“Il est bon de suivre sa pente, pourvu que ce soit en montant”
Les faux-monnayeurs, André Gide
I did not always see myself as an artist. It took time. I am French from the Alsacian city of Strasbourg, my home for the first 21 years of my life where I was raised in music and literature.
As the last child of 4, I mostly listened. In retrospect, I believe I used painting to express what I felt I could not express verbally.
For the first part of my life I mostly delivered what I felt my family was waiting from me: I studied hard, went to business school in Lyon and served as a Navy officer for 2 years. I became a ‘businessman’. I married, had 3 great daughters and divorced.
Today my dayjob in a Swiss skin care structure challenges me to transform it into the first purpose-based cosmetic brand. It keeps me traveling all over the world.
This doesn’t sound like an artist’s resume, but since my first watercolors as a teenager I’ve never stopped drawing, painting or writing. I used my time in planes to color or draw or dream, I spent my port calls in the Navy discovering new places (From Toulon to Seoul via Beyrouth, Jounieh, Suez, Sri Lanka, Brunei, Japan, Philipines, Thailand and Cyprus…) to draw and write and paint there. I even had my agenda conceal a hidden folio with white pages so I could draw or write without being spotted in meetings. But I was not putting my priorities in the right order.
I had to live through a moment when I thought I had lost everything in my life – my job, my family and mostly hope – to acknowledge that when those identities had been stripped from me, my core would remain a painter.
I recovered from that crisis in my life and since then I give the right time and space to my art.
I paint everyday, wherever I am, creating an agenda to document my state of mind. Music and poetry are strong sources of inspiration: one of the projects closer to my heart is an installation I created called “Becoming”. Inspired by Arthur Rimbaud’s poem “Le Bateau Ivre”, a voyage in color, music, language, light and sensation. I work on private commissions, and will have my first show in Paris next May at Atelier Eberlin near Place St Sulpice.
Mostly I want to produce everything I have before I die or become crippled.
I am 56 years old, live between Paris and Washington DC where my American wife Jeannie O’Brien lives with her two children.