Michel SOUBEYRAND (1957)
Born in Montpellier in 1957, Michel Soubeyrand grew up with a mother who was a painter, and joined the painting department of the Paris Ecole des Beaux-Arts at the age of 17, where he was fascinated by sculpture. He then successfully exercised his creativity in the service of television and cinema advertising for about twenty years, developing special effects and 'animatronics' (robotic puppets).
It was at the beginning of the 2000s that he decided to devote himself entirely to his art, setting up in a studio in Pérols, in the Hérault department of France.
Always eager to experiment, he creates pictures made of multiple layers of varied pictorial materials – modern and traditional – each one covered with a layer of varnish, nowadays even attempting to include gold leaf and LED bulbs in them. Their style was inspired, he said, by album covers from the rock group Yes, which was at its peak in the 1970s; a mass of coloured interlacing out of which a figurative subject emerges, but which nowadays tends towards abstraction.
His great passion remains sculpture, however, which he has particularly developed since the death of his much-loved dog which was honoured by a mausoleum decorated with a statue representing her on horseback. The anthropomorphised dog thus became his favourite subject, wearing different costumes or accessories in the style of comic strips, cartoons, films or other works destined for children to which the artist had previously contributed: '...I talk about myself in my works because they reflect different sides of my life...'. Indeed the cinema also inspired him to create, ironically and with humour, certain of his dogs such as Dog Vador armed with a bone – an avatar of Darth Vador armed with a laser in Star Wars – as an illustration of his own journey. But other 'art toys' in connection with human tragedies, such as Mao Dog, , propose more caustic levels of interpretation. That definitely seems to be the case with Jungle Toys, a figure this time of a smiling Mickey Mouse composed of an assemblage of skulls, that are taken up again as a base element in Vanity Table or Et Dieu ('and God'), indications of a reflection on the meaning of life.
Dog has its feminine counterpart with a buxom appearance that one might suspect has been enhanced! Swaggering with her water pistol (Cosmic Girl), and with hair that often looks like a Smurf's hat, she sometimes adopts a more ambiguous and serious tone in connection with sexuality (Slave Dog 'total enjoyment').
Describing himself as a 'sorcerer's apprentice', the artist constantly tests techniques and materials, developing his work over long periods. Also practising bas-relief and photography, he make works in very varied formats – from small-scale to monumental versions – using resin that he covers with coloured lacquer, tattoos or chrome, or chromium- or nickel-plated bronze.
Michel Soubeyrand has created Pop Art of a new kind.
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Art works from Michel SOUBEYRAND
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