Corinne Chauvet

Corinne Chauvet featured in CAKE
Photo: Didier Beguin-Chauvet

It’s not often you see a contemporary version of Buddhist art in the style of Corinne, we are all familiar with Buddha crossed legged, the majestic symbolism of reincarnation, nirvana, yoga and liberating insight.  Corinne’s work is reminiscent of that spiritual quality, in as such that most of her art is of Buddhist monks, combined with an observation of the human face.  There is something droll about her artwork, they convey interaction, the variety of expression, different happy faces, along with the enjoyment we seek as humans in being together.  Sometimes it’s just the faces and then the whole person and the overall effect is this contemporary rugged refinement.  The theme of concentrating on these monks began with her choice to go travelling, focusing on Asian countries like Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, the Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 ethnic groups, and this is where she discovered the face, she tells me.  Describing how she became attracted to the Asian face, she explains that she couldn’t read anything when she arrived.  Purely for the reason that the language and written word in this part of the world was so alien to her.  That the way you see the world is like a child, she emphasises.  This observation is very prevalent in her work.

sculpture by Corinne Chauvet
Conversation by Corinne Chauvet
Sculpture of Buddhist Monk by Corinne Chauvet
Hitsuko Shima -3-8 Bronze by Corinne Chauvet
Sculpture by Corinne Chauvet
Ajima by Corinne Chauvet

What Corinne observed, is how these Monks in Myanmar who have taken a vow of poverty by choosing this lifestyle and when they weren’t meditating, they were happy and smiling, this made her think of her own country France. The French have everything a social security system, free healthcare and they are always complaining and unhappy, she tells me, this trip gave her a new insight and she fell in love with the Monks faces.  These sculptures one could say represent the best of ourselves, they have wisdom and an innocence running through them.  Then Corinne discusses her earlier sculptures; they were straight, simple and really long elongated figures, she saw herself as shy but really strong, and this body of work represented this, she titled it ‘La Femme Fille’ (The woman Child).  She believes this is when her real life began.  Corinne was born near Poitiers in the centre of France, her father an engineer and mother a teacher.  They moved to the South of France, when she was very young, her father had decided to become a goat farmer and produce Capri cheese.  Corinne grew up in the countryside, and spent plenty of time moulding the white clay from the lake, observing how her mother took the same clay from the lake and started to make things during the summer months.  Our mother opened my brothers and my mind, she explains, educating us in music, dance, theatre and art, she wanted us to be artists and now her brother is a photographer and graphic designer.  At the age of 12 her parents divorced and they moved to the city where Corinne attended the high school near Toulouse.

Buddhist Monk bronze sculpture by Corinne Chauvet
SOHIRE Bronze by Corinne Chauvet
Sculpture by Corinne Chauvet
Migration by Corinne Chauvet
Sculpture by Corinne Chauvet in CAKE
Classroom by Corinne Chauvet

Corinne studied Fine Art and History of Art, for five years, three in Montpellier, followed by one year in Bordeaux, she was primarily a painter, but didn’t really enjoy it,  her final year she spent in Leicester, in the United Kingdom.  She recalls visiting Chatsworth House where she encountered the sculptor Elizabeth Frink’s work, she was so impressed by her work, her bronze sculptures of figures appearing to be running through the woods,  this inspired Corinne, and she decided this is what she wanted to do, be a sculptor.  Today Corinne spends half her time in Paris with her husband and the other half in her larger studio, in the town of Albi.

Sculpture by Corinne Chauvet featured in CAKE
Hashima Gres Noir by Corinne Chauvet
Artwork by Corinne Chauvet
Conversion Bleue Izenajima et Bentojima Gres Noir by Corinne Chauvet

She is currently completing a Public commission, her first public sculpture in the town of Montauban near Toulouse, the artwork is a homage to the legendary artist Antoine Bourdelle.  The artwork stands 3.5 x 3.5 meters in size and is made primarily of resin, a modern form of sculpture, it’s a majestic piece of art, in brilliant white of Hercules, titled ‘Herakles’ as he comes out of the earth with his bow and arrow; 40 sculptors applied for this commission and only four were given the chance to showcase their artwork.  She used a new method of sculpture as she anticipated that Bourdelle would do the same, as he was one of the leaders of modern sculpture along with his friend and colleague Rodin.

Herakles by Corinne Chauvet
Herakles by Corinne Chauvet
Sculpture by Corinne Chauvet
Herakles by Corinne Chauvet

Corinne, has dedicated herself fully to her life as a sculptor, I worked for a museum and didn’t work as a sculptor for 10 years, everyone was telling me being an artist wasn’t a job.  Then she tells me of how one rainy night she had a huge car accident, nearly loosing her life.  They had to do a skin graft from her leg to her arm, to prevent her from loosing it.  When something really hard happens in your life, it changes you, you begin to realise the price of life, Corinne explains.  You can choose to be happy or choose what is considered right all the time.  “The way of Buddhist philosophy is when you are doing something, it’s about what you are doing in the moment.  You don’t think about the past or future, you think about the now”.  As an artist she has exhibited around the world, with her work being shown in Monaco viewed by Monegasque Royalty Princess Caroline.  Clearly the enchantment of her clay and bronze sculptures resonate that kindred spirit of happiness and joy with a trendy ethereal quality.  For that’s what makes these sculptures so powerful, they represent the faces of wisdom with a modern edge.

