Inside the Studio

Antoine Renault

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?
I started to paint by chance on a summer day. Since then, I never stopped painting the feelings of that same day: simple instants of happiness and freedom close to the sea. My favorite ingredients? Transparency and reflection. Sprinkle with a pinch of sexiness. Bake under the summer sun. Serve on the ocean side.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
Eric Zener gave me some feedback once on my painting, “Angelito.” He said to leave more room for feelings, and to be more subtle with sexiness.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?
I like to do things that I love while listening to music. Always. If you look carefully, you should recognize in my last paintings some brushstrokes by Jack the Ripper, Regina Spektor, Angus & Julia Stone, London Grammar, Arthur H, The Do, Vanessa Paradis, Agnes Obel, Micky Green or Cat Power.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
“The Kiss” by Rodin. Sculpture is the art that I admire most. I am amazed to see marble act as a catalyst for such deep emotions. And the museum which houses this piece is my favorite in Paris.

Tell us about your process?
I was a passionate photographer before becoming a painter, which of course does influence the way I choose to compose and frame my paintings. I always start from photos, and then “arrange” the reality in a way that best fits my mood and my very simple color palette (I work exclusively with always the same four colors now).

What I like to achieve is this subtle balance between almost photorealistic perception (when you are two meters away from the piece) and pretty rough brushstrokes when you are close to it.  I find it a bit magical to create the impression of water through paint: perfect fluidity from one perspective where you can almost feel the liquid, and abstract colors and shapes from up close. I don’t know why…but that’s something I love to create.

Who are your favorite writers?
Music composers. I do not read books, as I do not have the patience. I read some philosophy from time to time, such as the contemporary philosopher Comte-Sponville, who is in line with Spinoza’s thinking.