Mika, painting in 3 Dimensions

Ephémère, Oil on canvas, 91cm x 122cm

Richard Thibault, also known as Mika, was born in Montréal in 1963. His work handles abstract art and hyper-realistic representations, reproducing faithfully classic themes as wild-life, landscapes or portraits, sublimating them with bright colors and abstract art technics.
He explored multiple technics as oil painting, watercolor, pastel and even color pencils during his youth, but quickly adopts aerography or air brushing as his favorite technic at a time when most of pictures were manually printed and edited.
As a multi-disciplinary artist, Mika began to produce small creations for a recognized advertising studio which allow him to become a freelance artist as soon as he was 18, working as an illustrator and air brush expert. Thanks to networking, independently from his job, he also illustrated some book tales, realized drawings for various advertising companies, etc. The advent and then wide-spread use of digital technologies although made the illustration demand decrease. That’s why in 2009-2010 the artist decided to develop his relation to art and updated his actual knowledge of contemporary art by visiting some galleries and museums as well as studying theoretical books, which helped him enhance his technic.
All this work results in a mastered combination of abstract art and hyper-realistic technics, realized with an approach of bright colors and movement which gives the whole a very personal touch.

Frénésie, oil on canvas, 91cm x 122cm

Rebelle, oil on canvas, 91cm x 122cm 

The artist is now testing a new technic, allowing to paint some images one can then visualize in 3D with the help of shutter glasses. He is systematically working with a main character edited on Photoshop to correct color and exposure and then copying it. This process, according to the artist, is letting some incidental part to happen; resulting in a creation always deviated from the initial idea. After the painting has been composed, he sketches it on a canvas and highlights the background shapes, in order to enhance them, with a palette knife and brush; a technic directly influenced by abstract art. He gives birth to the main character by applying oil painting in sepia-shades, playing with transparency and blackened color to create his own lights and shadow combination. The 3D effect is capture with brush, wearing shutter glasses. Finally, the composition is varnished and harmonized to avoid superfluous reflection.

Le soldat, Huile sur panneau de bois, 61cm x 91cm

La balerine, oil on canvas, 92 cm X 92 cm

The 3D technic lies in the Anaglyphs: the artist gives relief to an image by adjusting two dedicated filters in front of the audience’s eyes. The process is based on the stereoscopic effect our brain is producing, using the gap between the eyes to visualize in relief. Like the technic for the 3D movies, the brain has to calculate the binocular interval to capture all the illustration details when the audience is putting the glasses on. Anyone can noticed the artist is frequently using primary colors as red, blue, yellow but also green, as they in fact send fake signals to the eye. Indeed, the eye is capturing images in backward: the 3D sensation is only the misleading effect of the color, giving the creation its depth. Consequently, the experience needs the two eyes to send those fake signals to the synapse retina which thereafter send the info to the brain for decrypting.

Lévitation, oil on canvas, 91cm x 152cm

Mika has kindly sent me one of those special glasses and some of his canvas printings so I could appreciate the effect of changing to 3D, which is outstanding. As a matter of fact, the subject – which is already aesthetically pleasant without the glasses – takes on another dimension and nearly comes to life, as if it was jumping out of the frame. But maybe the most incredible aspect of the technic lies in a perfect and accurate rendering. Contrary to what we can expect through our actual experience with 3D movies, the picture is clear whether you wear the glasses or not, which allows to discover the image in a complete new way. The 3D felt like the character was independent from its background and support. Like a mirage, the image seems both unreachable but nearby the audience, giving the impression one could explore it more intimately. This is a totally fascinating experience and I strongly advise the reader to try, as those kinds of glasses can easily be found.
Once you got your glasses, visit the artist website, print one of his creation and put the glasses on. You won’t believe it !

Raphaël Bouyer, painter of consequences

Conséquence,  Sans titre, oil on canvas, 116x79 cm

Raphaël Bouyer is a young visual artist from Toulouse region, South of France. He is realizing mostly oil paintings, drawing powerful but disconcerting subjects in a surprisingly realistic way. The artist is staging natural or unatural disasters, results of an over-consuming society that has sinking in materialistic consideration, in a timeless and glorified composition. His canvases are contrasting and materializing the denunciation of our current mortiferous approach of the world. When you go through Raphaël Bouyer work, you are exposed to trains that are knocked over, pipes scattered in natural landscapes, to car accidents, dozens of tires spread out in the sea, to some ruins of cities lost in waves or to characters in CBN suits. All representations seem like captured in gorgeous natural frames as if they were photographs of a unique moment. These combinations appeal to different imaginaries and excite the curiosity of the audience with their both surprising and unnatural aspect. Each creation has a very powerful and specific sense of narration to make the audience aware of the event happening. The audience is enthralled to imagine the story behind each strange scene and to think about the poetic aspect of these disasters. His works lead us to dream but also frighten us about the ambition of a terrible civilization overwhelmed by the magnificent and all-mighty nature. 

