Post-modernism provided 100% freedom to artists to reinvent themselves. As a reaction to modernism, postmodern art criticized previously accepted beliefs about high culture and progress, and it dominated the second half of the twentieth century. Pop art, conceptual art, collage, installation art, video art, neo-Expressionism, appropriation, feminist art, and performance art are new forms and aesthetic approaches associated with postmodern art. It is above all about the freedom of creation and that each artist can re-appropriate any technique or social reference to express what (s)he needs to express.
In this sense, I am happy to welcome Benjamin Arzoine, a free mind in the world of arts. He is a passionate individual and a true lover of visual arts. His style is sharp, and his line is precise and emotional at the same time. The anatomy of his subjects is his landscape which expresses many things about the human condition. He agreed to play the game of our exclusive interview with a lot of humor and a very contemporary bite.
LuxuryActivist (LA): Dear Benjamin, we have known each other for a few years now. Your passion for graphic arts is not new. How was this born?
Benjamin Arzoine (BA): At the age of thirteen, I discovered graffiti thanks to a cousin who lives near the mythical vacant lot of La Chapelle in Paris. We were in 1985. I throw myself into this culture with rather catastrophic results and take drawing lessons in the evening after high school to progress in graffiti. Finally, I gave up graffiti in 1992; the Parisian level was far too high for me, but I continued drawing, which I would never give up, and started studying graphic design… you know the rest.
LA: How would you define yourself as an artist? What techniques or styles do you like the most in your work and why?
BA: Figurative, definitely. I like pastel for the textures it brings and the fact that it is a medium that brings me back to the work of DEGAS that I admire: it conditions me to deal with my subject. I also love the liner-pen sketch work. It’s very instinctive while being very technical since there is no possible repentance: once your line is laid, you have to manage it.
LA: How do you choose a subject? How do you start work, and are there defined stages in your creative process?
BA: I work a lot on the body; I do a lot of nudes. There are no steps, and I let myself be carried away by the drawing. I have no idea of the final result, therefore. I am simply trying to set an atmosphere, a connotation. Feel the passage of time and experience the body.
LA: If you had carte blanche and no limits, what project would you dream of doing and why?
BA: I would meet with Lucifer and ask him to trade my level in drawing for the same level in guitar (electric and saturated, of course).
“Having a BANKSY in our Living rooms is the same as reducing the artist to what he is not: An Interior Decorator of luxury apartments. This is nonsense.”Benjamin Arzoine – about the Arts Market
LA: In a world that is becoming more and more digital, what do you think about how art and the art market are evolving?
BA: The digital and the physical worlds do not fight each other: they allow artists to express themselves differently. The plastic arts have always evolved with the progress of their time, even if it means becoming less and less “plastic,” even totally virtual. Works of art are also intended to become signs of their time: today, it has no reason to escape it. It’s the order of things.
I am less complacent, on the other hand, regarding the market’s enthusiasm for street art. It’s cool for artists who can make a living, but the whole point of street art is the interaction between the work and its environment: BANKSY is particularly good at that. There is always a relevance between his work and the place where he poses it. Therefore, having a BANKSY in our living rooms is the same as reducing the artist to what he is not: an interior decorator of luxury apartments. This is nonsense.
LA: What is missing today in support to help artists develop their art?
BA: I can’t answer in the sense that I never tried to enter the art market. It seems that the structures exist, at least here in France, but logically, there are more applicants than chosen ones. That said, being an old anarchist, I am not a fan of the idea of a State that facilitates things too much: how do you want to kick the anthill when the latter gave you a subsidy? And I’m not even talking about the private patrons who are at the top of the CAC 40… I prefer to be forced to work on the side and do what I like for my part, but hey, that’s only my responsibility, of course. In the meantime, social networks allow you to have visibility and, for those who, unlike me, master how it works, get real notoriety.
LA: It is often said that an Artist’s life is difficult and the outlets complicated. What advice would you give to a young person who would like to start a career?
BA: Get a Master’s degree first! 😉
LA: Could you tell us something about yourself that not many people know and that deserves to be told here?
BA: I wear size 41 in shoes. Yes, it’s very serious.
LA: What can we wish you for the future?
BA: Serenity, just serenity… (and ten million dollars in small bills in a duffel bag)
Benjamin Arzoine is a free mind with biting humor. There is something of Edgar Degas and Francis Bacon in his art. He is an artist who deserves to be known for his audacity and freedom. You can learn more about his art by looking at his Instagram account here:
Information sourced by the author for luxuryactivist.com. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available. Images are for illustration purposes only and have been provided by Benjamin Arzoine exclusively for this article and its promotion.