ArtSlant's Georgia Fee had the pleasure of visiting Antoine Béchara in his studio in La Courneuve, just outside Paris. Antoine and Georgia played with his magnetic paintings (creating numerous variations on a theme), talked about music and art and discussed Tony's upcoming performance plans. To see more, visit his ArtSlant Profile.
Georgia Fee: What is your earliest memory of art making?
Antoine Bechara: I remember very precisely how i began my art and what is my first art work. It was in 1977. I was at school sitting in my classroom while the teacher was talking. I was a little bored, so i took a sheet of paper and began to draw an abstract motif. I held it out to my friend who was sitting on the same desk. I still can see the expression of his face and his eyes when he looked at the drawing. It was a deep astonishment.The next day i made another drawing for myself. The day after i tried a third drawing. In this way , without knowing it, i was beginning an art adventure which is still going on.
GF: Who was the first artist that affected you?
AB: The first artist that affected me was Douanier Rousseau and especially his work called "La Charmeuse de Serpents".
GF: What do you listen to? Recent books you've read?
AB: Operas (Mozart, Weber,Wagner, Bizet) symphonic music (old recordings from the fifties to the seventies) musicals (Bernstein, Frederic Loewe, Cole Porter) french singers (Brassens, Zazie, Bashung) Rock, pop, electronic and lounge music (especially Queen of the stone age and Nirvana).
Recent books i've read : "Le Kabbaliste" by Patrick Lévy. "Les Chants de l'Ile à Dormir Debout" by Elisabeth Inandiak.
GF: What would you change in the art scene?
AB: I would break some walls. For instance there is, in art, a principle which forbidd us to touch art, i mean touch with our hands. Art must be "touchable". Even a valuable fragile vase has been created, not just to be viewed, but to be touched. We can try to understand it with our hands, like a blind man would have done...A few people realy knows that special energy which is hidden in the act of handling a piece of art.
GF: Why do you get up in the morning?
AB: Because at the beginnig of each day i am very excited at the idea of discovering the new sensations of the world. Generally i dream of my future art while sleeping and i get up in the morning to give him a shape.
GF: How do you stay sane?
AB: I have created a formula in five points.I check every day these five points. What are these five points is not important. The important thing is not to forget checking them. after that i go swim and write. This keeps me sane.
GF: What do you dig? What do you don't?
AB: I love:
-playing Chopin at the piano
-to imagine life as if it was a comic strip and recreate it.
-to travel inside myself and travel in the cosmos.
-the stormy weather
-Sundays afternoon in town
-to plan my time in advance
ArtSlant would like to thank Antoine Béchara for his assistance in making this interview possible.
(All images courtesy of the artist)