How They See

By Piotr Jastrzębski

How They See - Issue #33: ChaX on decay and passage of time

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How They See

February 27 · Issue #33 · View online

How They See will help you to meet artists from all over the globe and understand their perception of art.

ON VACATION

Published weekly on Saturday.


ChaX, as my two previous guests: Martin Sandwich and Frank Moth, creates under a pseudonym. For me, it was fascinating to be able to talk with them and learn about this choice. Its common areas and differences.
The main area of interest for Chax is degradation, a natural process that is fascinating and scary at the same time. But his art is not trying to compete with reality and represent it as it is. The focal point is feelings and the largest view of life itself.
Ultimately, the open question is: “why reproduce what is already in front of us”?
You can learn more about ChaX on his Instagram or website.

What do you like the most in Toulouse and where is the best place to hang out in the city?
The sweetness of life, the climate and the spirit party are the most I like in Toulouse. My favourite place to be is walking along the “canal du midi” as in the winter as in the summer.
I was interviewing François Bonnel, an artist from Toulouse and came across your art. It was an accident. Who is ChaX?
I am 46 years old, I live and work in Toulouse. After studying the history of the Arts and then making a stint at the School of Fine Arts in Toulouse, my path strayed from creation for twenty long years. But I continued to be immersed in the artistic world within a large decoration store. For six years, a visceral need has put me back on the path to creation. And it is almost feverishly that I satisfy this need to express myself… but you already know it because I think you read it on my website. You make me discover François Bonnel, is he on Instagram?
ChaX, DEGRADATION 96
ChaX, DEGRADATION 96
Yes, you can find François on Instagram, I also highly recommend you my interview with him. Getting back to our conversation. To be honest, I supposed ChaX is a pseudonym or “alter ego” under which you are showing your work. Is it any specific reason that you don’t work under your real name?
I take a pseudonym because “chax” is more simple to memorize than my real name. And to keep an anonymous life every day and make a real frontal between my art and my family life.
You have moved away from creating for 20 long years, why did you get back to it then?
I have always painted but I couldn’t find my own style. Nevertheless, I needed to paint. But no topics were interesting to me enough and for a necessary time to realize personal work. One day I visited the museum of Pierre Soulage in Rodez (France). I understood the more important is the pleasure we can find and carry out our own search. It was for me a revelation.
Are you trying to portray reality as it is or distort it? When I was looking at your paintings I couldn’t decide.
I never try to represent reality because I think reality don’t need me to be beautiful, awful or surprising. And more, why try to reproduce what is already in front of us? Therefore it’s normal that you couldn’t decide. But I hope that my works create a feeling: “it seems to be…” or “that reminds me…”. That leaves more possibilities.
ChaX, DEGRADATION 89
ChaX, DEGRADATION 89
What is so special for you in the decay and passage of time?
Decay and passage of time are not really interesting to me. It’s the largest view of life. Why are we on the Earth and where will we go after death? Who lived here and what was his life like? Each degradation tell: “hey can you see me, I have been there !”. Each degradation returns a life. And especially, it leads to reflection in imaginary stories.
I must say that erosion or passage of time is something that I am curious about but I’ve never been fascinated by. Maybe from the side connected with nostalgia. Isn’t that what you want to convey to the viewers?
Yes, it could be nostalgia and more. Curiosity. But beware, no melancholy. I don’t try to show something but to generate memories or imaginary stories. When archaeology discovers traces of the past, it’s a party, a moment of pleasure
Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from my pleasure of doing something with my hands. I love to make, repair, tinker… it’s a necessity. Playing with texture and of course with colours. I have to let my hands make little by little. It’s why I can’t do figurative art. Materials and colours decide I’m only a guide. I can’t follow a plan. So when I begin work, I don’t know where I’m going to arrive. It’s like opening a gift.  
ChaX, DEGRADATION 59
ChaX, DEGRADATION 59
Your creative process looks quite demanding, at least from the observer point of view. Can you provide some details about it?
My creative process is demanding. It’s a very long process where many layers follow one another for many days and many weeks sometimes. The timing of drying strain my patience. But it’s an obligatory passage for a perfect result. I often have to redo everything from scratch.
When do you know that your painting is finished?
It’s never finished, I just decide to stop work on it.
Can you give some advice to any self-taught artist or designer?
Always have pleasure and only that. And let your pleasure guide you on your works. Don’t let anyone say what to do or why not to do it, be yourself. And if you can share your works it’s a gift!
What is your favourite colour?
Wooowww !!!! I can’t choose !!!
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Have a great week!
Piotr
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