First Impressions: Yoann Lossel
An ancient forest had a lasting effect on this French artist…
An ancient forest had a deep and lasting effect on this French artist…
Where did you grow up and how has this influenced your art?
I grew up in Nantes, in the west of France. But my family comes from all over France, and especially from Strasbourg, to the east of France. These are two regions with different identities and established cultures. This gave me the taste of history, architecture, the desire to settle my work in the roots of art.
What, outside of art, has most influenced your artwork?
Nature and the study of myths and legends. After my studies, I went to live in Brocéliande, a forest in Brittany. This place is known to be associated with the Arthurian legend, in addition to the Breton folklore. By extension, Brocéliande is associated to the Pre-Raphaelite painters and illustrators of the Golden Age, which are among my major influences in addition to Symbolist painters.
Does one person stand out as being helpful during your early years?
One of my uncles is a long-time fan of role-playing games. He had a large figurine collection that I look at as a child. It was my first encounter with fantasy in a broad sense.
What was your first paid commission, and does it stand as a representation of your talent?
Several illustrations of a tale for a fantastic French magazine The Magic Cauldron. I don’t think it’s representative of my work, but I liked doing it.
What’s the last piece you finished, and how do the two differ?
A painting for a French fantasy film. Today, I take all the time I need to complete a project – the goal being to create a subtle and elegant
I think fantasy art is regaining the recognition and exposure it deserves
artwork. I‘m happy when my work has several levels of interpretation.
What are your painting rituals?
I read a lot about my subject to capture the symbolism of my theme. I visualise my image and evolve it in my mind until it favours my subject. I create the dynamics of the composition with the first sketches, finish my sketch, paint with graphite wash, design my ornaments on a layer, gild my interlacings and other gold parts and then varnish. Throughout the process I listen to a lot of music and conferences.
How is your art evolving?
My art evolves at the same time as me. We work together. My last experiment was to add relief to my work and expand my gilding skills.
What is the most important thing that you’ve taught someone?
I don’t know, you should ask around me. Perhaps to always be faithful to your aspirations.
What advice would you give to your younger self to aid you on the way?
Hold your course, the rest is exciting.
How has the industry of fantasy art changed for good since you’ve been working in it?
I think we’re taking it more seriously. Today, I work with luxury, high-end clients, and I’m not sure that would have been possible at the beginning of my career. I come from a country that, until recently, saw painters like Gustave Moreau or Alphonse Mucha at the centre of a cultural influence. I think fantasy art is regaining the recognition and exposure it deserves. There’s no reason for it to remain a “minor” art. I’m absolutely convinced that the coming decades will be interesting for fantastic art and fantastic artists.
Grendel’s Mother’s Mere Yoann created this illustration for a limited edition of Beowulf, published by Easton Press. He used graphite, hydrangeas petals, gold (24k), silver and copper leaf to depict the scene.
Wealhtheow This is another piece of art for Easton Press’s edition of Beowulf. Yoann produced 10 pieces of art for the book, which had a limited print run of just 1,200.