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Louis-Nicolas Darbon

  • 5 min read
  • Louis-Nicolas Darbon takes inspiration from his travels, fashion and celebrity culture to create vibrant and dynamic images, packed with exuberance and colour. 
  • He is a leading voice in the domain of men's fashion and presides over a very influential blog on the world of gentlemen style. Louis very kindly took some time out during a trip to Miami to answer some questions for us and give some fascinating insight into his life and art.
  • What is the significance of the icons and celebrities that feature in your work?

    We live in a world where we are surrounded by celebrities and to me Kate Moss is the most incredible super model of our times in my opinion, Cara Delevigne is the new Kate without a doubt and Kendall is the biggest celebrity phenomenon of our times- both with incredible social media status.With regards to icons, Basquiat of course is a huge inspiration and Steve McQueen is my favourite fashion icon of all times. I would however never paint anyone that I don't find incredible just because they are super famous or have amazing social media following, I will only paint people that I find inspirational.

     

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  • You have a very well respected, popular fashion blog and work within the industry. Does the world of fashion inform your art or do you see it as a separate entity?

    Well, thank you very much, I am honoured! Art and fashion are very much part of the same world for me, I take inspiration from the fashion world to my artworks and vice versa. I definitely think that I've become braver in dressing and mixing colours thanks to the art and fashion trends are a big inspiration for some of my works  and of course luxury brand's logos!

     

  • How would you describe your work?

    Fun and liberating bursting with energy and colours!

     

  • What is your fashion tip for us at artrepublic for the upcoming spring season?

    A military army jacket, a scarf with a great print and some fun slippers and you are set for the season.

     

  • Do you listening to anything in particular whilst working?

    It can be anything from classical music to pop and house, I can't work in silence it stresses me.

     

  • Where did you grow up? Were you a creative child and how did your upbringing influence your art?

    I grew up in Versailles and Paris, and I have been painting since, well forever. I think I was only around 2 when I held a paintbrush in my hand for the first time and since then I was always painting. My mother has quite a creative hand, so it's definitely from her I got the creative gene. My parents were always supportive and got me a little studio in the house where I could paint with no one disturbing, it's been kept like that since then and I love going through some old stuff from when I was a kid.

     

  • What made you become an artist?

    I always painted on the side of University or work, but always kept it as a passion on the side. When I met my girlfriend she was the one who pushed me into taking it a step further to really evolve and supported me to produce more artwork. Step by step since about two and a half years ago, I could never have dreamt of where I am today, it is like a dream come true.

     

  • Where and what is your studio?

    In the heart of Notting Hill, only a few steps from Portobello Road, which for me is the most inspiring part of London.

     

  • How do you approach the actual making of your work?

    When I have an image in mind or the vision of the final work, I am always so anxious to get it down on a canvas, or piece of cardboard or wood or whatever it is that I am creating it on! As I go along I discover what works and what doesn't, if I want to work with a collage or some other material, what will be a stencil and what will be hand painted it all kind of happens naturally.

     

  • What would you say are the main themes you pursue?

    Icons, luxury fashion brands and a bit of irony of our world today.

     

  • How do you choose your subjects?

    It really varies, the other day I got an amazing piece of fabric of the American flag and I knew straight away I wanted to paint on it and then it suddenly hit me what I wanted to create. Sometimes it’s a great photograph of someone very iconic – it really depends.

     

  • Where do you find inspiration?

    It can be anywhere or anything, I can find inspiration at every corner – from fashion, vintage fabric markets to exhibitions I see. I find a lot of inspiration from travelling especially in Miami or LA – or just around the corner in my neighbourhood in Notting Hill.

     

  • What are you currently working on?

    I'm always working on several pieces at the same time, sometimes I start on one piece and then when it doesn't feel 100% I have to leave it and I start on something else. I am currently producing the pieces that will be in my first solo show later this spring - watch this space.

     

  • Which of your works are you most proud of?

    The melting Chanel No5 neon bottle that I created on wood was one of my first ever pieces that got included in an exhibition, it was part of the 'NewSchool2' exhibition at Graffik Gallery and I had no idea it would get so much attention and that it later would become one of my signature pieces.

     

  • Do you care whether people like your work?

    Of course, in the end of the day I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't because people liked my stuff and actually wanted a piece for their home. But then again not everyone will like my stuff because they have a different taste and sometimes its good to get feedback from people who are not into your works.

     

  • Who would you say buys your work?

    Anyone who loves pop colours, fashion and iconic portraits! You might think that my art has a certain age group but I've met many of my buyers and they are all so very different and I have collectors in all ages which I find really inspiring! You can never get too old for a 'Scrooge' or a great neon Chanel No5 bottle.

     

  • What's the most memorable piece of advice you've received in regards to your art?

    To always evolve and experiment with new techniques, work with new materials and mediums.

     

  • If you weren't an artist how do you think you would you express yourself creatively? 

    Probably as a menswear fashion designer.

     

  • Is there an art form you don't relate to?

    I am not a huge fan of landscape or sculptures of old kings - they even kind of freak me out.

     

  • Which artists do you most admire?

    Warhol of course, Russell Young, RETNA for his amazing murals, Kobra (I love his street art piece of Basiquat in Wynwood Miami) just to name few.

     

  • Finally when would you say are you happiest- creating the work, exhibiting, finishing it?

    Tough question, creating the work is always inspiring, exciting and challenging as I can change my mind along the way and the piece will come out looking completely different than what I would have imagined and that's always exciting! Finishing it always has that satisfaction element to it and when you get really attached to the piece, exhibiting it has that mixed feelings of excited and nervous at the same time!

    image credit: www.louisnicolasdarbon.com

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