Thursday, December 20, 2007

Art Space Talk: Franck Benoualid

Franck Benoualid was born in Toulouse, France. Inspired by the work of the classic Masters, Benoualid has developed his own voice, which combines elements of abstract and figurative methods. Benoualid blends color and line to create a sense of tension within his paintings. His focus on the human form reveals the essence of the human condition as seen through his eyes. On a side note, Franck and I experienced a language barrier during this interview-- forgive my rough translation.

Brian Sherwin: Franck, tell us about your educational background. Do you have formal training in art? If so, who were your instructors and how did they influence you?

Frank Benoualid: I have never followed any training. I am a self-educated person. I taught myself "cooking "!

BS: Franck, tell us about your early artistic influences and experiences. When did you decide to pursue art?

FB: I began painting by challenge. I wanted to be able to hang something on my walls other than posters. I began in 88' and since that time I have not stopped!

I discovered the pictorial world with Picasso. It gave me the desire to know more about the world of painting. I therefore began to watch and to feel. Emotions felt in front of a painting are disturbing. I am very sensitive and affected by Pollock, Bacon , Rembrandt, Vinci or Caravaggio and De la Tour. The work of the light impresses me tremendously and especially the potency which has a work to jostle you or to turn you.

I began with abstraction. This allowed me to acquire my own technique. I am crossed between these methods, they play bit parts in the etude of the nude under all its forms. I still do not succeed in stopping the subject. I love to work on the human figure. For me, it is so powerful that you have all in one. And in contrary, one in all

BS: Franck, with that said, how would you say that your work has advanced since that time?

FB: My work has evolved during these years, but the thread remains constant. I always work on expression and represent the human. The beginning was more conventional and more reassuring with a strong reference to classics standards of the aesthetic. In the last few years, I work by searching for what is neither enticing nor reassuring in the figure. I explore the ways which badly put us at ease. All her distortions which frighten us and that our culture condemns.

BS: Franck, can you go into detail about your artistic process?

FB: I begin with sketches and drafts. I search on paper a lot. Then, it is a question of validating an idea and working it on a cloth, it is there that technology is taken into account. I begin with a game of mattering material and then work atop the face. At this moment everything is possible, by the succession of numerous coats and by the games of drying, I can be allowed to be surprising and leave in a direction drastically different from the idea that I had in the beginning .
We can say that I have a good time canalizing or trying to control the chance. Gesture and traits are important, they reassure me. I cannot say that I know that a picture is ever finished. For me we do not finish a picture. I have to decide to stop working on a picture and to accept it.
BS: Franck, how does current world events influence your work? Is your work shaped by politics or social issues?

FB: I do not paint with a militant step. I do not know if events of our world influence me. But I am sensitive to the state of the soul of our humanity. It is violent and soft, strong and weak, it is nice and ugly, cruel, unfair, with laughs, tears....It is without compromise. Life is not a long quiet river, but at the same time we are definitely happy on the water...

BS: Do you have a certain philosophy concerning your work? Does that way of thinking motivate you?

FB: There is no philosophy behind my work. Besides, I do not work, I am delighted to create. In fact, my step is very egoist. I cannot pretend to show a way or issue a message... it would be so haughty! I am only shaping feelings that live in me, that fill me or that upset me. I restore a small end of my course, my resentment at the given instant, and it balances me
BS: Franck, why did you choose to work in the medium(s) that you use?

FB: I began painting in oil, and I am fast crossed to acrylic for questions of time of drying and effects of material.

BS: Franck, what is your studio like? Do you follow a routine? Is it an important aspect of your process?

FB: My workshop is annexed to my home. It is my shelter, my bubble. Sometimes very organized, lined up and often taking the pace of a battlefield. I do not pass a day without treading underfoot in it, for 5 minutes or for many hours in silence or in music-- Blues, Jazz, Rock...etc...

BS: Speaking of your studio, what are you working on at this time?

FB: At present, I have no individual theme. I am always focused on human feeling and its distortion. Some people say that it is disturbing and it is not made to dissatisfy me. In fact, I well like to "jostle " and to "cause " reactions in viewers . A manner of putting people in the presence of feelings which upsets them-- to cross the barrier of the superficial and arrive at the core.
BS: Franck, are you involved with any upcoming exhibits? Where can our readers view your work?

FB: I have no plans for exhibiting for the time being. However, people can see my art in Montreal at MX Gallery, in London and in Paris at Opera Gallery.

BS: In your opinion, what are some of the problems facing artists today? Do you have any concerns about the state of the art world?

FB: The problems that face artists today are numerous. This is possibly not linked to their work, but in the modes of broadcasting of their work. It is more and more rare to meet a gallerist worthy of the name that works in collaboration with you. Today far too much gallerist fail to respect the act of creation, inside self-importance becomes unbearable. You need look no further than how they present you. We artists become a marketing product. A gallerist does not take risk, we have to be lucrative for them.
BS: Franck, it seems that many artists are starting to represent themselves Online. The Internet is changing how we discover and view art. It offers artists, no matter what their background, the chance to carve out their own destiny. In your opinion, how have sites like empowered artists in this manner?

FB: The Internet is revolutionary for the artist of today. The whole world view and the broadcasting of jobs and art is without borders. The links and contact with artists that is generated by the net becomes warm-hearted. It is a veritable force to what is necessary for artists to take into account today. The grouping of artists on sites like Myartspace is fundamental because it is grace to artists that the "community" weaves links and ideas so that perhaps one day they will all become independent in the way they are represented.

BS: Finally, what are your goals as an artist? What do you hope to accomplish with your work?

FB: My goal is to have the least possible pressure to remain the most free that I possibly can be in my artistic expression. I want to remain true. Thank you very much.
You can learn more about Franck Benoualid by visiting his website-- You can read more of my interviews by visiting the following page--
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin

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