Translator: meghan zwahlen reviewer: elisabeth buffard hello. So I have the responsibility to explain to you what creativity is, for me. This isn't easy because i spend my time in my studio, between four walls, working on small copper plaques, that will have engravings, and here I have to speak before a hundred people, and that requires a some courage.
This notion of courage, i think is important, in the first place. I think that creation requires courage, that which you cannot try to obtain with ease, trend or the system.
I think that you are creative all of your life as a creator. And I also think that you are creative by nature.
So when I was young, I spend a lot of time alone in my corner, because I did not want, maybe, other people to tell me what I should do.
So I spent a lot of time drawing and I loved it. It was the only thing I did when I had free time.
The problem is that it never stopped, and I had to continue on this path because for me, it was very important. So, I went to an art school after high school.
And in this art school, I learned to work with 19th century methods. This school was called l'académie julian. And there you learned to work with things as barbaric as that. I have in my pocket something called a " plumb line".
We had to draw, from measurements taken with tools like this. And at the end of that year, I realized that I had learned many things and I was very happy to know all of it.
I said, " that's it, I finally know how to draw." super! Next, I went to beaux-arts in paris where I was told, " son, it's not that at all, drawing is not working with the methods you've been taught but rather working with your emotions, with your heart after all." so I was a little unsettled.
I had to sur acknowledge that the people who had told me that were right. And I understood that what I had been looking for until then was certainty. Teachers say, " a head is like this, a tree is like this, a house has a red roof" etc.
After that, it's difficult to tell yourself that it's all useless. So I was a bit lost, but I understood that what matters in creation, is not having certainty, but rather searching for what you do not know.
So I think that creation, in any case, as far as i'm concerned, is rather a type of discovery, it's an adventure. Bonnard said: " painting is the adventure of the optic nerve." so let's keep the idea of adventure and discover what you are going to do.
A creator is someone who is going to do something he doesn't know, but he will discover. So you are a bit like an archeologist, who is going to a site, armed with knowledge.
He knows roughly where he is going, but he does not know what he will find. So he will dig, he will find something, keep it, put it in his pocket, and then he will want to go further.
He will continue, maybe find something more interesting. I think that creation, is always looking for something more interesting in the end. Then, there is no manual. When you are sure of nothing, you have to manage to do something.
So, you have tools, I had mine, I learned painting, I learned drawing, and when I approach the question of knowing how to represent, for example, this young woman in front of me, I am completely unarmed, because I am in front of something completely new, that I do not know how to translate other than by the means that I have not yet discovered.
I have all my tools in hand, I know how to paint, I have done many paintings, but my tools will not necessarily serve me to penetrate the mystery of the person before me.
I must find solutions because even if i've done many portraits, there's no way everything I did before can help me make the portrait in question. So, that's always the question.
Even if you are an abstract painter, I think that you cannot make a painting and another identical one and then another one. Each time the problem is completely new.
You must deal with that. That may give rise to a merciless battle between the artist and his work, between the painter and the canvas, if you would. And sometimes it's a real fight, because you battle with what you have learned, with your certainty, with your culture, and also with your desire to do something different.
And all that, it's always a little messy, in your head and on the paper. If I make a painting, everything gets mixed up, I want to do something, i think I know how to do it, but if I do what I know how to do, it doesn't work.
I must find something else because i would like to do something different, something very strong, with its own identity, something that reflects me but at the same time is itself. So I am going to use every possible means to make something, i come to a sort of hodge podge, where everything blends together, and then at a given moment something happens.
And this thing, is the one that counts the most in creation. It is something that you had not expected, that appears, just like that. So, it's you who did it, and at the same time, it's not you who did it.
It's more so the work itself that did it, because the work presents itself differently one day, because you have a different perspective that day. For example, you were doing something else, and you saw your painting in the corner, and then it shows you something else that you wanted to add.
I don't know how to explain it to you, it's a very strange feeling, but everything is there. The merit of the artist, of the creator is recognizing the moment when the work takes control and brings you where you wanted to go that's to say towards something that you have never done.
It may be mysterious, but I think it happens like that. Picasso said, " the painting makes me do what it wants." it's exactly that. So the creator must be capable to admit that his work may escape him and must escape him.
If not, that is not creation, that's doing what you know how to do. That's all. When you reach this point in your creation, the work you're making, I want to speak about doors.
That's to say the work you've made, that you are no longer making, that presents itself to your eyes one day, opens a door for you.
In this door, you must engulf yourself, you must enter through this door and go search in the direction that it shows you, until you finish the painting; a painting, a sculpture, or something else.
Because I think that those things finally belong in a more natural order. That must be the way for whoever calls themselves a creator. There it is, I think I said just about what I wanted.
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