My long-time fascination with Los Angeles comes from the contrast between the full-of-promises “tinseltown”, which blossomed under the sun in a heavenly environment, and the city’s dark side, illustrated by the destiny of many people either disappointed, crushed or eaten by the monster town- whether true stories or Dream Factory Hollywood-based imaginary tales.
Being French, I have an exotic romantic view of a L.A. that does not exist anymore (or that exists in my mind only): a sunny western frontier of
fabricated imagery where hope turns to broken lives for the fallen angels.
Even if “Dark LA” is now a long time cliché that inspired a lot of media (even video games with LA NOIR), I thought I could pay a tribute to the town that fascinated me for years through movies (The Big Sleep, Kiss Me Deadly, Chinatown, Mulholland Drive, The Player among many others), music (Southern California punk rock) and literature.
Two powerful writers embody Los Angeles: James Ellroy and Bret Easton Ellis. They are both part of the town’s core
I have chosen to share a bit of my LA vision through these two major authors, adapting my painting technique and style to my vision of their universe.
This is Los Angeles: a dark city …under the sun.
The evocation of James “Mad dog” Ellroy’s universe is done with mixed visions of what is left in my mind of his LA-based novels — the L.A. Quartet —
their labyrinthic narration and the gallery of epic characters. Ellroy is in love with women so they are always present: victim, goddess, saviour, vehicles of the redemption Trying to match the power of Ellroy’s elliptical writing, the paintings are done with mixed media: pastels, acrylic paint, metal sheets of aluminium / copper attacked by chemicals, corroded staples, pencil, inks … and retro pictures printed on the panels with a specific technique, using tracing paper to insert some contextual iconic landmarks of the old rotten L.A. delirium architecture.
The second series of paintings is inspired by selected scenes from Bret
Eaton Ellis’ iconic first novel, “Less Than Zero”. Viewers can try to identify the scenes with the titles of the paintings.Less Than Zero is a supernatural novel, in which LA teens behaving almost like zombies, obey a mechanical movement of destruction as if they were slowly being eaten by L.A. The novel is a collection of scenes that give off a strong feeling of emptiness and confusion through drugs, sex and violence. The novel is a metaphor for LA, a town with no past, initially blessed by the gods, self-eating, where angels (kids) fall to become mutants (lost teens) on the verge of the ultimate state of degeneration: adulthood. To convey the violence of the scenes, I have used acrylic paint, splashes, and vivid colors of the eighties. Flat areas of paints echo and illustrate the permanent void you feel in the novel.