Today we’re doing another great interview with an artist Crann Piorr’Ar (his artist name).
Crann Piorr’Ar started painting in 1989 after, as Crann Piorr’A says “an unsuccessful experience with a saxophone and immediately enjoyed the feeling being with his brushes in front of a canvas”.
After following some art classes in Dendermonde in Belgium and then at Atelier des Beaux-Arts de la ville de Paris, he started to paint not following a specific model but using his inspiration.
Crann Piorr’Ar Paintings:
Panic in the city (1990 – 2013)
His first paintings beside his early work and schoolwork are grouped in the collection “Panic in the city”. In these paintings, I Crann Piorr’Ar played with the perspectives and different angles of the same city and the same church.
He did all of these paintings between 1990 and 1992 but mainly on paper during his art school in Paris and most of them were damaged when glued on canvas, so he re-did the paintings between 2004 and 2013.
“At that time, I didn’t have a proper workshop, or my main professional activity didn’t give me too much time, so I was not so productive.”
Stains and Prints (2013 – ?)
In 2013, Crann Piorr’Ar started to do abstract art and he explored the idea of stains, prints and movements like wind, liquid, explosions… All these sudden phenomena of great energy which arrive suddenly in an unexpected form.
“Don’t ask me what the exact meaning of the paintings is, it is up to you to see what you want to see. The main link which related all my paintings is the choice of bright and hot colors in contrast with dark and cold blues.”
Colournoscopy (since 2018)
Colournoscopy is a collection that includes a polyptych of 12 canvasses and almost 22 meters long. It consists of different paintings that are connected together with each one exploring a different musical world.
How did your artwork start out?
Crann: I always loved to draw. Very often, I was drawing satiric cartoons which were appreciated by my working mates. In 1989, after an unsuccessful experience learning saxophone, a friend told me he was doing art class in a small art place in Dendermonde, a suburb of Ghent in Belgium. I was living in Ghent at that time. So, I went by to see and I loved it. There, I learned the technic but very quickly, I wanted to do some other things than academic work. I was not interested in still life or portraits. I wanted to paint what was coming from my head. As I moved in Paris, I went to the Atelier des Beaux Arts de la Ville de Paris and register in a Free Expression group. There I started my first collection of work called Panic in the City.
What does art mean to you?
Crann: Art is everything, isn’t it? We are nothing without art. All the time from the deepest ancient time, the man did art, in the caverns, in temples, churches, anywhere. Art is in my mind all the time. I’m fascinated by other artists, the way they figure out something, what they had in mind when they did it. Some people are surfing on the Internet to have the news or the sports results, I am surfing to look at what other artists are doing on Instagram or Facebook. I think I spend hours every day looking at other artist’s paintings.
How would you define your visual style?
Crann: I think I’m a colorist. The balance of colors is the primordial thing for me when creating a painting. I have the colors I love to use, the warm colors and the cold blues. I never use black alone. If I use some black color it is just mixed with another color to darken it. Since 2013, I am an abstract painter. Even if this what I wanted to do since the beginning, I needed to acquire enough maturity before starting it. Abstract painting is not just splashing paint anywhere on the canvas, you need to know what you are doing. What kind of feeling, you want to express, which balance of colors and forms. Very often people don’t like abstract painting because they try to understand when there is nothing to understand, just have the feeling, feel the vibe.
What do you believe is the key element in creating art?
Crann: The key element is an inspiration. Some artists are painting what they see when doing a portrait or a landscape painting. I do what I have in my head. Ideas are coming all the time in my head. Very often they stay there as I have a better one coming after that. The other key element is passion. You must put all your passion in your work. People must have a feeling when they see your painting, it could be a disturbing one, but there must be a feeling. Without passion, there are only dull paintings and there is no art. I will add a touch of madness, but maybe not all artists are feeling the same. It was necessary to have a touch of madness to start a 22 meters long polyptych as Colournoscopy.
How does creating art make you feel?
Crann: Very hard to explain to someone who never experienced it. Freedom. Being in another world, leaving well behind the existing world to enter in my own world. The one where nobody can interfere, only me and my painting. It is exalting, pure adrenaline. When I have a painting ready in my head, I have to go to my workshop. Sometimes I can’t go there straight away, so, I’m very impatient and frustrated. Once I am there, I put the music loud and then I start.
Do you do anything in particular to seal your art?
Crann: I don’t know the exact terms of the technique I use, I found it myself by experience.
What I do, I put all the colors I want to use in my palette and I start with one color
and then I make gradient colors by mixing colors little by little to finish at the end with another color. My way of saying it is I paint by messing up colors. I am very
careful about the balance of colors and forms and also, the balance between light and
darkness. In that sense, I would say, I’m not an instinctive painter as everything is
mostly calculated. But Hans Hartung’s paintings were also very calculated.
Have you ever experienced “artist’s block?” If so, what are some strategies you’ve used to overcome it?
Crann: No, not a complete one. I have so many ideas in my head. The blockage could not be completely happy with my idea. I need to do some sketches to find out what is wrong. Sometimes it takes time before I figure out what is wrong. So, that’s the kind of blockage I have. I do sketches, I redo sketches. I try to find out what is wrong. Why the balance is not right. Sometimes, other artists are the key as I see what they did and give me a new idea. Sometimes I leave it for a while or for good, doing another work. I also show my sketch to another person to have a fresh point of view. Sometimes it helps.
What is your daily routine when working?
Crann: I don’t really have a daily routine. But when I am working, time disappears. There is no notion of time except my regular need for coffee. It could be in the morning, in the evening, at night or the whole day. If I have a work on-going, for sure if I can’t go to the workshop because I have other things to do, this will be in my head for the entire day until I can go there.
Which artist of the past would you most like to meet?
Crann: Many of them, but in quite recent past, I would love to meet Joan Mitchell and Jean Paul Riopelle. I am fascinated by Joan Mitchell work. It is for me the best abstract work I ever seen. To honor the death of Joan Mitchell, Jean Paul Riopelle did a huge polyptych of 44 meters long and this inspired me in my idea of Colournoscopy, my polyptych of only 22 meters long and 12 paintings but I had only to honor my passion to art.
I would also like to meet other painters from the past such as Frida Khalo, Hans Hartung, Chagall, Magritte, Van Gogh, Gauguin…There are so many… And if you go further in the past, Rembrandt, Bruegel and Van Eyck.
What advice would you give to a young artist following in your steps?
Crann: Go for it. Don’t be afraid and don’t have any doubt of your capabilities. The only things which matters is the pleasure you have when you paint. But if you start, be your own. Don’t try to imitate or to do things only to please the market, do your art because you love what you do. You will then be happy with the result as this has come out from your guts.