Interview- Artist Vincent Edmond Louis

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When Vincent showed me his “Faceless” project I immediately found it interesting and fresh. Shooting  beautiful women and then covering their faces- an idea to concentrate on something else? I wanted to discover his inspirations and what drives this young artist.  I’d like to introduce you to a young international French artist who after his US passage divides his time between his atelier in Switzerland and Paris.

What does photography represent for you?

This seems like an easy question to answer but it really isn’t. My views on photography have varied over the years as I have a slight thorn in my side with the direction the digital 21st century has taken the medium.I fell in love with photography at a relatively young age. I took my mothers Pentax 35mm on my first trip to India in the summer of 1995. I think I blew through a few rolls a day. I felt like I owed it to my family to document every single thing I saw and experienced as they could not be there with me. After returning from my trip the anticipation of collecting the developed film from the local drug store was like Christmas in the middle of the year. After flipping through the shots and seeing the whole trip again for the first time and explaining to my family what, where, how and why each frame was taken was just an amazing feeling it was inexplicable. I think that’s when I figured “I’d like to keep doing this..”I think that photography was a way of immortalizing my excursions and in turn, myself, “I took the photo therefore I was there”.It was just amazing to be a photographer carrying a camera around capturing moments, friends places….Now everybody is a photographer and everyone has a camera on them at all times wether they like it or not. This has now made the subject matter, common and completely redundant. If I happen to see something incredible in the street fifty four teenagers will have shot it, done some editing on it and posted it online before I’ve even taken my finger off of the shutter release.Getting back to the point…. photography is and always will be the romance of a still image, (as long as it is not manipulated to over steer the viewer into a marketing trap), telling many stories depending on the interpreter. It lays in that field of “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” where one see what he needs to see and one sees what he wants to.To be honest i don’t know how to go about describing it to you. Photography is what i know best, its my first true love and i think that what i am trying to do is to redeem it from its recent past as a tool to misguide people. i am trying to make her honest again. Its a relationship i am trying to fix….

Faceless- a great project where you photographed well known personalities but you decided to erase their faces?
How did this come about and what was your inspiration?

Its something i have always done, painting on photos writing on them etc… but as i mentioned before in the previous question i feel that photography has lost a bit of its soul and purity. We are so busy swallowing what the photographer and label or marketing agency is pushing down our throats that we are no longer using our brain and looking at the rest of the image. the whole picture.. there for by photographing a beautiful person, model, actor, celebrity, then taking a can of spray paint and removing the intended focus of the image, the subject, the viewer has no other choice but to appreciate the negative space. By appreciating the negative space and working your way around to the center of the now painted over subject, your mind starts to imagine what and who could be under this coat of paint. Your mind wanders, your imagination is set free. Proust once wrote: “let us leave beautiful women to men with no imagination” now i don’t literally believe this saying but i think in the context of what i am doing i can agree. I remove the obvious beauty so that the viewer may appreciate what is not so obvious, the work, the colors, the hair, the shoulder the list goes on……

You are working between Paris and Switzerland? What does each place represent for u?

Paris is a city that I have spent time in every summer renting a flat and taking in all the culture, beauty and history. I have never lived there full time and I figured I am at a certain point in my career where I need to set some roots physically. My work and creativity will never have a real home. I know an artist usually does not have a country or a home but, I have traveled the world over and my feet are getting tired. I loved and lived in NYC, Miami, LA, London for considerable periods of time, each serving their purposes creatively and personally. Being French, originally from the south, I thought it time to come home, back to France. Paris is a city that I have always felt good in, about myself, my work and at times I even feel a little sexier there…….

What are your upcoming projects?

There are many things going on. As I am talking to you I am on a layover in Munich heading to Gothenberg to work on a 2m ceramic rhino for a charity ball in September. The charity is called “a perfect world” 2013 was focused on the rhino and it being poached, hence my working on a ceramic rhino.

