First Im­pres­sions: Yoann Los­sel

An an­cient for­est had a last­ing ef­fect on this French artist…

ImagineFX - - Contents - Yoann Los­sel Known for his fan­tas­ti­cal art­works that fea­ture gold leaf, Yoann has ex­hib­ited his work in gal­leries around the world. See more of his art at www.yoannlos­sel.com.

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.

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