When I first stumbled across Mr. Dumaine’s work 5 years ago, I thought I must have lost my mind. Here was a person creating abstract, surreal, political and very socially conscious work, and creating it by the dozens, by the hundreds. I sat for several hours perusing his online gallery, and I walked away with many new ideas and inspirations floating in my head. If you haven’t already stopped by and marveled at his work, please do so. You’ll find new worlds awaiting you, new concepts and values that you may not have encountered before. Come inside a world where the chess pieces move by themselves, and transform at will.
What are your greatest inspirations?
I like to explore various mediums; Oils, pencils, inks, digital - each of them owns its particularity and can provide a singular inspiration source. Now, my favourite styles are Photorealism and Surrealism with sometimes a mix of both; I usually work in series, such as my "Humble "or "Clay” drawings.
What part does other artists works play in your learning process?
At an early age, I was only trying to get "good drawings"; I mean still-life with correct proportions between the objects, good shading, and volume.
Other artists' influences came later, mostly when I was preparing for my sculpture diploma. At this time, I was really touched by French artist Gérard Titus-Carmel whose method consisted of creating his own models in order to draw them. Another artist I like a lot is Yves Tanguy and I would like to mention Gérome Bosch and Chuck Close as well.
Do you feel restrained by your medium?
I sometimes do, about painting or video clips...
About painting, I don't have the "sense of colour". The most part of my work is Black and white - I can be successful when I paint from a model, though- I did many paintings copied from digital sketches or collages in paper.
Now, after a very long practice of drawing, I don't have particular problems to use this technique, just a matter of time.
Where did you receive your formal art education?
I began having painting and drawing lessons, one afternoon a week, at the age of 11 until age 15 at the Fine arts school of Angoulême. Some years later, I prepared for a diploma in Sculpture in the same art school for 5 years and I received my diploma with a mention for drawing in 1977.
When did you first notice your own style emerging?
I don't think I have a real style - I mean style in the sense of Miro, Vasarely or Mondrian, for instance - All I can say is I never had been an abstract painter.
What other elements of your background have come together to aid you as an artist?
My passion for drawing was given to me by my father. He never gave me lessons or such, but I still can recall how I was amazed by some drawings in ink he did at an early age. Maybe comic books had some influence on me when I was a kid; some of them were drawn by skilled drafts-men and I have copied some of their drawings.
In your opinion, does society plays a role in what people create?
Of course it does!
I can quote specifically Goya's engravings "Disasters of war" related to the Napoleonian war towards Spain and more recently, Dadaism's intention which was clearly related against war, after the horrors of World War 1.
What does Surrealism mean to you?
It might sound strange, but I do not revendicate the Surrealist label. I prefer to say I am an artist who sometimes works in the Surrealist field.
Now, what I like about Surrealism was their condemnation of colonial oppression, (war of Algeria, 1960) condemnation of priests they considered to be obscurantist and also the Nazis. They were firmly opposed to fascism and all religions.
The same way Dada did, they considered women as artists in their own; they found new ways of inspiration - automatic writing or drawing, collaborations, (Art was primarily supposed to be a single artist's creation) and game as art. (Such as Exquisite Corpses)
At least I like a lot Andre Breton saying Surrealism was the union of reality and imagination.
What are you trying to communicate through your art?
It is difficult to say, as I work very instinctively. Chance, accidents, changes are having a large position when I am drawing; I "discover" my work in the end, when finished.
A thing that could emerge in my realistic work is that, I mostly give attention to ordinary people in portraits; the same goes for landscapes or still-life.
What would you like to say to members of Shadowness?
I would like to say I was born in 1953 and I am French; so, pardon me for some misspellings or grammatical errors in this interview!
I would also like to share some links where more of my works can be seen: