Born in 1974, Aksel Varichon, Swedish by birth, grew up with a taste for the arts and in particular for drawing and painting. As a child, he drew, sculpted, modelled and painted his first canvas at the age of 14.
At the age of 25, after graduating from an art school, he began a career as an independent artistic director mixing illustration and graphics.
But, in the intimacy of his studio, his imagination and his different techniques (acrylic painting, Indian ink, photography, lithography...) allow him to express his art and his vision of society through singular canvases full of beliefs and disbelief.
Wild ‘Exposition personnelle’ – La cartonnerie (Paris)
La Source ‘Plate table’ de Jasper Morrison (Vitra) by 50 Artists’ – Hôtel de l’Industrie (Paris)
Q. Tell us about yourself and how you came to be an artist…
A. I was born in 1974, of Swedish origin, I grew up with a gallery mother who instilled in me a taste for the arts and in particular for drawing and painting. In my earliest memories, I have always drawn and painted my first canvas at the age of 14. At 25 years old, a graduate of an art school (Penninghen / ESAG), I started a career as an independent artistic director mixing illustration and graphics. At the same time I have always continued to paint and develop my personal universe.
Q. Describe your work…
A. I describe a world without human beings where the animal and vegetable world take their place in the world again with the architectural heritage that we leave as a memory of our passage on earth. It is a figurative and poetic work, confronting us with our human condition and our contradictions.
Q. What does your creative process look like?
A. I elaborate my paintings for a long time in my mind, I build them, change them, transform them... then I make several sketches. When I am satisfied, I attack painting on canvas, which does not prevent me from continuing to change the composition, the structure, the colours... until I am completely satisfied with it. Several months after painting, I often destroy them because they no longer suit me, my creative process continues long after I have finished a painting.
Q. Where do you draw inspiration from?
A. I draw my inspiration from nature, travel, the animal world, human architectural achievements and our relationship with the environment.
Aksel began to sketch the world around him. His dreams and disillusions of a society where Man finds himself alone, where individualism shines with its impotence. The plants, the objects, are placed there like trophies to charm His ego. But his gesture, immediate and brutal, his accidents, reveal a fragility marked by freedom and light. Life flows through these red veins and this colour, violent or passionate, appears as a common thread in each of his paintings, drawings or lithographs.
He then began a subject that would remain very present in most of his works: the animal world embodied by the dog. This dog comes alive with these intense colours, full of life; sometimes cut off, it reminds us that we cannot amputate ourselves with our animal nature.
He wanted to perfect a series of drawings made at the Louvre during his studies in Penninghen to give it a new impetus. He illustrates them by adding objects or dogs. The red, always very present, even omnipresent, spices up the softness of the original work and gives these works a new meaning, a new life.
Photography is a work that has been close to his heart for more than twenty years. His silver photos are always worked in black and white. The very deep blacks contrast with the appearance of these very colourful animals, made with different techniques (watercolour, acrylic, Posca, coloured pencils, charcoal).
Architecture, the primary illustration of the power of Man, is no more than an additional landscape for these liberated beings. They face the beauty created by Man's hand but also the chaos, overflowing with contradiction, bequeathed by this biped.
Aksel does not depict a deadly apocalypse for the entire ecosystem, but a future full of hope. It pays tribute to the sumptuous and architectural power of Mankind and to this fascinating nature that unfortunately is dying out.
Q. What messages or emotions do you hope to convey to your audience?
A. I am dealing with the observation of the human madness that has destroyed the planet in a few thousand years, a drop of water since the existence of our Earth. Animals wander through landscapes where human constructions are there but empty. Life is back on track. We have not been intelligent enough to respect the "living" in its entirety. Excessive capitalism gradually cut off the branch on which we were clinging. This is a cold observation, but it is indeed a future filled with hope for the animal and plant world. I pay tribute to the architectural power of mankind and to this fascinating nature that unfortunately is dying out.
Q. What are you most proud of?
A. I believe that my greatest pride is to participate since 2013 in the auction of La Source (Association that supports children and young people through artistic expression) chaired by Gérard Garouste. In addition to helping children in great difficulty, it allows me to approach design work and at the auction, to be surrounded by great names of creation such as Philippe Starck, Christian Louboutin, Jean-Michel Wilmotte, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Gérard Garouste and many others...
Q. Who are some contemporaries or figures in art history who have influenced you?
A. Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by painting and sculpture. First, artists such as Otto Dix, Jérôme Bosch, David Hockney, Géricault, Degas, Basquiat, Picasso, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Ingres... Then later Soulage, Peter Doig, Gérard Garouste, Pierre Monestier, Quentin Garel and so many others... touched me deeply and nourished me.
Q. Are there any quotes or mantras that you particularly connect with?
A. I like Zao Wou Ki's quote: "Don't be original, be unique".
Q. Is art making therapeutic for you?
A. Painting is really the medium that appeared to me at a very young age in order to externalize my anguish and then my thoughts on the world. So a big yes, art is therapeutic!
Q. Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?
A. I can work in silence or with music but generally I am too focused to really listen to anything.
Q. What makes you laugh?
A. Black humour, insolence, cynicism, and irreverence... Strange, isn't it? It actually helps me to step back from the madness that drives humans.
Q. What makes you nervous?
A. What makes me most nervous is that a large part of the population, and in particular those in power, do not want to be aware of the urgency of a radical change in the way we approach the world in which we live.
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