Hi Arnaud, please introduce yourself
I’m a 43 year old artist, I have glasses, a mustache, some white hair and I live in France. I was born in the suburbs where I had a difficult education. As a child, I already did drawings and music in local groups. Today I live in southern France to feel the sun, because I rarely leave my home.
Let’s start from the beginning: When did you start painting?
Like many other people I started drawing when I was still a child. I filled whole sheets of paper with felt pen. I did only that and I was fascinated by colors. I was drawing for fun and maybe also because I was bored. I have never stopped since. As a teenager, I met a friend who was in the School of Fine Arts and it was then when I discovered that there was a place for people like me. So I signed up and was accepted.
What would you like to do next?
I just stopped using felt pen two years ago, using only acrylic paint since then. I also paint on larger sized papers and canvases. For some time now, I have been thinking a lot about how I could create a flat model in order to go on the 3rd dimension and make sculptures, installations, architecture. In short, producing very very large sized artworks.
What do you aim to achieve with your style?
I feel very close to the artists of geometric abstraction, hard-edge and optical art. I try to create hypnotic pictures that attract the eyes through the harshness of strong color contrasts. I like spending whole days on my painting, repeating the same working steps and movements and listening music. Then i feel like being in a trance.
Your thoughts on your style?
My style is mostly geometric but geometry for me is not just about math and good proportion, it is about expressiveness, the same way as the free brush stroke can make. It is about emotions, thoughts, communication and energy. That’s what I love the most.
And what fascinates you about op art, geometric abstraction and hard edge art?
Hard Edge Art, minimalism, geometric abstraction, constructivism, all these artistic movements interest me and I recognize myself in them. I came there unintentionally, as I started drawing with felt pen on grid paper when I was bored at school. I filled each box with a different color, making sure not to draw over the lines. Sometimes a simple sheet of paper was not enough to channel my attention for 1 hour long lessons, so I tried to add as many shapes as possible.
Are you a full-time artist now?
Yes, I work full time as an artist. I started doing small part-time jobs and then after a while it was no longer possible doing it as a side-job, I had to devote myself entirely to my work because it obsesses me constantly. When I do something else I feel like I’m wasting my time.
What advice could you give?
I don’t know if I can give an advice. What was good for me may not be good for someone else. In a way I have no choice. My work constantly obsesses me, I can’t stop and it’s this obstinacy that may have helped me. Do what you can and do and what you like to do.
How do art collectors and galleries interpret your art?
Collectors and galleries understand my work correctly and see that I’m looking for something in a specific way between optical art and geometric abstraction. Unfortunately, sometimes others make the mistake of believing that I’m making simple mandalas or psychedelism.
Please give us some insight into your work routine
I like to work at home, alone and listening to music over and over. I stock up on food and only leave my house to buy cigarettes and beer. When I work, I forget the passing of time and it’s delicious. My perfect day from Monday to Sunday: In the morning I read books on Art, then I work until the evening and then I go to bed with a novel.
Which artists have influenced you in your work?
I’m fascinated by the work of great Abstraction artists like Kandinsky, Vasarely, Mondrian, Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella but also artists from Art Brut like Augustin Lesage who inspired me a lot. They led the way and theorized Abstract Art which helps me understand what I’m doing and where I’m going.
What would be a very interesting project to consider?
I would like to make multiples with very large prints, whether on paper or on objects. I would also like to do architecture. I believe that Geometric Abstraction must exist in society and no longer belong to a single small audience, but to everyone. I believe this art can modify the behavior of society and help us to live together.
What would you do different today, if you had to start again?
I would work more seriously earlier, at a younger age. I would try to see things bigger and especially I wouldn’t do small jobs that waste my time.
Are you always motivated for work?
The first thing and the only thing I want to do when I wake up is working. A little reading, a few cigarettes, green tea, music and voila, I’m ready and motivated to devour a new day.
Do you have any favorite pieces of your own work?
My favorite works are the last ones and especially the paintings on canvas. It was the first time I worked on such large canvases. It opened up perspectives and dreams of greatness. To paint on a canvas is very different compared to paper. For me, a canvas is an object.
Are you interested in working with other artists?
I can work with other artists when my painting work is finished. I have already had the opportunity to work with artists, making silkscreens or building large wooden sculptures on which I painted. Other artists allow me to open up to the world and spread my work more widely.
Would you share your experiences with galleries?
Since last year, I have exhibited regularly in galleries and also in a museum. Exhibiting in museums is really different, everything is so huge. When I have looked at my paintings in my small apartment I found them very large and then once in the museum, it was not the same. Large spaces shows paintings differently.
My goal would be to work on geometric objects in order to play with these shapes in space, to be able to turn around, to go inside or to look at the whole from afar. Right now, I’m reading books on Vasarely’s work and it helps me to imagine how I can switch from flat paintings to three-dimensional objects. I bought tools to work the wood and build the objects by myself.
Last year’s containment was the best part of my life.
Thanks for the Q&A, Arnaud.
Arnaud Loumeau ★ Artist resume
I’m a French visual artist and graphic designer born in 1978 in Poitiers. I live and work in Toulouse, France. A graduate of the School of Fine Arts in Poitiers, I worked for a few years at La Fanzinothèque de Poitiers (Fr) before devoting myself entirely to my artistic work.
You’ll find my works exhibited internationally but also in France at the Arts Factory gallery, at the Halle Saint-Pierre museum or published regularly in the publications of Re:surgo! (ex Bongoût) or United Dead Artists by Stéphane Blanquet from the early 2000s.
At the crossroads of Optical Art, Russian Constructivism and Geometric Abstraction, my Hard-Edge colored compositions are mainly symmetrical and fragmented like mandalas or kaleidoscopes. I work on a network of inter-crossed lines drawn in pencil in which I then insert geometric patterns painted with acrylic. The grid then functions as a frame in which the color is to be inserted forming a permanent dialogue with it. My complex constructions, based on the assembly of simple shapes, reveal color interactions producing optical vibrational effects.
The orthogonal symmetry of my pattern assemblies gives the illusion of a rhythmic and infinite movement, a formal and irrelevant musicality, demystifying the romantic mythology of art and the artist.