23 Mar 2023 | Journal
Excited about upcoming painting trip – this April at Monsieur Jamin’s Paris studio..
When visiting a new place, I always want to live like a local – rather than ending up visiting the usual tourist spots. For me, it’s the best way to truly experience somewhere and find out what it’s really about.
The first time I visited Monsieur Jamin in Paris back in 2020, he asked what I wanted to see – to which I expressed that I just wanted to experience what a typical day looks like for him. That being said, I was there for five nights or so and didn’t even see the Eiffel Tower. Although I didn’t see much other than the four walls of his studio (we slept there too) we were crazy productive – as is usually the case when we come together. In most circumstances, I don’t necessarily agree with the notion of ‘productivity’ as a functional objective when it comes to painting – but when it’s a natural coincidence, it can be pretty special.
As individuals, and as artists, we are very similar. We can’t verbally communicate (I don’t speak much French and Jamin doesn’t speak any English) but we just get each other. Most times we meet, our friend Francois acts as translator which means we can have a fairly good conversation – although it’s probably not much fun for Francois (who insists we were related in another life as we say the same things – and have the same perspective on practically all things related to the dictionary’s most loaded three letter word – art)!
Francois – via an intuitive selfless act – was actually the reason we ended up meeting… read more on that here [LINK]. We owe him a lot of thanks! Having first met in 2019 at my studio (Stroud, Cotswolds), Monsieur Jamin and I have since worked together on five or six occasions between Paris & the UK. The next collaboration is to take place at his new Paris studio this April (2023).
It’s a pretty unique situation to be able to sit opposite someone over dinner, not verbally communicate, and for it to not be remotely awkward. It’s the most unique relationship. I can’t imagine it ever being mirrored in my lifetime. It’s one of a kind.
People often ask about the painting process when we work together collaboratively (the videos below will probably describe this better than I’m about to)… we generally pin up 5-10 canvases to whoever’s studio wall, and just jump around each other – sometimes working on the same canvas, and sometimes working on separate canvases – normally working long into the night. In our first meeting, we agreed (via Francois) that ‘anything goes’ and if we wanted to paint over something that the other has painted – then that’s what we must do! It’s all about trusting the process and we didn’t want anyone to hold back even slightly out of politeness/courtesy. There’s no ego or any of that nonsense. We just have fun (as it should be) and see what comes out of it. The project so far has seen the result of some of our respective all-time favourite paintings which have been exhibited in Paris – as well as here in the UK. In our eyes, the project is only just getting started.
As always, I’m intrigued to see the results of this April’s Paris painting adventure – which I shall no doubt update via this Journal.
A visual snippet of our collaboration so far…