When Serge met Sorayama
Japanese pin-up master was a big inspiration for the French artist Serge Birault. Here Serge speaks to his idol…
Where does your interest in pin-up art come from? Oh, maybe just because I wanted to create my own goddess. Can you explain why you’re so inspired by the world of fetish? I like shiny stuff. I like metallic surfaces, PVC, membranes. I just feel they’re sexy. I think this particular fetish is a sort of disease that has affected a small number of people across the generations. I’ve followed your work for more than 25 years and your style has changed. Are you going back to vintage pin-up stuff? Form my point of view my style hasn’t changed that much. I’m an omnivorous animal so I don’t even know myself what kind of poop I’ll produce. What’s your main technical influence, and why did you start using an airbrush? To me, photographs and the art of printing are my technical teachers. Using an airbrush is one tool that’s very efficient for small, key portions of each artwork, but it’s the icing on the cake. For a lot of people you’re an airbrush artist, yet this isn’t your main tool I‘m not that good at the airbrush. It’s just one of my soldiers I employ to create illustrations. It’s not the only soldier. If people take the time to study my works, they can tell that I don’t use an airbrush a lot. I use pencils, tiny brushes and then, at the end, an airbrush. Do you think the airbrush is a tool of the past? A lot of people still use it as a hobby, but few use it professionally now… Perhaps fewer professional artists are using the airbrush now, when painting software contains similar filters. But I think there are still professional house or car painters, model kits makers, nail artists, and make-up artists who are still using the airbrush.
Do you teach? No, I don’t. I have some tutorials on the DVD and in one of my books. If I have some free time, I’d rather create another painting. Do you ever try digital painting? What do you think about it? I’ve never tried digital painting and I can’t use computers. If I need to use it, I manage and create it to be done elsewhere. If both methods co-exist together and stimulate each other, I think that’s wonderful. What advice could you give to pin-up artists who are just starting out? The pin-up market is shrinking or being diluted, so if you’re thinking about making money as a pin-up artist, then I would say better not become one. You’re my main influence and I’m not the only one – you’re an inspiration for a lot of artists or designers. Do you realise this? If I’ve inspired any artists, I feel very honoured. I appreciate being the one whose footsteps they follow to find their own unique path. I think excellent sense is inspired by a greater sense and a new technique will be soon taken over by a newer technique. Serge san, let’s try our best to survive in this world of art. I think sense is the most important and a necessity in the world of art.
Skin and hair Serge’s pupils often ask, ‘How do you do the hair, the skin?’ But what about the latex?! shine a light This painting by Sorayama is French pin-up artist Serge Birault’s all-time favourite – the light playing on the shimmering water making a link with many of Serge’s pieces. Airbrush who? Sorayama may be known for his airbrush work, but as Serge found out, he only uses it sparingly.