Inside the Studio

Robert Gheyssens

Favorite material to work with?
In the beginning I used various types of material: oil, ink, pastel, crumpled sheets from the hospital… but now I paint with acrylic.

What themes do you pursue?
Imaginary spaces, which let the mind escape toward dreams.

How many years as an artist?
I have always been an artist.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
Look for harmony in shapes and colours, which will lead you towards a moment of bliss.

Where is your studio?
Where I live.

Art school or self-taught?
I studied at Academie Royale des Beaux Arts de Belgique (Royal Fine Arts Academy of Belgium).

Prefer to work with music or in silence?
In silence, the most absolute silence possible.

What’s around the corner from your place? 
I live in the center of Arles and sometimes get the impression that I have just seen Van Gogh sitting on the terrace of a café in the Place du Forum.

Where can we find you outside the studio?
On my terrace; I can contemplate the Rhone river from it.

If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you do?
Be an explorer or an epicurean person of independent means.

Day job?
I used to be the director of a cartoon studio, but now I paint all the time.

What do you collect?

Favorite contemporary artist?
Pierre Alechinski.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
A self-portrait by Rembrandt.

Who are your favorite writers?
Jim Harrison, Philip Roth.

Use anything other than paint?
Sheets from a hospital.

Is painting dead? 
As dead as a beating heart.

Favorite brush? 
A set of good quality brushes bought at Mr. Bricolage shop.

Palette knifes?
I try to capture fluidity, so no knives.

Monet or Manet ?
Both, but I prefer Turner.