We see a lot of religious iconography in your work. How does religion inspire your creativity?
People think I am using religion as a gimmick, some sort of trendy symbols pool, that I am just playing a game between parody and blaspheme to attract metalheads or something. But in my mind, I am depicting religion in a very classic old-fashioned way. I am inspired by Gothic and early Renaissance painters and sculptors who were commissioned by churches.
I am not interested in showing anything mundane or material: I use models because the human form is a vessel. This is the same process that was depicted in Crucifixion paintings or Buddha statues, amongst others: a human who is not human anymore, but a god. The moment a soul go through material contingencies to drown into divine serenity.
What was your first body of work?
I started writing when I was eleven, as a reaction against my life at the time. I was a solitary kid and needed an escape from painful realities. I began to create an imaginary, oniric world that was going to grow more and more with years. I’m still digging into it nowadays and expanding it. It was tainted by my experiences and traumas, expressed differently according to my skills in different domains, but it’s still the same old inner compulsive need to escape and hide. Since the start, I am working on dark, mystic anticipation novels. The pictures came after. I began making photos to illustrate the texts, then they took a life of their own.
Please explain how you are a mystic transcendence seeker
Old indian texts teach that the only useful knowledge is the one that seeks deliverance. That’s what I do. I read sacred texts since years and try to understand what separates and what unites them… My main obsession is to dissect the process of transcendence and the deliverance.
I look towards the end of human life, the end of human civilization and the end of material reality, because these are walls between me and a superior truth, these are illusions and lies that have to be taken down by force if needed. Most of my recent writings are deeply apocalyptic writings.
Still, I’m not religious myself. My mind has been shaped by our modern, rational world. I had an atheist education and scientific studies. I am like a mystic unable to follow any dogma neither to write my own. It’s very frustrating.
Do you only use your Girlfriend as a model for your art?
I work with a lot of models, and even myself sometimes… It really depends on what I need for a specific project. But I still prefer to work with the same few loyal collaborators and friends. It’s easier for me to direct people I already feel comfortable with…
When was the first time you knew digital art was what you wanted to do?
To be fair, I’m still not sure of anything, and still consider myself a writer! But yeah, I crossed a gap about two years ago. I used to experiment with cameras and softwares before, but that was mainly for fun. I was really dedicated to writing. At some point though, it became painful to write and I was losing inspiration. It was more fun to take pictures and play with them, so I just decided to go this way. I guess it may change in the future, I could go back to writing or test something else. I think writing is a superior way to express oneself, because there are no boundaries, the field of creation is infinite, while graphic art has a lot of limits… But for now it’s still pleasant, while writing is still painful.
What is in your ipod right now?
My musical tastes are very eclectic. I’m going from ambient music to black-metal, and from psycho speedcore to serene indian music… While I’m answering this question, I’m listening to Boards of Canada and Hate Forest.
What was the strangest commission you have done for a customer ?
Until now, nothing really strange, I only did metal CD covers and horror books, which is to be expected… But the weirdness is starting now ! I’m currently working with several other artists on modern depictions of tarot arcanes… We picked arcanes at random and I was fortunate enough to pick #17 : the Star. This one is supposed to convey hope and peaceful feelings, which is rather challenging for me !
How do you feel about censorship?
If you mean censorship on social networks, like users being banned for showing boobs, I don’t really care. I have been banned before, without too much anger. My whole life is made of compromises, acceptance and submission to stupid rules anyway. As long as people can access uncensored stuff on my website, no problem.
If you mean censorship on a more large scale, I tend to be on the freedom side. But I’m less and less interested in politics and human business with time, so I will let serious people deal with serious matters and will continue to play with imaginary things.
When your art traveled to the US, how do you feel the american public received your Art?
My first two shows in US begin this fall so I’m very hopeful American audience will embrace it ! My first contacts with American audience were great. I work with american digital artist Matt Lombard (http://www.mattlombard.com) and I can’t really find huge gaps between our mentalities.
How would you advise someone that wants to aspire to do what you do with art?
To develop my own mental and creative universe, I had the same thing repeatedly and to express the same ideas over and over again. Being monomaniac and stubborn is fine. I’m never be satisfied with myself : it’s frustrating but I end up creating original stuff. I decide what is good for me, I try not to listen to other people critics nor praises to find my own way.
How did you learn to do digital art, University, private school or independently?
I learned by myself, starting with a scanner and a free retouch software. I did a lot of mistakes and my progression was and still is irregular. But each time I learned with other people, I found myself repeating standard, uninteresting stuff.
So, I now refuse opportunities to work in photo studios, for instance. I prefer my own cheap set-up, which allows me to be specific and original. I learned the hard way, with 10 bucks lamps and curtains as background, but would I have learnt better with extremely efficient hardware and an instructor to take my hand ?
Who would you choose in the art world to do a collection of sculptures of your work?
Sculpture is fascinating, I really regret not being able to practice this art. At first I chose writing because you don’t need anything besides a paper and a pen. Photography is more elaborate but it’s still nothing compared to a sculptor workshop.
I think my main influences come from sculpture: gothic statues in cathedrals and medieval Buddhist statues… My favorite contemporary sculptors (Chris Kuksi, Olivier de Sagazan, Paul Toupet…) work in very tormented styles, while my way suppose sobriety and neutrality… OK, well, I guess I would chose Pierre Matter (http://pierrematter.com) : he mainly make animals, but I’m sure if he was to work on my saints, his style would be a perfect match with mine.
Tell us about your parents, are they artists too?
Not at all, they work for social services, you know. I guess they’re more into helping people, while I’m more centered on myself. I don’t know any artists in my family, so it’s a first clue that creativity isn’t genetic !
Have you only done Dark Art or is there a flower painting somewhere tucked in your closet?
When I was eleven, I was already writing violent pirates and gladiators stories, and awesomely gore stuff, with blood flowing in streets. I never was able to analyze why I have this attraction to morbid and violent stuff, really. I guess it’s in me and in my history. So yeah, it would be very hard to find anything, sorry !
Since a few years and my discovery of indian art, I’m exploring more and more this absent, quiet serenity that you can observe in Buddha statues. I guess that’s the less obviously ‘dark’ stuff you’d find…
Do you paint and draw also, or only Photoshop?
I used to draw, but not anymore, and I’d love to paint. My cultural background is mainly painting and I love a lot of ancient or contemporary painters. It’s really frustrating to me not being able to paint. But my style supposes realism and I would need years of practice to obtain anything remotely satisfying…
Has anybody ever told you you look like a young Anton Lavey ?
Actually, yes! But hey, I wouldn’t be a better look-alike than dark artist Vincent Castiglia anyway.
What is the ultimate goal you are trying to convey to the viewer with your art?
I have to say I don’t try to convey anything to anyone. I am talking with myself. I brainstorm to understand what the hell is happening to me and how to protect myself, I wonder how to escape etc. If the viewer is haring my mindset and appreciate my images because of that then it’s perfect. But it’s the responsibility of the audience to get something out of my art, I won’t try to enforce anything.
With all the different stories floating around the Internet about solar flares, Planet Nibiru, and the quarantining of American Citizens by our government, what are your views on the controversies surrounding 2012 and the end of civilization as we know it.
Well, history shows that human civilization evolves but rarely breaks down, so I wouldn’t entertain any hopes about any end of our age soon… Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the world collapsing and the extinction of humanity, like every sane person should. But, I’m just less and less interested in the state of the world. The apocalypse I write about in my texts is now a more mystic, inner apocalypse.