There are 2 great joys in my life as an artist: the creative process by itself, and the connections triggered by the result of it. Once upon a time, there was a Catalan art lover who used to follow my work and chat through Instagram. Her Canadian New-Brunswicker lover, who happens to work in Amsterdam, started asking if there would be a way, by any chance, to celebrate their anniversary with a portrait of his soul mate. A first secret meeting with him takes place in my studio. We browse through available pictures while tasting some goof wine… hoping one of them would be triggering the inspiration. It actually happens with that image. I liked the attitude a lot. The eyes looking down, as if lost in her thoughts. The long hair that doesn’t stop spinning right under the warm Canarian wind. This interesting hand that hesitates between a gesture of control or thinking. Many stories can start from there.
Work starts in may. In october, the canvas is varnished. November: we celebrate the final piece together in Amsterdam. December: the painting reaches its new sweet home in Barcelone. I have two new friends. Feeling lucky.