Born in France in 1976, self-taught Oil painter, Harold Aupetit studied graphics and print techniques in the prestigious Parisian High School for Graphic Arts Estienne. He began painting to fulfil his creative needs and his fascination for visual expression.
In 2008 he moved to Austria, where he is living with his wife and two children in a beautiful suburb of Vienna. There he found stimulating subjects in a perfect harmony between urban and countrified environments. Finding inspiration from nature, cityscapes or through people. He became enamoured with the traditional Vienna and its architecture, its people, way of life, the cosy ambiance of Viennese coffee houses, colourful landscapes and graceful moments of life. His modern figurative style relates a poetic atmosphere where colour harmony invites to tranquillity. Spending many hours dedicated to the creation of his works, quickly sketching en plein air or in his studio for more complex artworks. His ambition is to capture aesthetical moments, as if you would make a break in you busy day to day life and rediscover the beauty surrounding, the emotional essence of the architecture or landscape through contrasted and colourful perspectives.
What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?
I first made paintings only for me because I was feeling good making it. It was a bit like doing sport or reading a book. It was something good for my soul. Then I realized I needed Art more and more in my life. Now I am obsess by it, thinking all the time of my next painting or the next step of my process…
I must admit to be an Artist is for me completely egoistic: I need it for my wellbeing.
How would you describe your own personal style?
I would say I started with a contemporary figurative style with a big influence from impressionism and now I am making more a mix between modern figurative and abstract.
What pushed you in that direction and how can you see your work evolving in the future?
I am searching actually more to describe the ambiance, the feeling and the aestheticism from my subject with light, contrast, color and composition more than only exact reproduction.
Evolution of my Art will be a surprise but I suppose it may be more abstract.
What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?
So many things inspires me, especially places where I am feeling good/relaxed. It is probably the reason why I painted so many coffeehouses. When I find such places then I need to paint it to refile this feel good moment again.
Are there particular individuals who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, maybe even other artists?
My wife is my first supporter. Then my kids (5 and 3 years old) are always true critics of my work.
When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?
Oil is my favorite medium. I use it with brushes, knifes, scrape, roller … and also with my hands.
When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes?
Aestheticism first! Nature, cityscapes, people, I am painting what I find beautiful.
Could you describe the process behind your art? How do you get from concept to execution?
It is not always the same process but mostly I think first of what I want to paint, then I take many pictures of the subject or I do a small format (A4 or A3) painting sketch directly with my easel of the place I want to paint. Then I decide if the subject has enough potential to be created on a bigger format canvas. This decision can take months. At the same time I am thinking about how I wish to execute the painting. Then I take it into my studio taking inspirations from photographs or sketches.
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?
I paint when I feel ready to do it. I am not painting every day. I have no routine. Plus I do not always paint in the same place. When I am painting in the studio I like to listen to music or a podcast. When I am painting en plein air, I like to hear the sounds of nature or people surrounding me.
When you work, do you focus on one piece at a time until completion or are you working on multiple pieces at the same time?
If not alla prima, oil medium imposes long drying periods so I do work on many pieces at the same time but 2 or 3 maximum.
How has your art evolved to be where it is today?
It’s started from many years practicing before I was feeling ready to show my work, then I decided to change medium from acrylic to oil and at the same time to make en plein air paintings / sketches. This transition made a real change to my style and especially my ability to execute a piece.
Which of your artworks are you most proud off?
Always the painting(s) I am actually making
Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?
There is so many… I would say Marc Dalessio because his work gave me the envy to make en plein air paintings and that is probably what made me progress the most.
If you could travel back in time, is there a particular artistic period / era that you would like to have been involved in?
I would prefer travel in the future to see what will come.
I must say I really like this current period. On the internet, I am finding everyday interesting and motivating artworks from many talented contemporary artists.
What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?
Study right and fully as your teacher teaches you. Then when you are finished with your study, you will have to learn how to break the rules.
Despite having developed your own distinctive style, is there another style of art that you are immediately drawn towards and admire? Why?
For painting I can fall in love with a curve, a spot, a trace, a contrasted effect, a light reflection … so I can find beauty in every type of style. But of course not everything from every style.
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?
Amazingly I do not retouch my paintings when finished. I know when the painting is finished and I rarely ever work on it again except for a glazing.
Instead of working again and again always on the same piece, I prefer making a new one. Overworking never functions for me. I need the creative spontaneity.
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?
Maybe not always for a cause, most of the time it is just to draw attention to something. So I do believe that every artist has a story to tell behind his art and with his interpretation. Isn’t fascinating how everyday things can gain beauty simply because we’ve experienced them through someone else’s eyes?
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a female portrait and a commissioned cityscape view of Brussels.
Have you ever been part of an artistic group / movement? How did your work benefit from that experience?
No I’ve never been part of an artistic group. But I actually consider it strongly. I think it would be very interesting. I just still have to find an interesting one in the area of Vienna.
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?
I do not have any immediate exhibitions planned. I focused this year on the realization of my artworks more that the promotion of it. And I have never been so efficient as this year.
I am anyway glad that ArtBaazar contacted me to promote my Art, and really want to thank them for the great work they are doing.
To view Harold's full collection - The Online Art Gallery of Harold Aupetit