Olivier Masmonteil, painter from France. Photo © Patrick Messina

Tell us what you do and your beginnings.

I’m a painter with a passion for exploration, landscapes, and infinite horizons. My beginnings in the art world date back to my adolescence, when I entered the Beaux-Arts academy in Brive-la-Gaillarde. Under the tutelage of Jacques Gabriel Chevalier, I was introduced to a multitude of artistic techniques, from drawing to charcoal and oil painting.

During this formative period, I was deeply influenced by artists such as Mark Rothko, Cy Twombly, and Pierre Soulages, as well as by the landscapes of Corrèze and other regions of France. These early experiences shaped my artistic vision and laid the foundations for my artistic subject matter.

In 1996, I pursued my artistic path by enrolling at the Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux, where I was confronted with debates on figurative painting. This period was decisive in my quest to understand art history and my own artistic identity.

Olivier Masmonteil, 2020 © Ph. Aurélien Mole

Today, I continue to explore the themes that have marked me since my beginnings: landscape, art history, and the infinite desire to discover new horizons. My painting reflects this constant exploration, blending reality and personal mythology to create works that invite travel and contemplation.

What does your work aim to say?

My artistic work is an exploration of the possibilities of painting, a quest for meaning in an ever-changing world. Through my canvases, I seek to capture the essence of landscapes, express my vision of the world, and provoke reflection in the viewer.

For me, painting is a physical and emotional act, a dialogue between the canvas and myself. My work also reflects on the history of art and the role of painting in our society. I draw inspiration from the past while looking to the future, aware of the challenges I face as a contemporary artist today.

Where do you find inspiration for your art?

My inspiration comes from some different sources, which are divided into series. On the one hand, the “Horizons” series, which stems from my travels around the world, and on the other, the “Memory of Painting” series, which comes from the history of art and painting.

Olivier Masmonteil, 2022 © Ph. Aurélien Mole

For example, I created the 5 works for the suites of the Hotel St. Regis in Venice. I was inspired by the painter Monet, who stayed there. I also reworked the Rubelli wallpaper motif to add it to my paintings. I love Soulages’ phrase “It’s what I find that tells me what I’m looking for” and it sums up my approach to painting.

For me, every subject is a source of exploration. I like to exhaust the possibilities of a motif by reworking it with different techniques and media. I also like to work with charcoal, pastel, or watercolor, to open up new avenues of research.

Could you give us some insight into your creative process?

My creative process often begins with a period of observation of the world around me. I take photos of subjects that inspire me. In my studio, I spend time reading, discovering the works of other painters, and exchanging ideas with my collaborators. I usually start by sketching out my composition in charcoal, but sometimes I go straight to paint.

Then I create a palette and work layer by layer with oil paint. I never know what the final work will look like. Drying times are long, so work can take several months to complete. Sometimes I’m not satisfied, so I don’t hesitate to go back or cover up certain areas.

What are your future projects?

I’m preparing a new series of paintings, which is moving towards abstraction. It’s taking some time, as I don’t know exactly where this new series of paintings will begin, nor where it will end. I’ll show it on social networks.

Interview by Fabio Pariante: X • Instagram • Website


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