Can you tell us more about your concrete experience of the lockdown ?
I was in France when the lockdown started, I could not leave for various reasons, so I am exiled near Royan, in Charente maritime, far from St Barth and my family. My little dog JiJi is with me, which gives me my dose of hugs, and allows me to go out twice a day for a walk within the limit of the authorized km. There are a lot of police checks, and the beaches are forbidden, like the customs trail which starts right in front of my place. I am in an apartment, but I am very lucky because my view is of the infinite sea. I go out as little as possible, I try to get as much delivery as possible. As I am alone, I completely invested the apartment, I transformed it into a spacious workshop. I had bought painting equipment just before the lockdown, and the space is covered with tubes, brushes, canvases, without anyone disturbing me. For me it is the most beautiful setting there is.
When I got there, I got sick, and I thought I got the virus. Fortunately after a good ten days it was much better. But I have not been tested. Here in Charentes there are fortunately few cases, but I have friends in Paris and in the provinces who have been infected, as well as two cousins.
What is your personal state of mind ?
I went through all the states : stupor and disbelief at the incredible phenomenon that we live, anger about its consequences, feeling of suffocation at the loss of our freedoms and the forced lockdown, fear of dying when I was sick, anxiety about being alone and for an indefinite period, deep lack of my family, dizziness before the emptiness of my future days ... I am rather hyper active and "having nothing to do" terrorized me. I made a timetable to fill this void: dog walks, meditation, pilates, music, reading, online training, phone to family and friends, painting, sorting photos, etc ...
Thanks to this "self coaching", I was able to calm down and I started to look around and deep inside. As my senses sharpened, I could see the beauty of things with serenity and enjoyment. I tried to optimize the time rather than wait for it to pass. When I walk my dog, I discover like never before the beauty of what surrounds me, I photograph, I post on my personal Instagram, I revel in every moment. I started to paint, quietly, taking all my time, and little by little this moment of painting filled all my schedule.
Does the lockdown experience have an impact on your art ?
My artistic approach has become much more serene, obvious, as if it flowed naturally. Having all my time allows me to harness this energy, I am not looking for inspiration, I let it come.
I also got some earth, and I want to try some sculptures. Anything is possible, I have time to play.
Do you practice your art during the lockdown ? if yes, can you tell us about your new pieces ?
For the moment I have only painted two pieces, I have never painted so slowly, with so much delight. I use acrylic and Posca, on canvas. The colors chosen are soft and as I cannot choose between the figurative and the abstract, I mix the two a little. The first painting I made is inspired by my children who I miss very much. The second is in line with my "ISLANDS" series, but the colors are different, influenced by the darker sea and the flamboyant sunsets in the West of France.
- Emmanuel Leprince