André Baldet is a painter-illustrator-graphic designer-posterist-comic artist and a passionate traveler. In parallel with image assignments for communication or editing, he leads a global and original artistic project, "Caravan", which brings together the works that the world and its extraordinary diversity inspire.
Unlike the painters-travelers who work on a motive, André does not work directly on the spot, but, rather he makes field surveys by taking notes of views and quick sketches. The real work of creation is done in the neutrality of his studio. He rewrites the journey, reinvents it and re-interprets it in complete freedom by relying on his know-how of the image.
Considering that each trip of André's is unique and has its own language of shapes and colors, he applies to a permanent stylistic renewal, letting the places visited influence and guide his art. It is the plurality of expressions that makes the singularity of this project. The variety of original propositions is therefore very large, but the coherence effect dominates with a luminous palette and an impression of lightness, tranquility and cheerfulness that permeates the essence of the work. The idea of pleasure feeds the creative process.
What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?
As a child I was very shy and the only way to get the attention of others was to draw. Paper, pencil: everyone has it and there were no musical instruments in my house.
How would you describe your own personal style?
A mix of cubism, pop art, minimalism and impressionism.
What pushed you in that direction and how can you see your work evolving in the future?
In a first life I was more illustrator/graphic-designer than painter. It taught me to get to the point, to refine my work, to go to essential and to be more formal.
What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?
I have two main passions: art and travel. My work as a painter is almost exclusively inspired by my travel experience.
Are there particular individuals who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, maybe even other artists?
My older brother convinced my mother to let me do an art school. When I was teenager we had set up with 3 other cartoonist buddies a small comic studio. We encouraged each other, dreaming of making our passion a profession. I was the only one who could get into an art school.
When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?
No preferred media. I like working with gouache for small sizes and acrylic for bigger.
When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes?
I am a passionate traveller, curious of places and people, I strive to transform my impressions and emotions of travelling into painting. I gather images, notes, information, sketches as well as written notes, texts of authors on the spot. This is the raw material for my future paintings.
Could you describe the process behind your art? How do you get from concept to execution?
There are dozens of drawings, drafts, models (sometimes hundreds) before moving on to the original painting.
Could you describe your normal day as an artist? Have you set routines and rituals or is a more a case of when the moment is right you work?
My morning routine: first draw my "life diary" and then choose 3 or 4 projects in progress. I always have several projects I am working on and I go first to the one that inspires me the most.
How has your art evolved to be where it is today?
My work is constantly evolving. I don’t like to repeat myself. I’m curious about the work of other artists, there are some that inspire me solutions when I’m stuck. But I also draw my inspiration from decoration, advertising, graphic art, sculpture, architecture or any other visual art.
Which of your artworks are you most proud?
No doubt, these are the last works.
Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?
I am a rather figurative painter even if my work is close to abstraction sometimes but my admiration goes rather towards abstract painters as Sean Scully, Sarah Morris, William Lachance …
If you could travel back in time, is there a particular artistic period / era that you would like to have been involved in?
Maybe in the art movements of the seventies, I was too young at that time.
What challenges do you feel the 21st century artist has to overcome?
Art should be more involved in people’s lives and associated with the major issues of education, environment, urban projects...
What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?
Digital art is OK, but if I had to give advice it would also be to practice crafts, hand work with natural and noble materials - keeping close contact with nature has never been so indispensable.
Despite having developed your own distinctive style, is there another style of art that you are immediately drawn towards and admire? Why
I admire artists who are not "sclerotic", who are constantly renewing themselves (like Picasso or Hockney), who seek, are inspired by others artists (but not only) and by cultures of the world in movement.
We have all heard of the unfinished masterpiece, even Da Vinci laboured away at the Mona Lisa for years and years, have you works that are in a continual process of evolution? When working on an artwork do you find it hard to let go? Knowing when enough is enough?
There are some projects that resist and I keep coming back to them, very regularly until a solution appears. It is rare that I abandon a project, I experience it as a failure.
Many people see artists as storytellers or advocates for a cause, do you believe that it is an artist’s responsibility to shine a light on a particular subject / theme, or do you create purely for the sake of expression your creative nature?
I think that artists invite us to shift our gaze on the world and to see it from unsuspected angles.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a series of paintings that tell the world in a single format (40x 40 cm )with small colour flatteners that cut out guidelines lines.
When is your next exhibition? Is it a solo or group exhibition? Could you tell us a little about the exhibition, when and where it is?
Next exhibition coming soon, by the end of this month, called « winter salon » : a group exhibition in my home town, with twenty other selected artists.
Visit André's Online Gallery - Online Art Gallery of Andre Baldet