Photography / Editorial / Print

We speak to artist Romain Froquet ahead of the “Empreinte” exhibition, a series of drawings recently realised by Froquet. After generating prints of his drawings in various formats he has re-edited his work to offer a different interpretation, bringing a certain uniqueness to the form and evolution from past to present, from childhood to adulthood, but keeping elements of both.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and background?

I was born in 1982 in Villeurbanne, France. My life changed when I joined the 9th Concept, as it gave me the perspective of artistic destiny. 9th Concept’s main activity, over the last twenty years, is collective creation which is exhibited in galleries, museums or on the street, through multi-disciplinary and interactive exhibitions.

Where do you work and call home?

I create in a collective studio in Montreuil, close to Paris. This is the 9th Concept studio. I live in Paris.

How important is colour and the use of structured space in your work?

The colour is the most important thing for me - I don't think about it, I feel it. It's a natural for me to find the right colour... It helps me to speak, to convey emotion. When I look at a picture, a painting, a drawing... the first thing I see is the colour. The colour is the life, the power, the feeling, the soul.

My work is based on the research on the balance. Balance between being spontaneous and structure. I think that in life and on Earth, everything is movement - Everything is moving, in flux. I try to transcribe this process in my work, my lines reflect this movement. My lines reflect life. They never stop.

Someone wrote something about me, which would sum up my use of space, Romain's "style expressed appearances through faces" which "look at the scars that have influenced him in exploring a more instinctive and singular unconscious. His style has now evolved toward more complex asymmetrical forms, mastering the use of colours and illustrating space, toward a coherent and structured abstraction. A spontaneous drawing, free from judgements".

What do you think about when creating your work, do you visualise the work beforehand in your mind?

I don't think very long before I create. I like to improvise and feel things. This is only improvisation. When I create, this is not with my brain but with my mind and body.

I don't visualise my creation before - never. I Like to put the pencil on a paper and view what happens. A creation is like a discussion between me and the support. When I paint I like listening to music, to think of moments of my life, of my childhood, my brothers and to everything else, be it sad or beautiful. 

There are several elements and shapes present in your complex, abstract pieces, where do you find your inspiration from?

Music - Symbolic - colour - Life - Nature - Love - Humanity. At the beginning I was very influenced by tribal art from Africa, and South America - All the masks. You can find in my work all the masks which influenced me - but in an abstract way. I always paint and draw eyes. This is a representation of my vision and the vision of others - If you really intensely observe my work you will find eyes hide between the lines. 

I work with some symbolism - the tree for example, the door, the hand. The tree that represents life, the roots, membership and so on. I mix all these symbols that I create with painting projections, impressions of hands, spontaneous forms. At last, I find a new inspiration - the travel. 
My last travel in India and USA were two incredible experiences - I met new people, new civilisations and other artists.

What would you ultimately describe art as? 

Art is everywhere. In my vision, art is simply the fact to be free to express yourself with your own language.

The exhibition Empreinte is about evolution, how important has it been to incorporate the past with the present?

Through my painting I try just to find my soul of the child. I'm looking for innocence, spontaneity. When I mix the past and the present - I mix my child self with my adult self. My adult "side" gives me the technique, control, the intellectual side, reflections on life and the human being... It is a confrontation. Today we could talk about an evolution, because it's new for me - my artwork has a new direction.

Are you excited about the XOYO exhibition in the UK? 

Really - it's a new experience, a new travel, lots of new persons. I like doing my "job" because I can always meet new people, everywhere. This is why I have the opportunity today to exhibit at Xoyo, because a few months ago I met Alisa Phommahaxay, the curator of Xoyo, who was a very good friend of Estelle Domergue, the co-organizer of the exhibition Go West I where my canvas was shown in Paris.

Today this is XOYO, and I am really excited to do something in this Gallery, in London! For a (French) artist - doing something in London is very important. I think London is one of the most important art-places in the world. I talk about painting but also music! Doing exhibition at a place like XOYO is perfect for me. I am very excited to show my "Empreinte" exhibition to English people.

Have you explored London much?

This is the second time I have come to England... The first time, I visited seven years ago with my brother was really nice.

I have fallen in love with this city. It is a very large city with many neighbourhoods. It's like in a giant village. Music everywhere, different cultures everywhere, I had a really good feeling of this place, especially within the heartbeat and environment of Camden.

What plans do you have for the remainder of 2012 and beyond?

A beautiful Co Branding with Haviland (French porcelain) - you will see this collection in Harrods; a solo Show in France (Dijon) L'Espace Gallery. 14th April - 5th May; a group show at the Yvonamor Palix Gallery in July in Houston, Texas; a group show and performance in the "black and Basque" festival - France (Bayonne) - September and a performance in the "noo" festival - France - Paris - in June

Romain Froquet - The “Empreinte” at XOYO GALLERY from 5th April 2012 -­ 30th April 2012

As featured in Unfolded Magazine Issue 07


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