Artist Alexander Charriol continuously conveys a sense of motion and transformation in his work.
Human existence inspires me. Our need to interact, to touch, to smell, to create a dialogue and to become intimate fuels our evolution. Our instinct for survival and the inevitability of death speak beyond all languages, cultures, politics,religions, morals and values and unites us towards an ultimate goal: Life.
Unity between each other and unity within ourselves is always a driving force in my work. My art is an extension of myself, and I let my instincts and flow of energy drive my creativity, rather than my more analytical mind. The result exposes my most visceral emotions; and I hope evokes a similar reaction from viewers. Perhaps awakening a powerful response, even for just a moment.
In my most recent series, "Human Flow" I focused on the mystery behind the human touch. Each painting tells the story of an overpowering energy that feeds our desire to connect to each other. In contrast, I am now examining individuality as a subject; how the body and mind relates to their surroundings, and the impact of how one sees oneself in the eyes of others, and in their own image. The enigmatic power of self.
2021 Madison Studios, Los Angeles
2017 Presson Place Gallery, Los Angeles
2015 Human Flow Manila Philippines
Altromondo Arte Contemporaneo Gallery
2013 Human Flow Hong Kong, The Space
2012 Human Flow and the Objects Of Life,
Loutus L’Art de Vivre Gallery, Bangkok Thailand
2010 Human Flow Project, New York
2009 Karl Hutter Gallery, Los Angeles
2008 Yoshii Gallery, Japan
2008 Art Space Gallery, Dubai
2007 G.E Galleria, Monterey, Mexico
2007 Elite Traveller project, New York
2007 Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery, New York
2006 Art Space Gallery, Dubai
2005 Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery, New York
2004 Kee Club and Art Statements, Hong Kong
2004 Ayala Museum Manila, Philippines
2003 Yoshii Gallery, Paris, France
2003 Colonia Condesa Gallery, Mexico City, Mexico
1999 Sydney Muse, London, England
Group 2011 Mallick Williams Gallery, New York
2007 National Art Club, New York
2007 Michael Murphy Gallery, Tampa, Florida
2006 Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery, New York
2005 Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery, New York
2004 Peekskill Project, New York
2004 Stereognost/ Propriocept, New York
2003 Square Gallery, Litch!eld Connecticut
Today we speak to Alexander Charriol (b.1979) an artist who continuously explores human connection, intimacy, individualism, the power of human energy and society in the form of abstract expressionism. Born in Honolulu Hawaii to French parents and raised on three continents, Alexander Charriol is truly multicultural, straddling the America-Europe-Asia axis since his birth. He started painting during high school in London, where his accomplishments lead to his first solo exhibition at the Sydney Museum in London in 1995. Charriol continued formal art/painting at college at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and later Parsons' School of Design in New York City. He simultaneously joined his family business, the eponymous jewelry brand, Charriol, his father created in the 80's. He's since been exhibited and collected by galleries and museums around the world including the LHTM Gallery in New York, the Ayala Museum in the Philippines, the Yoshii Gallery of Paris and Japan, Kiptonart Gallery in New York, and Artspace in Dubai. Over the lockdown the artist decided to focus full time on his artistic career, and is based in Los Angeles, California.
Alex, how would you describe your visual style?
My visual style has stayed the same over the years, and it stems from powerful colours, bold and raw shapes and figures that create a narrative abstract form. I don't paint in the traditional style, there is always an interaction happening. The root of the
ideas come from these pictorial story boards that I create in my mind. Once I get the ideas onto the canvas, I begin to layer, and get more intimate with how I express those ideas. I have become more loose and free flowing over the years, and in fact I feel more free as an artist now. I want to expose emotional conflicts, challenge contemporary belief systems and investigate
hidden vulnerability through a sophisticated road map of the body.
How did you choose or decide to become an artist?
As a child, I suffered from dyslexia. It made me quite erratic in school, and one day I got in trouble for something and was sent to detention. It was there while at detention I took a paintbrush and I did exactly what I wanted. Iit was the first time I ever got any praise. It felt good and it was at that moment I knew exactly that I had found myself and what I wanted to do with
the rest of my life.
What about your greatest inspirations?
Well inspiration is a funny word. I get my inspiration in small doses and as an artist I have to grab them while they're there. I think many artists learn to be in tune with their body and for me personally, inspiration penetrates all of my creativity and I just go with it. Sometimes it can build up slowly and other times I experience ‘out of body painting’, and when I look back, I realize that my inspiration took completely over and led the whole artistic process. It can get very intense and emotional.
How do you feel as an artist you have developed over the years, and in particular during the pandemic?
I'd say when I was younger I was on a bit of a high horse, and over the years I've become more humble as a person and artist. The older you get the easier it becomes to accept yourself with all one's flaws and imperfections. The pandemic for me in a sense, finally gave me the freedom to focus on art 100% of my time. I no longer had other priorities, work obligations and personal distractions keeping me away from the studio. It was like I was face to face with a mirror, completely on my own, facing all my fears, uncertainties and angst, and I just finally had the time to create. It was a full on explosive experience resulting in this new series of work called Center Places.
Tell us more about Center Places Alex.
This series of work began with a shift of materials. I got tired of always working with pastels and decided to use spray paint in a similar manner, experimenting, learning how to layer and subtract paint from it. The results were deep textures and because I am colour blind, the spray paint and pastels would mix and generate their own colours rather than me having to manipulate my own mix. The series are characterised by their intense expressive subjectivity, and a return to large scale narrative imagery. In terms of subject matter, Center Places is a continuation of Human Flow. What differs is that the subjects are more layered, have a stronger self in them, and reflect a German Expressionist energy. Human Flow was about connecting, this time it's a more individual search within a group of people. Finding one's own energy and where you fit in the spectrum of human flow. I’m aiming to go beyond, and show some layered and complex texture in these works.
How does this theme tie into your life personally Alex?
Towards the end of lockdown, while I was creating these works, there was a realization and acceptance to where I am now. Our lives are changing so quickly, I lost my father, my priorities shifted, I felt alone and misunderstood. I've been on a journey exploring intimacy and connectedness. Paintings such as Jockey Meeting, Space for Two and Hard People, may portray characters fondling their own and each other’s private parts, but the transmitted mood is not supposed to be erotic, suggestive rather of seeking comfort and emotional safety. Pink Love and Angel of the Missionary are also artworks where I strongly encourage people to be honest with themselves and allow them to feel or explore their own vulnerabilities.
What's next for you Alex?
I definitely see myself addressing climate change and experimenting with new materials like clay, polyurethane resin, moulding paste, epoxy, moss and papier maché. I'm always looking for ways to give my paintings even more life, in fact it's really a compulsion or an obsession.