Conséquences, Sans titre, oil on canvas,100x82 cm

 Conséquences,  sans titre, oil on canvas, 50x70 cm

Could you briefly tell us about your artistic path?

I started painting when I was 16 years old, I took oil painting lessons with Jeremy Annett in Toulouse for 7 years. I began to be thrilled by the technic at this very moment – although I have drawn since my childhood. That’s why I naturally engaged in an applied/plastic art formation in the Beaux Arts school after having graduated from high school. I also follow some painting workshops at the Slade summer school of London in 2011. However, I have never been particularly keen on the way art school are teaching and quickly stayed away from the academic process. I felt my work deviated from the current trends, so I decided in 2012 to forge my own career path, learning from diverse documentations to become a professional painter/artist. This choice was really well received as I won the Toulouse art competition in February 2013 along with the Golden Palm. It paved the way for some exhibition opportunities, especially during the same competition the year after.

 Ordinary lives, La chasse au papillon, oil on canvas, 100x100 cm

  La partie de pêche, oil on canvas, 130x89 cm

Could you detail the technics you like working with?

My canvases are all realized with oil painting and my drawings are composed with pencil and pen on paper.

Hiroshima mon amour,oil on canvas, 92x65cm

I could notice some repetitive topics in your creations as trains or people in CBN suits, surrounded by nature background: what are they depicting to you? Furthermore your canvases often show a post-apocalyptic world: is this a way to warn audience about the global environmental concern or just a personal appropriation of a specific universe?

I don’t really like the time we are living in. I always got the feeling to be in this fast-paced environment I can’t follow and I’m not free to express whatever I want. I feel pretty out of this system and I trust it is the sensation emanating from my creations. The chosen setting in my paintings illustrated a world I have fantasized about and idealized. The enhanced landscapes or the chilled scenarios are constantly in contrast – even in conflict situation sometimes – with specific patterns that could evoke about disasters resulting from bad environmental management or over-consuming behaviors. This confrontation can indeed show a post-apocalyptic approach but it is for sure resulting from my personal inner conflict.

Ordinary lives, Les jumeaux, oil on canvas, ,100x73 cm

Ordinary lives, Pêche en eaux troubles, oil on canvas, 116x81 cm

How do you chose topics you want to expose? What is the paradigm you want to pass on the audience?

I chose my themes depending on the news, for instance trains accidents. I extract them from their actual context and arrange them in a visual and dynamic way. Even if there is definitely a dark side in my compositions, I try to bring irony to the subjects by staging the ludicrous aspects of the situation and highlighting it. I like to think my creations call out the audience curiosity and make it questioning of what could have happened. Keeping a part of mystery is important. Of course, one could see a manner to highlight a societal ecological dimension which kind of reflect my personal thinking and reflection but I want the spectator to feel free interpretating my works.

Conséquences, Sans titre, oil on canvas, 80x80 cm

 Conséquences, Sans titre, oil on canvas, 80x80 cm

How does the artistic creation influence our social behavior according to you?

The art is a form of language, a way to communicate emotions and I think the art creation is indeed influencing our social behavior. It provokes questions, a reflection on the world that surround us and sometimes help to better understand it. I would say the art creation is steeped in society and the society is steeped in art creation (or at least, should be considered as such). The artistic creation allows a person to better understand one self and what is happening around us, the world we live in.

Ordinary lives, La grande déprime, oil on canvas, 80x80 cm

 Ordinary lives, La décision, oil on canvas, 100x100 cm

What are the main artists, themes and trends you take inspiration of?

I don’t really drg my influences by other artists or at least not that I am aware of. Actually, I don’t really think about it, the inspiration is here, that’s all. If I have to make reference to an artist I may particularly like, it would be Romain Bernini, because I am fascinated by his universe, especially by the color and atmosphere he uses. His character representation and uncommon staging helped me to build-up the figure of the men in CBN suits. Of course I also visited lots of museum and saw many exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, which, I believe could have influenced my work in a way.

