Since I acquired the ability to hold a pencil between my fingers

Since I acquired the ability to hold a pencil between my fingers, I have always sought to transcribe my vision of the world and what lies within me. My early childhood drawings were done with markers and colored pencils. Naively, I mainly drew ducks (drawings from 1989). However, soon my works took on a more disturbing dimension.

A drawing from 1986 depicts a dark heart on the front of the sheet, and on the back, a monster devouring a building. I was only five years old at the time. Around the age of eight, in 1989, I began creating war scenes, likely inspired by what I saw on the news in the 80s, particularly the war in Lebanon, famines in Africa, and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that crystallized a lot of anxiety about the future.

During that time, on the TV news, presenters would simply advise viewers to keep their children away from the television, and then the worst images from around the world would scroll across the small screen. I still remember the execution of the Romanian dictators Ceaucescu. The sight of bodies falling under gunfire both frightened me and exerted a certain fascination. I can still see myself reenacting the scene with my small plastic soldiers on the family living room linoleum, much to the amazement of my parents.

Later, around the age of nine, in 1993, I discovered my first fantasy, science fiction, and horror films. These frightening universes were more reassuring than the atrocious reality around me, especially with my growing awareness of my mother’s mental illness. Gradually, these films became a refuge, a enveloping cultural dimension that acted as an outlet for my anxieties.

Due to my anxious nature, I began developing attention disorders and rapidly debilitating hyperactivity, paralyzing my social relationships and affecting my academic performance.

In 1993, my parents divorced when I was 12 years old. Shortly thereafter, my mother, despite being mentally very ill, obtained custody of me. It may seem absurd today, but that’s how it happened at the time. Isolated and in an atmosphere of increasing violence and insecurity, my grades dropped significantly. The only subjects that still interested me were French and Earth Sciences, areas where I excelled. I had no grades below 16, but everywhere else, it was a complete failure.

In parallel, I fed on comic books and constantly drew from the back of the class. I created monsters, zombies, skulls, winged demons, mutilated bodies, and soldiers. I read Choose Your Own Adventure books and developed my own role-playing game scenarios, complete with illustrations and fantastic maps.

At the age of fifteen, in 1996, after nightmarish years with my mother, she passed away in tragic but predictable circumstances. It was an immense relief for me, an emancipation that I experienced as a second birth. Placed with my father, I began reading my first real literature novels. Quickly, I discovered great science fiction and horror authors such as H.P. Lovecraft and Clive Barker. In parallel, inspired by Enki Bilal’s comics and the paintings of Egon Schiele and Francis Bacon, I began giving a more serious dimension to my drawings. I wanted to continue creating by entering a progressive and evolving artistic approach. I had a rather romantic and gentle period, but nevertheless marked by a certain sadness, where I experimented with different techniques and styles, inspired by everything I could appropriate.

At the age of nineteen, in 2000, I had to get my first apartment and start living on my own. I worked various odd jobs interspersed with periods of unemployment and difficult learning experiences. Nothing I did brought me any sense of accomplishment. I was bored. Reflecting on my traumatic journey (I discuss it fully in the long autobiographical afterword of my book “Les Mots du Mal – Mes correspondances avec des Tueurs,” published by Camion Noir), I adopted a very nihilistic mode of thinking and self-destructive behaviors. Drawing was the only activity that validated and relieved me, even if it was expressed in solitude.

At the age of twenty-three, in 2004, I drew a triptych depicting highly evocative deformed masses of flesh mounted on iron bars. A few months later, I learned that I had contracted a disease. These three watercolor paintings were therefore prophetic, unless it was an unconscious revelation of my condition even before the diagnosis was made. After an operation and a ten-year follow-up that made me reflect a lot on my behaviors and served as a lesson, I was officially declared cured. The hardest part for me was to believe and accept it. Despite my joy at overcoming it, my great satisfaction in response to this announcement was rejoicing in being able to continue creating and drawing. It was my third birth.

Around my twenty-seventh year, in 2008, I met two talented painters, and together we created a small association that didn’t work miracles, but this period was subject to intense creative emulation. It was during this time that I sought to perfect my style, going through different phases from expressionism to abstraction. I experimented with all kinds of techniques on linen canvas: charcoal, graphite, gouache, acrylic, and watercolor. I also engaged in texture games, collages, and sometimes even painted with my blood. My favorite theme was the body.

Always inclined to produce dark works, I was constantly told to create brighter, more colorful, and larger works. It was almost a prerequisite to exhibit in painting salons and attract the favor of an unimaginative populace with formatted tastes, eager for landscapes and shapes in harmony with the color of their curtains. I tried, but it wasn’t my thing. What I produced was fake, hollow, uninspired, and I distanced myself from myself. So, I returned to what I loved doing in the domain where I felt comfortable.

Quickly, canvases piled up in my second 50-square-meter apartment, resembling a studio. When I had to move in 2009 to another city for professional training, I parted with a large part of my paintings, keeping only those I deemed the best. With my diploma in hand, I then moved to Bordeaux into a new apartment and had to give up painting on canvas, which was too cumbersome. For the first three years, I produced nothing at all. I was far too busy acclimating to my new social and professional environment, in addition to dealing with homesickness. Then one day, I started drawing and painting again, this time on 300 g/m2 140-lb heavyweight drawing paper measuring 30 x 40 cm. This medium took up much less space than linen canvases mounted on wooden frames. I rediscovered the infinite possibilities of India ink that I had vaguely experimented with in the past, ten years earlier. My dark style asserted itself over time and matured. Approaching forty, I continue to create dark works that transcribe everything inexpressible to me in words. I’m not trying to shock, even though my creations may offend sensitivity. I use the energy of chaos as a medium to create my own universe.

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