Born in 1963 in Lyon, Olivier Massebeuf attended the Paris School of fine Arts in the 1980’s and took pleasure in studying the work of graphic artists such as Hugo Pratt and Jacques Tardi but did not feel inclined to devote himself entirely to painting as a way of life .
In those days, he made a few acrylic paintings in black and white .
Between 1983 and 1987 he concentrated on his English studies but continued to draw and to indulge his fascination with the comic strip as an art form . With his sister Pascale he carried out a project called “ Rosa ” . This involved the writing of a story which inspired the accompanying illustrative cartoon .
At the same time , Olivier Massebeuf painted at night after his daytime studies, a marginal , somewhat secretive activity which he took to heart and which brought out in him a deep- seated affinity for painting .
Having spent a year in London teaching French as a language assistant , Olivier Massebeuf returned to Paris and started working as an illustrator for a Role playing magazine called GRAAL , which enabled him to improve his craft , notably composition , a key element in his future work as a painter.
Nevertheless ,when he stopped working for the magazine in 1990, he became engrossed in various music projects , to such an extent that for the next ten years he did not pick a pencil or a brush .
In those days , he was dedicated to music above all .
In 2000, Olivier Massebeuf resumed painting with the conviction that he was now ready to express deeper feelings ,while playing music and working as a teacher of English in a suburban High School .
That’s when he started to paint relentlessly with contradictory feelings of fulfilment and frustration
Although Olivier Massebeuf is reticent when talking about his artistic journey , he gives a few hints as regards his work :
“As a teenager I came across Egon Schiele’s drawings and it came as a shock. I see him as the precursor of comics ( along with Toulouse Lautec ) , quite ahead of his time… Hugo Pratt might have thought the same ! Since then, I’ve had a taste for strange atmospheres that have sometimes been considered as morbid though I don’t think my painting conveys pessimistic feelings . As a teenager , I was fascinated by Paul Delvaux’s solemn onirism that seemed to match my taste for the English Cold wave that was a fashionable music trend then .
Besides, I feel really close to painters like Lucian Freud, francis Bacon, Jean Rustin or Jenny Saville who carry on with the exploration of the human soul , a trend that will never fade away “.
Marie Voisin - English adaptation by Angela Cornforth. 2010
Please note that the works are presented in chronological order
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