Ordinary lives,  La trace, oil on canvas, 72x100 cm

Série l'avatar, Waterworld, oil on canvas, 80x80 cm

Would you like to mention any previous or in-progress work in particular?

I strongly hope for associations, groups and communities support and art gallery partnerships to enhance my career in the near future. I will be exhibiting some of my works in September 2015 and I keep looking for art galleries that could be interesting as well as I network a lot within the artistic domain. I also participate in a project called Ardera which goal is to present on a website my works with an associated-music made by two friends of mine.

 Conséquences, Sans titre, oil on canvas, 100x100 cm

In his paintings, Raphaël Bouyer is materializing a unique pictural universe where fantasized disasters are consequences of the underlying loss of balance between culture and nature. The artist thus creates an intense iconography, pushing for individual reflection on the world we are living in, leading to a very actual questioning. This approach directly echoes some of his peers, striking the audience’s eyes by the aesthetic aspect of his canvases but also thanks to their mysterious and uncommon side. I would strongly advise the reader to take a look at Raphaël Bouyer’s website and learn more about his work. 

JF-iNk, Street Art offspring

Wisdom, acrylique, spraypaint, paintmarker, 35x50 cm

JF-iNk is a multi-disciplinary painter, mixing-up several technics, from stencil calligraphy to dripping. The topics he is working with are numerous and diversified, stemmed from his very rich personal universe. The combination between realistic and abstract art makes his work remarkably appealing as he is mastering all these technics with consistency but also spontaneity.
His graphic and stunning canvases are naturally referring to Street Art movement. However, even if the artist is obviously inspired by this trend, his creations are not subject to the street hazards and the subsequent short life expectancy of a piece of art displayed on a public wall. Indeed, he is carrying out his works in a studio and exposes his art in galleries.
JF-iNk works are revealing in some extent a reflection from their apparent naïve fluidity: they are actually conveying a fresh and spontaneous feeling, although they are clearly  made with thoroughness.  

The eye, scratch card, 50x65 cm

Could you tell us briefly about your artistic path ?

I am a self-taught painter; I actually did not recieve any training or follow any workshop. I am just passionate about art and I have self-educated myself for the past 15 years. I began with tagging in the streets but I quickly choose to use paper, pencil and ink as mediums. Thereafter, I started to be more and more interested by painting, which became my main working medium. Nevertheless, I don’t want to be limited in any area because I like stirring together different technics and customize objects.

Mega munny, acrylique, spraypaint, paintmaker 

Would you define yourself as a Street Artist ?

I would not qualify myself as a Street Artist because I don’t practice in the streets. I see myself more as Street Art offspring as all my compositions are strongly related to Street Art technics and patterns. I actually prefer being in a studio so I can have time to think about my next creation and to plan how I would do it. Still, the streets are attracting me because of the giant format and the possibilities that could not be reached in a studio.

Share, acrylique, spraypaint, paintmaker, 50x70 cm

Are you getting inspiration from specific artists or artistic trends ?

Like said previously, I take most of my inspiration from Street Art. Concerning the artists, lots of names come to my mind but I think that the artists from the "9ème concept" have certainly  impressed me the most. Their manners of expressing themselves in such different ways but still with consistency, push me to keep practicing my art the way I do. Thus, I am consistently testing divergent technics from one another like ink (my first medium – hence my pseudo “JF-iNk”), drawing, traditional painting, typography and stencil. It is by looking at C215’s work 3 years ago that I get keen on practicing stencil technic. I did not perform an extraordinary job as for my first tentatives so I quickly gave up my first idea of a multi-layers stencil application and kept the single-layer as my preferred technic. One of its big advantages is that I can easily materialize the portrait global shape as a base to then be more spontaneous in the contrast and color arrangement. In a whole other frame, one of my favorite artists of the moment is Bruno Leyval who masters ink painting.

Less is More..., liner on artbook A3

Could you detail the technics you like working with ?

Most of my drawing are subsequently refine by computer. I use a graphic tablet to shape the main drawing’s lines and depending the height, I print the result or I draw them again on 200g paper. After waiting for few hours, I cut the main portrait form, apply the different background layers and colors. I varnish/gloss the whole by adding shadows and lights, thanks to acrylic paint, that give some depth to the drawing. All the process can be seen on my Vimeo profile: jf-ink stencils.

 Blackbook P1, paint liner on artbook, 14x14 cm

Blackbook P2, paint liner on artbook, 14x14 cm

Do your portraits just originate from your imagination or from pictures ?