We just had London 14 art fair with my gallery, Galerie frank pages out of Geneva. In Zurich I should be doing a group show with bolte lang gallery. May I will be in NYC for a week with my manager, Kipton Cronkite, we have a few projects lined up and a few meetings. One with a record label and two established designer labels with whom I may be collaborating, all the while checking out freeze. I collaborated with house of Meandher last summer, which is an awesome Aussie shoe label, where I had the privilege to shoot the campaign with the lovely and funny Poppy Delevingne. So I am looking forward to seeing that. Maybe we will do another campaign together.Then i am doing another collaboration with Nick Fouquet hats. A  model buddy of mine launched it and they are amazing worn by all sort of cool people. thats gonna be fun. I am shooting the editorial for a Swiss magazine called Tribu magazine, where one of my faceless series will grace the cover.  I am psyched about that because it is distributed in Colette amongst other places, but you know… it’s Colette……., so it will be nice to see something I’ve done in a magazine on display there. Also in may I will be doing a solo show at Galerie frank pages in Geneva with the faceless series and perhaps some of the, (mirror), you are pieces. That were featured in scope art fair Miami.Then Basel with my gallery then we will see where the year takes us. I may be doing a show in Istanbul in 2015 depending on the social climate.

You studied Fine Art photography at Central St Martins in London. Why did you decides to study photography and why there?

First and foremost, London, one of my favorite cities most of my favorite artist hail from there or have lived there. Actually I did my foundation at saint martins. I later went to the London college of fashion, part of the London institute,  where I studied photography. It was the first year the course was launched in 2001. As for choosing central saint martins, well, that’s a particular story.  when I was filling out my Ucas application I did not have the courage to tick the saint martins column as I had only done A level art,  most applicants had done GCSE through to A-level. I had done GCSE music instead. In reality it was my high school art teacher that went ahead and check the box without my knowledge. While visiting other sub par art colleges in London my father called my mother and I during my interview and told us to stop whatever we were doing, to politely excuse ourselves and return to our hotel at once. In a panic we followed his instruction to the letter and when we arrived a fax awaited, subject heading ” unconditional offer central saint martins college of art and design London institute” So mom and I spent the rest of the time in London “touristing” it up as I immediately cancelled all of my other interviews and appointments.
But at the end of the there reason why I chose Saint Martins? Well it is an excellent school and I could bore you with the details on their approach to artistic formation, but bottom line, it’s Saint Martins, who in their right mind would not want to study art there? There is not enough space to list the talent that school has birthed, raised and guided.

You have lived in America and India as well-what were the essential experiences you draw from these two countries?

I try to visit India every year or two years i was offered a two year studio residency in Mumbai that i had to turn down, due to a personal matters. However when i do go i do spend a month or so, sometime even longer. I first went when i was fourteen years old and with my friend i met a a spiritual leader which changed my life. An eye opener of sorts, a peace within. India has changed quite a bit over the years but there is a certain peace you find within the chaos. Its like fractal geometry its a mess yet it has an order to it. Unlike the U.S. where there seems to be order but there is an underlying mess. I love the states for one particular reason, as there you feel the presence of hope all around, “yeah its gonna happen for me too, i am gonna make it”. Even if it does not, there is that energy, its presence is undeniable. The American dream….and what not.

Who are your favourite artists and why?

Marcel Duchamp -Mr. Duchamp experimented with different techniques. His conceptual approach to the art making process and especially his conception of the ready made and what constitutes a work of art. He refused to conform to the standards set by the arts “society” and was truly in, my opinion the true founder of what I have come to call the individualist era of today. A chess playing rebel in a suit.

David Hockney-Since i started to study photography his photomontages have always inspired me. My mock a-level final was a life size painted photo-montage, of myself.

Helmut Newton- as far as fashion photographers go….. it’s Newton…. no need to say more………
Where have you exhibited your work?

Stephan Stoyanov gallery NYC
Galerie Frank Pages geneva CH & Baden Baden Germany
Galerie de l’europe Paris FR
Gallery Gothenberg SE
Sakshi Gallery Mumbai, IN
BrickLane gallery London, UK
Scope art fair 2013
London ’14 art fair
Metropol hotel Monaco
artist space Stockholm SE
mercedes benz fashion week VIP lounge nyc

If you could be any person from a historical period- who would that be?

Da Vinci

A photo of me Vincent took in London

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