THE ART PLUG EDITORIAL: BERTRAND FOURNIER
MEMORIES ON CANVAS: BERTRAND FOURNIER
BY JOHN OLDANI
Bertrand Fournier is a self taught French artist who started when he was 31 years old, just over two years ago. While his work has gained immense popularity on Instagram, he never stops seeking improvement while growing his craft through experimentation. He primarily works with color and the combinations that flow together in unison, creating both abstract and symbolic images perfected by his concise methods. Fournier’s images are often inspired by memories and unique experiences gathered from his life.
“My style is hard to describe because I work on so many projects at the same time; some are abstract and some are figurative and directed more towards symbolism,” Fournier said. “I work on the link between abstract and figurative and joining together these two disciplines.”
What many of his fans might not know is that Bertrand works full time as a nurse in a psychiatric infirmary in Paris, France. He cherishes his job and enjoys helping others in a particular setting, but he looks forward to dedicating more time to his art as he grows from his experiences.
“I intend to take time at the end of the year to release more art, but I adore my work at the infirmary,” he said. “My colleagues are more than colleagues, they are like a second family. But I try not to think too much and I let things come as they will. To project myself in the future does not interest me anymore.”
When Fournier started painting, he never imagined it would be used for anything other than his own amusement.
“I began painting by chance; my mother gave me an old frame without a canvas in November of 2016,” he said. “I then bought a canvas so that my daughter could draw and we could frame it. However, I tested out the canvas for myself and quickly caught the ‘virus’.”
That “virus” turned into an incredible collection of unique paintings conveying memories, emotion, and abstract ideas. A friend suggested that he put his work on Instagram and his reach quickly grew to an international level. Art enthusiasts like The 1975’s frontman Matt Healy and UK radio personality Nick Grimshaw quickly took notice and purchased some of Fournier’s work for their own collection. What started as a hobby evolved into something Fournier would have never dreamed of.
Finding inspiration as an artist can come from anything, but a blank canvas can feel intimidating as you struggle to find inspiration and see the vacancy as a daunting task. For Fournier, a vacant canvas is another opportunity to display a particular concept or focus on a memory unique to him, but relatable to many.
“I work primarily on things that stuck with me from my childhood; the children books, the games (tangram, domino, etc), the rainbows, and the candies.” he said. “I like to work with colors and their associations, but I am not considered as a colorist because these color associations serve only an idea, and do not represent their origin.”
Alongside the actual canvas, Bertrand creates the frame adding to the originality of the entire piece.
“I do not only create the painting,” he said. “I prepare the canvas, apply the glue to the frames, and make the wooden crates that hold it all together.”
For a young artist, mass recognition might seem overwhelming, but Fournier doesn’t allow himself to stress about what he cannot control because he keeps a strong focus on the task at hand. While some may say his artistic endeavor was sparked by his uncanny talent, he argues that his focused demeanor, work ethic, and profound passion for his craft is what carried him to new levels.
“I never studied art. All that I learned, I learned on my own,” he said. “My first 400 canvases are what I would call my ‘studies’ canvases. They enabled me to test different techniques, canvas types, styles of paintings, and mediums. It was a necessary process for me to find what corresponds well with myself.”
It is important as an artist to find and develop a style in order to gain traction in the industry, and Fournier uses past experiences to hone in on his techniques. An artist’s style may change over time, but it is important in order to find a voice and gauge the reach of an artist’s work. His signature style is apparent and his paintings instantly gives viewers a sense of nostalgia, culture, and class.
Fournier is a fine example of how it is possible to find passion in unlikely or simple ways. What started as a blank canvas gifted by his mother turned into an impressive catalog of paintings, handcrafted by Fournier for viewers around the world to experience. Our passions have the capability of becoming our full-time, everyday jobs, but that is not always the case. For Fournier, his passion for being a caretaker coincides with his passion as an artist, and his art can be used as a release from the stressful nature of working in an infirmary.
His art teaches us that it is important to explore different mediums in order to release energy, tell stories, or voice your opinion on issues you care about. We may have many different passions, but it is up to the individual to put the work in so they can come to fruition.
“I do not believe that raw talent by itself can create success,” he said.
Hard work paired with the desire to be someone original will lead to incredible success in any aspect of life or field of work, and that is reflected in his art.
The Art Plug will also be featuring his works along with an interactive art activation during their Miami Art Week (Art Basel Miami) event in December 2018. More details to come.
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