Part of the pop surrealist movement, French artist 100TAUR (pronounced Centaur) creates a dark enchanted world with fantastical hybrid creatures, evolving in a poetical universe. 100TAUR’s work is halfway between innocence and horror by exploring the concepts of difference and imperfection through graffiti murals, installations, drawings, paintings, engraving and taxidermy sculptures. Each tiny details of his work is a tribute to the famous sentence by Francisco De Goya “The sleep of reason produces monsters”. His work has been exhibited in galleries since 2005 in France, Italy and the US and been recently featured in the Toulouse Museum in 2014.
Hello dear 100TAUR, please, tell us how did you find the artist inside you? How long have you been doing art? Is art something that you always wanted to do?
I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. I felt the urge to exteriorise the creativity inside me, when I was feeling a sense of anxiety the only escape was to invent, materialise my thoughts. Art is not necessarily therapeutic for me, but it supported me like the best of friends during difficult times.
What was / is your major influences? Other artists, books, movies, music or any other media....What inspires you to create your artworks?
I am inspired by everything around me, my childhood memories and dreams that I try to keep alive. The idea to remain a child has been the fuel of my creativity, distant from a world that I find offensive.
My work is influenced by a multitude of sources from mythology, cartoons, monsters, SCI-FI movies, the universe of Guillermo del Toro, the litterature of Edgar Allen Poe and Lovecraft. In terms of masters, Caravaggio, Goya, Hundertwasser and specially Francis Bacon have a dear place in my heart.
I am also passionate by medecine and its monstruous pathologies. All these inspirations merge to create my vision of the world.
How does "a normal day of artist" in your life look like?
I kickstart my day by bringing my sons to school. I then head to the studio and put my painting uniform (poured with paint). I start to sort my colours and brushes a bit like a surgeon... After selecting the music track, which will definitively impact my pace and mood, I start working on my painting, drawing or scultupure, depending on the day or current exhibitions. I stop for lunch to meet up with some long lost friends then pick up my children after school and look after them, have family dinner. I then return to the studio until midnight where my day ends... and everythings starts again.
What’s your background? Are you self-taught artist or did you study art?
I initially studied Fine Arts but stopped short after one year, because their conceptual orientations were not matching what I was looking for. I continued on my own, by working hard and reading all the art books I could find. I truly admired the sculptor and master printer Marc Dautry, so I went to show him some of my artworks. He liked them but told me to continue practising and accepted to take me as his student. His artistic vision and art pratice had a profound impact on me. With him I mastered drawing and sculpture techniques. He also taught me engraving. I continued to explore several artistic routes and aged 22 I was offered the opportunity of a first solo exhibition in a contemporary art gallery in my region. Since then I continue working on my own. So I’m a self taught artist, open to opportunities to learn.
What fascinates you the most about surrealism / pop surrealism? How would you describe your style? What themes do you pursue, what surrealism mean to you and what do you hope the viewer will take away from your art?
Surrealism at the begin of the Century had this exciting ability to go beyond the actual image, risking and creating a reaction, maybe disturbing, unsettling, maybe awakening... Pop Surrealism is a natural progression of Surrealism, nurtured by medias and by a culture and modern mythology that didn’t exist before. Every artist is a concentration of influences, ideas and experiences, there is no real limit and rules in creativity and this sense of freedom is so exciting! I enjoy revisiting and distorting existing codes and create my own personal mythology. Some of my reccuring themes are icons and ancient cultures, mythology, Sci-Fi creatures, monsters, cartoons characters and microbiology... Even though I don’t necessarily focus on the viewers when creating artwork, I hope it stimulates them (whether scare them or excite them) and they can enjoy the experience and decipher some of the multitude of coded messages like a treasure hunt map.
What do you love most about creating and being an artist? What does “being creative” mean to you?
There is not one single day without creating. Being creative is being curious and do not settle for what exists but keep on reinventing. Creativity is a need.
Can you describe your typical workflow when you’re working on your art? What are your tools of trade? What medium do you most often use and why?
I don’t have any preference in terms of medium. I enjoy all of them. I like experimenting and learning new techniques, as well as mastering old techniques (tempera...) and creating my own colours.
Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
I have worked on sculptures but would love working on a series of vinyl sculptures.
Tell us more about your workspace. What was the most funny or weird thing that happened to you in your studio? What is / was the most strange thing hidding in your studio?
I have a big studio in Toulouse (South of France) which enables me to create multiple projects at once and it’s a great luxury. In terms of story... in the former studio I was sharing with two female artists, great friends, one day I gave a taxidermy lesson to another artist who was curious of the process. I was working on a duck head when my two colleagues came back. They nearly passed out when they saw what I was doing and I can still hear their screams. We still laugh about it...
What toughest challenges have you faced as an artist during your art career? What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far?
The biggest lesson I learned is that whatever happens, creating art is a pure blessing. Creating impacts our life, manages our emotions that we do not always control, it’s a bit jungling with fire. Even though an artist is surrounded by friends and family, paints a lot, he will always have this unfinish feeling that will push him to create another artwork. It’s a never ending circle.
What’s the best and worst advice you ever received in your art career?
The best: Work and practice everyday. Stay resilient. Do not block your imagination. Give a chance to what you create even to the smallest drawing on a table.
The worst: Watch too much what the others are doing. We can’t progress much by doing so.
What do you dislike about the art world? What is the hardest thing on being an artist? Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
It’s not easy to be lonely most of the time. Writer Marguerite Duras said that writing, painting drives you wild. Even though I am an outgoing person, I know that I crave isolation in order to create. But it’s a great pleasure to return to the world, feeling a bit dizzy but happy.
Where do you see yourself in the future? Professionally, what’s your goal?
Doing what I enjoy: creating art. Everything else is a bonus.
Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others? Maybe advice for beginning artists out there?
WORK. Be patient and resilient. Surround yourself with great and supporting people, as the art world can be very fierce. Stay humble whatever happens. It’s the best strengh paired with imagination et work ethic.
Your favorite art or life quote is ...
“The sleep of Reason generates monsters“ from Francisco de Goya
This quote is the motto of my creation.
What are you doing when you’re not creating? What (other) hobbies do you have?
I love fishing ! My grandad learned me how to fish when I was three and I kept on going together with the values that it brings. It’s a state of mind and balance my world. Otherwise I like reading any kind of books, from art to comics or SCI-FI that fuel my imagination. And lastly when I can I also go and paint some walls. I’ve been doing graffiti since the age of 15, and it’s pure joy.
Do you have an online portfolio or a blog where we can view your work?
Is there anything else you’d like to say? Is there any project you are working on right now or any ongoing event or exhibition you would like to share with our readers?
I just finished a commission for Philadelphia on the theme of the „Forest of Blue Dreams“. The public can enjoy the graffiti mural I painted at the Museum of Toulouse on the theme of the „ Great Predators“ . In terms of upcoming plans in 2015, I’m lined up for a few projects in the US and Europe as well as some artist collaborations but can‘t say more yet. You’ll have to check my site regurlarly.
Thank you dear 100TAUR, it was a honor to interview you, I wish you only the best for you and your art and already looking forward to see your new art works :)