All my portraits are photographs-inspired. If I find a picture that I like, I can create a stencil from it. By the way, I recently began to work with some friends of mine that are photographers. They are realizing gorgeous portraits and we have several common exhibition projects.  

Crying colors, acrylique, spaypaint, paintmarker, 50x100 cm

I noticed you let a great place to contrasts in your works, in both a matter of exposure and colors. Is this taking on a special importance to you ?

Indeed, I like to privilege contrasts in my paintings. I especially enjoy playing with shadows and lights to give the portrait some depth. I value the black and white format but I prefer to use bursting colors. A single-layer portrait  with stencil is very flat so the depth helps to bring it to life.

Behind blue eyes, acrylic, spraypaint, paintmarker, 140x200 cm

Do you have special projects you would like to mention?

I am currently participating to the Peace Helmet Project, supported by Wayne Anthony (the author of Class of 88’) and LSD (London Street-art Design) magazine. The project consists into turning an object suggesting violence in a positive art object. In that case, 25 anti-riot helmets will be painted by different artists (Best/Ever, Mr. Cenz, Dmark, My Dog Sighs, Stick…) to express each other point of view on this matter. The results will be displayed during an exhibition in London in the next few months. Through the help of an association in Quimper (France) named Trust in my art, I could also participate in 2014 in a collective charity exhibition : Safety Art, aimed for Hawaii children.
Concerning my future personal projects, I am planning a solo-exhibition in “My Première Galerie” (My First Galery), which is a contemporary-oriented art gallery in Quimper, starting Nov 29th 2014. In parallel, we are thinking with a friend of mine making portrait photographs to put together a performance confronting our medium.

Beauty, acrylic, spraypaint, paintmarker, 100x100 cm

JF-iNk’s use of colors and contrast approach is really in very original compositions he creates. Even if his professional career is somewhat recent (started in 2012), I foresee a very bright future for him. His unique visual universe deserves all reader’s attention and I strongly advise to take a look at the artist website.


The system’s mechanisms by Versus (VS)

"B&W Series", 26x95x10 cm, Stencil and painting on glass

Versus is a multi-disciplinary artist, creating objects’ customization and canvas by dynamic layout of symbolic patterns, like gear, cogs and mechanism but also eyes, masks as well as tribal and geometric shapes. He repetitively uses these patterns throughout his creation work although organizes them in novel forms each time. By exploring different arrangements, the artist reveals multiple imaginaries and invigorates discussions around nowadays’ problematic.
Indeed, the main sake in Versus’ work lies down the social and even philosophical questioning, highlighted by human/machine/nature combination. What strikes you the most is the uneven place of each pattern in Versus’ creations:  gears and mechanisms alluding the cause-and-effect relationship are often dominating. They are surrounding massively human forms, like eyes or tribal shapes, as if there were boxes… or traps. Ruffled gear, comparable to mechanism’s teeth give also an aggressive and cold feeling, which is strengthen by the choice of the colors in the compositions. Furthermore, amassing those mechanical elements reveals an inner system, as if the machine was a monster which almost engulfed humanity and was ready to crush it with its gear. Globally, the mechanical patterns are over-represented and seem to condemn the current promotion of the machine and the progressive individual dehumanization of our occidental society.
Gathering mechanisms and human shapes also questioned our system: by its complexity and endless movement, it is slipping from the control of man who ends up in a submissive position. Consequently, each composition can be seen as a cartography of these different problematic and could take the mean of a code to decrypt. Versus’ creations look as if they were influencing each other and thus constitute a denunciatory but consistent visual universe.

  "Blob From Space Serie"Collagraphy and spray paint, 10 x 15cm, 2015

"Cosmecavege", Collagraphy on paper, acrylique, spray paint and inks, 31x72cm, 2015

Could you tell us about your artistic path?

I did not feel like dedicated to art at first. I underwent a formation in graphics and visual communication in Paris, and when I graduated, rapidly began as a freelance graphic designer. As a first step, I worked for several TVs productions for which I realized fake visuals, logos, magazines, and different packaging according to different scenarios, in order for the companies to avoid paying royalties. Beyond the TV frame, I also had similar assignments within music, association, software, design, etc…
Nevertheless, this type of job is always pretty constraining as needs permanent concession. To me, the artistic process is a way to escape from the inevitable pressure and frustration emanating from the job. Under the cover of a pseudo I feel free to tell about messages I care about. I started to sign my works “VS” in 2011, and since this year, I have kicked off a professional activity, especially because of the very good feedbacks I received from my first exhibition.  In addition, I collaborate with other artists, like Lik (within the Dirty Monkey association) and also was involved in collective exhibition last October with Jean-Claude Cassier and Laurence Brigon.

