On the occasion of his show at the Twenty Two Gallery with Yoann Merienne, Artsper has met young emerging artist from Lyon Etienne Cail.
1) Artsper: Can you talk briefly about your career path?
Etienne Cail: I started painting at the age of 15 in parallel with my studies. I had my Bacalaureate in 2009 and I joined Atelier de Sèvres the same year. I dropped out afetr 5 months, as I preferred to continue working by myself. Then I met Plum Duclos from Twentytwo Gallery (Lyon), with whom I am still working today.
2) A: Who are your idols in painting?
E. C: Contemporary Chinese painting has influenced me a lot (Shi Xinning, Yan Pei Ming, Zhang Haiying etc. ) but i also looked up to many of the great masters of the Occidental painting ( Delacroix, Goya, Velasquez, etc. )
3) A: What do your first paintings look like?
E. C: I have always worked on the faces. In the beginning I used to paint many women that I was finding in magazines. My paintings were more mannerist and more colorful too… then I started to work on my “heads”, those faces that look more authoritarian and are recurrent in my work today. In parallel, I began to paint my studio, integrating guard dogs (they were taking the role of “guards of the workshop “)
4) A: What was the revelation that prompted you to bring this Asian touch to your universe? Is there a political commitment underlying your paintings?
E. C: Discovering the work of contemporary Chinese painters was a shock to me. I had never seen a painting so close to the one I was dreaming of. The faces in my paintings started little by little to become Asian. And then I went to China, and that was the second shock, and I thought one night: “It would be really funny to paint Louis XIV with an Asian face”. I returned to France and I did it: I painted (Kazuhiko XIV) and this is how my series of hijacked personalities began. The series is ongoing and still very ironic.
5) A: Two questions about your technique: why this obsession with black and white and why did you choose to paint in oil?
E. C: I have started with acrylic but after I discovered oil painting, I have never been able to go back. It is so much more beautiful, stronger, and brighter and its texture makes it very pleasant to work with. For me, the super-fast drying acrylic is nothing next to the considerable benefits of oil painting.
Using black and white allows me to focus on the essential. It allows me to play with contrasts and lines to highlight the essential things, without the burden of color. It is enough for me fully render the strength that I am searching for.
6) A: In the light of your duo show with Yoann Merienne, do you think that there is a young Lyon scene about to emerge?
E. C: In all cases, the impulse given by the Twentytwo Gallery to the artistic life in Lyon is a source of dynamism that can only do good to the young artists. This exhibition with Yoann Merienne is one more step in this desire to promote the young scene.
7) A: What is one of your recent most poignant artistic discoveries?
E. C: This morning I was at the Prado Museum in Madrid and visited the exhibition “The Furias” and I was mesmerized nefore Titian ‘s Tityus. Such a magnificent piece!
8) A: What is the event that you can’t wait for in 2014?
E. C: My trip departure to Brussels at the ASFAP Gallery, which has a very original concept. It welcomes its artists at the gallery, (which is transformed into a studio), and they organize a solo show of one month’s work. All the piece are created on the spot. It is a very motivating challenge! (Opening on June 12).
9) A: What do you think of Artsper and selling art online?
E. C: I had the opportunity to be part of the OFFLINE exhibition at the Cité de la Mode et du Design, with RZG Gallery. I was impressed by Artsper’s dynamism. I find the concept very interesting, as it makes available the works online without separating the Artist / Gallery duo. So it’s beneficial for everyone!