Alexandre Tartarin: Skulls, Skills, and the Vanity of Society
Interview by TK Mills Photos Courtesy of Alexandre Tartarin
When did you first start creating art? Was there a pivotal moment in your life when you decided to pursue art as a full-time profession?
I started to create art in 2015, with the desire to take my time and create original and quality pieces. I want to avoid doing art that is easy – subject matters that are simple. I don’t like to follow trends. At the moment, I am not creating art full time, however I hope to soon.
Do you have an artistic mission or philosophy that guides your artistic style?
I want people who see my work to feel things, whether positive or negative. I want people to realize we are not different. I hope to generate emotions and memories. I try to remain myself and faithful to my idea of art. It’s important for me to focus on the quality before the quantity.
Why skulls? What made you want to use a symbol often associated with death as a major part of your art?
All people, all over the world, have a different approach to vanity, and I have always been fascinated by the symbolism of the skull. I wanted to treat this subject appropriately, but also desecrate it, to give the skull a contemporary touch.
What material do you use to create your art? Do you vary your substances?
To create the pieces, I use resin. I’ve also started to use more and more plaster and concrete. I really like what different materials can bring to a subject, especially one like the skull. I also hope to start working with bronze and aluminum.
Is there a piece you’ve made that you’re particularly proud of, or had a hard time selling because you wanted to keep?
Yes, for me it’s my piece, "Lilith." She was, and still is, my biggest sculpture. ‘Lilith was lot of work and I’m very proud of how it turned out. The day someone made me a serious offer for the piece, I didn’t accept it right away. I had to think about it for a few days.
What is the story behind Lilith? Where does the name come from and what inspired you to create it?
The idea of ‘Lilith’ arrived soon after my first series. I wanted to make bigger, more complex sculptures, while continuing to put effort into every small detail. I wanted something enigmatic, that would instantly interrogate the viewer. So I decided to cover it with a veil and open its jaw. Without the veil being opened, it creates attention around the sculpture’s silence. This piece represents the silence of women at the dawn of humanity. As for the origin of the name, in legends, Lilith was the first women of Adam.
Why do you think it’s important for art to evoke emotions in the viewer?
If there is no emotion in a work, it’s impact is lost. We often associate visual memories with emotions. It is part of a whole, and sensitivity is unique to everyone.
Do you think art can be used as therapy? Do you think art has the ability to heal people?
I think so. Music is certainly therapeutic and can contribute to the recovery of a sick person. So why not visual art?
Skulls are often a symbol of death - how do you think your art reinforces or contradicts this belief?
I do not think my art reinforces or contradicts this belief. With my work, I try to restore the primal nobility of the image. I am very inspired by religious art, particularly in a time period where vanity is everywhere. Plus, the skull is visually striking.
How long does it usually take you to make one of your sculptures?
To make a sculpture, from idea to adding my signature at the end, can take between two weeks or several months. I'm currently working on my latest piece, which is three months in development. However, I'm coming to the end of the process. I’m really looking forward to sharing this new piece with the world!
He is on Instagram @ALEXANDRE.TARTARIN
He is on Instagram @ALEXANDRE.TARTARIN