(oil and collage over a recycled painting)
Paris. Montmartre. Rowdy cafes. Noise. Thin women stylishly dressed. Absinthe. Redundant, pointless philosophical discussions. Inebriated poets, artists, writers…. This is how I used to imagine what Paris was like growing up. I liked picturing myself in the midst of all that culture …and tragedy. I’ve always thought there has to be a lot of tragedy for all the innovative arts to take place. Perhaps, I had an overactive imagination and read too many French novels as a kid.
I was very lucky because no one has ever censored what I was reading or looking at growing up. I saw Montmartre through Pissarro’s and Bonnard’s eyes, I held my breath as one or other damsel in distress was being rescued by a gallant chevalier in Dumas’s novels, I cried reading Hugo, laughed with Molière, and fell in love with a city far away.
I wished I could travel back in time to Paris that I’ve read about. I longed to witness tragic romances, reckless chivalry, and most of all snobbish art aficionados criticizing art of impoverished geniuses we praise today…
As I’m writing this I’m yet to visit the city of my childhood dreams. I can, however, paint it any time I want to. It’s one of the perks of being an artist… You create your own world, your own reality. You can surround yourself with any scenery or people you want to.
This portrait of a Parisian Flapper I painted on a whim. I was in a possession of a pretty unappealing (at least to my taste) large canvas mass produced to look like a Parisian cafe. At first, I wanted to paint over the whole thing, but then got the idea of transforming it while still keeping a part of the original painting. And that’s how “La Parisienne” was born. It is now one of my favorite paintings. It hangs in my dining room and forever reminds me of Paris.