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

Corinne Chauvet featured in CAKE
Photo: Didier Beguin-Chauvet

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Onyx

photo portrait artist cake
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

When I first laid eyes on Onyx’s work I would describe it as experiencing the Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral with its abundance of Gargoyles and decorations, combined with Toy-story’s animation and the mind of Alice in Wonderland.  His large sculptures, that take months to complete, are a journey of storytelling.  Onyx’s artwork, not his real name by the way, is about Onyx, who became what he is today after being in a coma for a month.  The sculptures are something so surreal, that you feel as if you have woken up in the middle of Pan’s Labyrinth.  A film about the unconscious and the surreal and the dream like state that we humans all experience to protect us from trauma.

Artwork sculpture artist cake
You’re Wasting my Time by Onyx 
Artwork sculpture artist cake
The Falsed Resurrection by Onyx

Onyx, or Jim, a nickname he is known as, is an artist you don’t come across often.  His works are creations of the fantasy and reality of heaven and hell, universe and aliens, women, birth and love.  A story telling in sculptures made of artefacts collected at early dawn raids from all sorts of quaint places, antique fairs, toy shops, car boot sales, charity shops, weekend ventures scavenging through worn and broken toys, lost artefacts rejected and unloved and Onyx recreates each little piece however small and fragile, to tell a whole new narrative.

Artwork lenticular 3D cake
Birth of Destructions by Onyx

The account of how a builder, who stabbed his leg accidentally with a very sharp Stanley knife, whilst finishing off a refurbishment job, fell into a coma and woke up to create these phenomenal artworks, is for enquiring minds!  I am one of them.  He explains whilst unconscious, hallucinations of being in hell, seeing the future and how like in the Matrix he traveled through a maze of nightmares with apparitions tormenting him and preventing him to find his way out.  How every level of truth, bad and good brought him closer to home and consciousness.  However, after every fail he would return to the start of hell and repeat the experience, until the final journey, where he was able to confront his demons and came back to life in the conscious world.

Portrait photo artist cake
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Onyx is married to Michelle who he has been with for 22 years, they have three sons, Sonny and Mason; Michelle gave birth to Lucas two weeks ago, and I am able to cradle this beautiful infant in my arms as he sleeps and I listen to Onyx explain his journey as an artist.

painting stencil airbrush cake
Start Wars by Onyx
artwork stencil cake
The empire strikes back by Onyx

His first artworks, his paintings,  stencilling and airbrush techniques, started in recovery,  inspired by Star Wars, with the dry arid humour of a Londoner, The Start Wars and The Empire Strikes back about the Cold War hang in his gallery with his sculptures encased in glass.  Onyx, currently has five main pieces, Beethoven’s Destructive Symphony, The Birth of Destructions, You’re Wasting my Time, The Dream Catcher and The Falsed Resurrection.  Each peace has a central figure, then two lives moving from darkness to light, all telling their own anecdote.  Some about the centre of great minds, alien life, the universe and the humility to be human.  Some about who is wasting who’s time, with time cogs on cherubs.  All Sculptures start with one core character and build up layer, road, journey and weave bending and evolving to become one giant piece of three dimensional story telling.  It’s magical, frightening, curious, very beautiful and bewitching.

Artwork sculpture artist cake
The Dream Catcher by Onyx
Artwork Sculpture toys cake
Beethoven’s Destructive Symphony by Onyx

His inspirations came whilst researching designs for a tattoo that he was designing after surviving a major skin graft,  it was discovered that his injury that was undetectable, because the cut was so sharp,  the poison had entered the system and he ended up having Necrotizing fasciitis NF, and Onyx warned me to not look at the images on google as I check the spelling.  I didn’t look at the photos!  As a victory to his recovery the tattoo was a symbol of his survival and this is when he came across the artist Kris Kuksi.  Onyx subsequently decided he would make his own sculptures.  Spending months on each artwork, he made them for himself primarily, as part of his recovery.  When someone first encountered the artworks,  Onyx was advised to show the works, and he decided to have Lenticular’s made of each piece so he would have something to keep when his sculptures were sold.  Now however the Lenticular are popular themselves; each artwork is photographed 30 times on a track and the images interlaced to create a 3D image, all done on computer. The results are just out of this world.

Lenticular 3D artwork cake
3D Lenticular of Dream Catcher by Onyx
artwork lenticular 3D cake
3D Lenticular of Beethoven’s Destructive Symphony by Onyx

Onyx is a Hackney boy, who grew up with humble hardworking parents, and he had his share of troubles during his childhood.  His father devoted his time to his son’s recovery which healed old wounds of anger, his family surrounding him with love, as well as support with his recent venture as an artist.  May I point out that Onyx’s early career started out as a photographer in still life, working his way up in a studio until he himself was taking the photos of High end contracts, Tiffany jewellery, Wimbledon trophies and older Crown Jewels, here he learnt about lighting and composition.  The year was 1990, when he explains the pay was terrible, money dragged him away and he went into the building industry which paid well. There has always been the artist at the core and as with a diamond it starts out rough, it’s chipped, shaped and moulded until it shines bright.

Interview; Antoinette Haselhorst

photography artist cake woods
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst