Interview: Bertrand Martin
Luca Curci talks with Bertrand Martin, one of the winners of the ARTIST OF THE MONTH – JUNE 2020.
Bertrand Martin was born in 1975 in Verdun, France. He grew up in southern Burgundy. From childhood he was fascinated by sciences and the arts. Under the watchful eye of his grandfather, a watercolourist, he drew from drawing books and periodicals, teaching himself to control his motions and the mysteries of serendipity. As a student, he keenly practiced music at the conservatoire. Parallel to his preparatory engineering classes, he pursued photography and drawing. Scientific objectivity and the act of creation, the contingencies of reality and wandering imagination perpetually nurture this duality in him that he converts into equilibrium. To begin with he devoted himself to watercolour. Filled with passion, he painted day and night, taking advantage of every moment to draw, driven by this desire to make up for lost time. A period of recognition began. Bertrand was invited to take part in several watercolour fairs, and was awarded with prizes, publications and solo shows. From then on, the artist wished to focus fully on painting. He received good advice from Jean-Louis Morelle, one of the fathers of modern watercolour. The artist therefore joints together the blending inherited from his practice of watercolour to the thicker texture of oil paint. Bertrand found his signature style. Today he continues his research to succeed in achieving the very best works of art with always more expressive power. He is currently sharing his art with his growing community on social networks and wishes to offer a wide public the opportunity to discover his works.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Bertrand Martin – Art is everything for me. Picasso said “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life” and it really echoes something in my mind. What is life without Art? Is it not the one thing that gives a meaning to life? I was lucky to be raised in a family that valued art a lot. I started to study music from a very young age at the conservatory of music while I was also drawing and painting. Today, classical music and painting are still the two domains of art that touch me the most. I always listen to music when I paint.
LC – What are you currently working on?
BM – I am currently working on a large portrait of my son, with his face being 100x100cm, it is my first time painting such a large painting of a face and I really enjoy it very much. There are technical challenges of course in large scale portraits, but it is such a thrill to paint a mouth, eyes and all the features of the face that are as big as your arms. With large scale portrait, the viewer can choose the level of interaction with the painting between penetrating the intimacy of the face, especially the mouth, and contemplating the overall composition.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in the society? And the contemporary art?
BM – Quoting Picasso again “Art is life that makes us realize truth”. Artists provide their communities with joy, interaction and inspiration. In a way, every artist plays a different part in contributing to the overall health, development and well-being of the society.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
BM – I find my inspiration in all things that surrounds me. It can be a rusted railing, a shabby wall as well as a beautiful child face that I see walking on the street. What I am looking for in the models I paint is thoughtfulness and a little bit of melancholy. “Melancholy is the happiness of being sad” said Victor Hugo. This reflection resonates with me.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
BM – Each painting is a long journey. It is like hiking a mountain. There are moments of jubilation and there are moments of doubts or discouragement. These are of course the most challenging part in creating an artwork.
LC – What is your creative process like?
BM – To paint the facial features I use a brush technique alternating precise strokes and random blurring lending the face softness, fragility and melancholy. The I tackle the background. I rub, scratch, scrape and scrub. Motifs form, deform, appear, disappear, merge and fade away on the grain of the canvas.