Time for connecting

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Life as an artist – and the natural introvert that I am – can be like flying solo. 

So for those of us in largely individual pursuits it’s a much needed breath of oxygen to connect with others on similar paths. 

It was a pleasure to be invited as a guest artist at the recent open studio weekend at Pérols – fifteen minutes from Montpellier and nestled on the edge of a salt water lagoon. The studios were set up a couple of years ago by the sculptor/painter Michel Soubeyrand and, being the dynamic action man that he is, he has expanded and invited other artists to join him. 

Most of the artists in the complex have street or pop art leanings.

This aesthetic has become a huge commercial scene in France today. Probably elsewhere too, but anyway, I can only speak for where I am right now. I have more of a fine art focus, so for me it was a weekend of discovery of different aesthetic approaches and ways of operating. Not that the two can’t mix – they do and they are mixing more and more. My brain is processing it all and ideas are churning…

Surreal is my best attempt to describe the location. 

When I drove past for the first time I wasn’t sure if it was an archeological museum showing a Roman settlement (there actually is one a few kilometres away and the area was on the old Roman road from Italy to Spain), a rubbish dump or an industrial complex. The only visible sign of art studios was the two large banners flanking the entrance. In fact the place was (and still is) a demolition/recycling business for old stonework from bourgeoise buildings that have been renovated, demolished or whatever. So if you happen to be looking for a new bassin or grand archway for your chateau renovations, or just feel like adding a little ambience to the back garden, this is the place. The studios are in the middle of it all.

Each of the resident artists invited guest artists to show with them for the weekend. I was invited by the lovely Rosario Heins, a Colombian painter now in France.

The studios are in the big old sheds behind, and have been divided into individual lock-up spaces of varying sizes. here are some inages from the weekend. I met many people – artists, artisans, collectors, journalists, friends of friends…. It’s good to jump out of one’s hole of daily routine.

Michel Soubeyrand’s studio above, and my wall below. I chose to show mainly works on paper.

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