"Cellarhizome", Resine and Collagraphy on Tissue paper, inks, Wood support 15 x 15 x 1cm, 2015

"Mecacollacell" Red Serie, Resine and collagraphy on tissue paper, Wood support 15 x 15 x 1cm, 2014

How are you deciding the pattern combination in your creations? What sense do they make to you?

I work as I write: automatically, as if I would be able to establish a form of communication between my subconscious and my intellect. When I am finalizing a composition, I prefer to get influence from my day-preoccupations and my feelings or simply from a music or rhythm that can inspire me better than a long and steady reflection. I make a point of remaining open to unexpected outcomes, incidents and uncertainty. This way is much more fun and can even sometimes transcend our mind: sometimes a simple strain developed by incident is more interesting than a mastered drawing. Nonetheless, I like to think my creations are indeed paving the way of a metaphoric thought.
The patterns of human, machine and nature are systematically embedded in my arrangements. Those three themes are interlocking to evoke a metaphor of what could be our actual world. The gears represent the system’s complexity and continuous movement giving its origin. This is also a good pattern to symbolize and accentuate the cyclic aspect of the system we are living in. The eyes are obviously representing the human side, the man stuck in the middle of the system, both actor and witness. They are directly referring to the tribal shapes, way to evoke the primitive tribes who were destroyed by the advent of machine area. The global intricacy of forms, shapes and patterns suggests the intimate chaos characterizing the system. If we were to consider to it as a whole, pieces are often structured in an organic manner and make me think of a living chaos in permanent mutation. Some of my creations are actually designed as living cells macros.
To summarize, my works illustrate critics about the merging relationship between occidental society and machines and subsequently the underlying dehumanization. Above all, this is an analysis of the current system we are living in but that somewhat does not seem to run properly.

"Mecazoïd red and white serie", 15x15x1 cm (each), Resin and Vinyl (cutting machine ), wood

"Mecacollacell Brown Serie», 15x15x1 cm (each), Resin, collagraphy on silk paper, wood

What are the main technics you work with?

I do not have a favorite technic. On the opposite, I try to mix several technics to create my own one, to end up with a unique visual impact. I can use digital features as well as manual tools like stencils, paint throws, drawing, collage, etching with acid…

"Geisha", 50x50x4cm, Stencil on canvas (4 layers), paint spray

3 Rings with jewel box engraved, diameter 12mm, 2015

What kind of relationship are you supporting with street art?

My work is strongly related to street art and more globally to underground culture but I would not describe myself as a street artist as I simply do not paint in the streets. That being said, I happen to use similar process in customizing decorative objects and everyday life tools like would have done Warhol or Keith Haring.

Ring Steampunk, diameter 25mm, 2015

"Torn Serie II Red" 1/2, Resine and collagraphy on silk paper, Wood support, 13 x 24 x 1cm

Are you inspired by specific artists or trends?

Of course, I have already mentioned the street art and underground culture among my inspirations. I have been fascinated by Jérôme Bosch, Dali and Escher works since I was a child and maybe later on by Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and HR Giger.
Influences from more recent artists may be also noticed: Bansky because of his protesting and cheeky side, Mr Zion (who I discover just last year) for his alikeness and colorful universe. I also like Blu for his amazing performances and his mutant universe of wild type.
On the movies side, directors like Ridley Scott, James Cameron, David Cronenberg and Stanley Kubrick keep challenging my imagination and questioning. Finally, I am massively inspired by some comic books as Ranxerox by Tamburini and Liberatore fascinated me with his cyberpunk universe.

"Sans titre", Resine and Collagraphy on Tissue paper, Wood support 13 x 18 x 1cm, 2014

The engaged art of Versus is invited the audience to globally reflect the place the machine is prominently gaining in our today’s occidental society. Of course this questioning is not new: from Modern Times with Charlie Chaplin to the ludicrous machinery of Jean Tinguely, many voices already raised against the machine’s oppression on human kind. However, the originality that lies in Versus work reveals the complexity of this destabilization and its macabre fusion. His creations are exceptionally striking in the sense he is contesting this relationship in a brand new way. As a matter of fact, his art deserves all reader attention and I strongly encourage to take a look at the artist’s page and to follow the progress of his starting career.