Artist talk with
'Quand les dernières heures du jour', part 2 130x162cm
Oil on linen
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Théo Viardin, and I live and work in Paris. I came from a background in applied arts, and I worked for six years as a graphic designer in a studio that I co-founded, but now I do only painting.
Where did your passion for art begin ?
I have always been very interested in and exposed to drawing and fine arts in general, but I think my interest in the visual arts really grew when I discovered digital painting works of concept artists on the internet when I was in highschool. At this time I watched timelapse of their works and I found their ability to invent worlds in an instinctive and effective way fascinating. Then, my studies in applied arts gave me a background in a more traditional art history, but this discovery was surely the first real upheaval, as a gateway that was both technical and close to my cultural interests at the time.
How would you describe your work to someone ?
I do figurative painting that speaks of humanity. Most often, I build figures with primitivist humanoid forms in intimate scenes, that I try to represent as fragile as their shapes are colossal
I like to work in weak color contrasts and in dark shades. In this way, I try to induce an active gaze from the observer. From a distance, almost only silhouettes are visible. It is necessary to get closer to the work to perceive its details and therefore to enter a certain proximity / intimacy with the painting.
I try not to just work on the aesthetics: the scale of the figures and the texture of the canvas are also very important. I mainly work on heavy linen canvas. By applying paint in thin layers, you can still see the texture, a bit like a kind of skin.
'The remaining time of the storm'
Oil on linen
What are you currently working on ?
I just finished an exhibition with the G/ART/EN gallery, in Como, which is open until the end of December. Right now, I’m trying to take a step back in order to take stock. At the moment, I’m trying to find the angle from I’m going to build the next set of paintings.
When you start a new work or project, do you plan what you’re going to create or do you improvise?
Most of the time, I work in series in an attempt to create a dialogue between several paintings. I often build a series around a written intention, a few words or a mood. When my intentions seem clear enough to me, I start to imagine the paintings, to draw and to choose suitable formats and colors.
Once this strict framework is set, I start the painting job and I can leave a little more room for spontaneity.
'Un endroit qui me paraisse suffisament sur'
Oil on linen
Can you highlight some of your influences and discuss how your influences have made an impact on you and your practice?
I really like anticipation fictions for their ability to provide an alternative reading on the current state of our world, our society and how we relate to others. We are in a particularly dark and volatile time on many levels and I find it important to come up with new narratives that present a desirable future. I draw a lot from these atmospheres for my iconographic work.
More formally, my journey as a graphic designer has probably influenced me a lot. I like the visual composition and the rigor that can be found in the typographic work and the layout. I think these years have given me a particular interest in finding a balanced arrangement of shapes in the format.
What are your plans for the remainder of this year?
Painting of course ! And continue to explore new technique. I’ll be participating in an art fair with L21 gallery which I’m represented by. I also have two shows planned but I can’t really tell more at the moment .
'Quand les dernières heures du jour', part 1
Oil on linen