Not easy to draw Charlie Philippon out. Although a recognized artist from the Basque Coast, he’s not comfortable talking about his work. Charlie brings together a fusion of graphic elements from Pop art, collage technics and Errò influences for a rich and varied reinterpretation.
He chooses visual styles that he’ll blend together and when in need of a change, he’ll simply go surfing.
* You use brand logos and comic book heroes, what is your relationship to pop culture?
Having grown up with Goldorak, Albator and Candy, European comics such as Gotlieb, Franck Margerin... and American comic books, I’m a huge fan of pop culture. My favorite museum is the Musée International des Arts Modestes in Sète.
* Is what you paint influenced by the news or more by every day events that you live?
I’d say both. In a photo essay, all elements such as color, layout, and sequence have an importance of combination and order. Everyday events such as listening to music, watching a movie, or seeing someone surf for the first time will obviously inspire me. I work instinctively and intuitively, and I transcribe daily news and personal events using a blend of color, shape & layout.
"For the technic, I’d advise you not to put the socks and pants on the wrong way around!"
* How do you mix logos and characters?
Imagine when going on a date, you coordinate socks and underwear right? Well with my work, it’s the same thing, I make sure both visuals are in accordance. For the technic, I’d advise you not to put the socks and pants on the wrong way around!
* What meaning and message do you want your art to convey?
I try to get across a graphic and (un)esthetic visual of the world today. A huge melting pot where all cultures, languages, shapes and sizes are transformed, evolved and merged together. I see my work as being still lives in a contemporary world.
* You also surf, is there a parallel with your work, or are they two completely separate things?
I’d never surf in socks & underwear, they are two separate yet complementary activities.
* Errò was one of the first artists to base his paintings on collage using pop culture heroes. How do you view his work?
Pop art artists have made contemporary art more accessible. I admire Narrative Figuration artists whose movement remains relevant even after 50 years, and Free Figuration artists such as Combas, di Rosa etc. for their creativity and spontaneity. I remember seeing the fabulous exhibition of Warhol/Basquiat/Clemente presented at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid.
* How do you create your paintings?
I don’t really have a specific way of working. I do spend a lot of time on my paintings, and proceed by super positioning different elements. However what I can say is that getting up in the morning to go to the studio and to then leave my Posca and paintbrushes to either go surf or go home remains one of the best decisions of my day.
* How much would it cost to own a Charlie Philippon?
Sold by a Belgian arts dealer via Artcurial, the paintings now have quotations. Shown in different galleries, the paintings have varying prices depending on location. For more transparency and fewer intermediaries, I’ve set up my own gallery In Biarritz called Charlie don’t surf! It’s open to everyone and by rendez-vous. If you come, you’ll see for yourself!