INTERVIEW: Fabrice Spies, French painter in LA
Fabrice Spies lives and works in San Clemente
From November 1st to December 13th at 9pm, join Fabrice Spies for URBAN20/20, a very special silent auction digital event, benefiting the non-profit Stop Trafficking Of People (STOP)
BID HERE click
Fabrice Spies paints since the age of 13. The French LA-based painter has started with the light of Provence where he was born and raised and continues at large with the light and endless space of California. Every single painting is a declaration of love to his new Homeland. His choices of subjects are like a promenade where he would take us and notice such or such detail that he sees. The technique classic and very well executed expresses with a great attention to details a benevolent gaze on things and people from the day to day life.
Be-Art Magazine: What brought you here in California, in 1998?
Fabrice Spies: It might sound cliché, but honestly, it was opportunity. Even if I didn’t speak a word of English (except for yes, no, and thank you!) when I came to LA 20 years ago, I found very quickly that with hard work and resilience I would be able to grow and follow my dreams in this country. Still pinching myself every day J
BAM: How do you make decisions to choose a subject?
Fabrice Spies: It could be anything from my surroundings where I live, or on a trip with my family. An Instagram shot can become a masterpiece. And in the event I am developing a concept for an upcoming show or exhibit I try to envision how the pieces will come together – colors, shapes, textures, even canvas size. I want to create a collection of pieces that are as strong together as a group as they are on their own. My new series of Midcentury modernism paintings was inspired by a trip to Palm Springs during Modernism Week a few years ago – I love how the different pieces can be mixed and matched to create a custom look for my clients.
BAM: Each painting shows a deep enthusiasm for the things and everyday people of this country, can you develop
Fabrice Spies: Each city has its own trademarks that make it unique and distinguishable. In my village it’s the colorful shutters, lavender fields, olive trees… in Paris street signs and café chairs. Los Angeles has a little more grit. For my LA series trash cans, graffiti, water pipes became models for my paintings.
BAM: You are detailed, precise in depicting what you see, how do you do that as a self-taught artist?
Fabrice Spies: Patience, dedication, and time. Something we all want more of, right? I truly look forward to my time with my canvas – when I can give myself permission to disconnect from the phone, to-do list, and simply focus on painting. Shadows, reflection, the right colors all take time to master and it’s an ongoing journey of continuing to improve and challenge myself with every piece.
BAM: Explain to our readers why the subjects you draw could not render the same way with the photographic technique
Fabrice Spies: I am privileged to have met a number of truly talented photographers and love learning about their process – from scouting the right location to waiting for just the right moment and time to get the perfect shot. In a similar fashion, each of my paintings has a process, steps that need to be followed to get the finished product. The tools are different – and the finished product is different – though for both, there are no shortcuts. And in the end, there is a place and a need for all works of art to exist together – beyond photography and paintings.