Strokes of genius – Thomas Wattebled

Thomas Wattebled Born in 1990 Lives and works between Orléans and Le Tréport Studies: 2015. DNSEP with congratulations from the jury, Angers School of Fine Arts (TALM) under the direction of Alain Declercq


Emaho caught up with this young maverick French artist


Emaho : Tell us about your life, and how you got into art.

I was born in a village called Ceret in the south of France and I had lived there till I was 18 in a city called Perpignan. My father is an artist who works with plastic and my mother, as well as my sister, has fingers of gold.

Therefore I have grown up in an environment where creation was a lifestyle or rather something very natural. I have been drawing since I could hold a pencil and since my childhood I have aspired to become an artist. I have some wonderful memories of some private art openings of my father as well as his artist friends and at that time I had an analytical look especially on works which intrigued me, but the world around me was already an object to analyse and to question. I would love to see the reactions of those who saw my drawings. I believe that it reassured me and made me happy. Drawing stays before anything, something natural, and something automatic. Discovering cinema and more particularly horror films and even cartoon strips made me understand that I could create worlds and stories with drawings that belonged to me which created in me an immense excitement. When I was six years old, one evening I saw the George Lucas film Star Wars, and this universe so vast, so unbelievable …it was like a first revelation for me, a first objective. I wanted to become an artist for films whether it was characters or story board. From there I spent a large part of my childhood drawing with the idea of working in the world of cinema, of cartoon strips or even architecture.



So much to dream about …I forgot to work in school …but I always had professors who would manage to pass me every year till my high school. My Baccalaureate, unfortunately I could not complete. My art professor in high school always supported me, and sometimes gave me big wooden boards so that I could work on a larger format. I have some wonderful memories of those. In 2008 , I appeared for an entrance exam in Beaux Arts from Toulouse that I obtained but I was unable to enter as I did not have my Baccalaureate . It was after this “deception” that I left for Paris to concentrate solely on my own work and with this I discovered painting…

I had the chance to gain some experience as a story boarder in a publicity agency but i was not prepared to think about the future.


Emaho : Early Influences?

My early influences are definitely those of my father and his artist friends which I think is natural in the eyes of a child. My first early influences come from some art book in my parents’ library or even works that I found by chance. I had a great fascination for Leonardo da Vinci and his anatomical drawings and inventions… works of Bruegel and of Bosch representing the purgatory and other scary images… very erotic and foreign Japanese books that I would look at when I found myself alone. Influences come from everywhere, even television.




Emaho : What are the themes of your paintings?

I don’t really have a theme, I paint and draw what I feel, and what I can feel is executed in various techniques. But I like to express in a figurative and expressive fashion things which cannot be explained.


Emaho : Your Facebook album has a very interesting caption “Je m’efforce de peindre le vacarme et le chuchotement de mes arrières entités. Je suis le trou de l’entonnoir.” Tell us more about it…

Yes, this sentence is an attempt to explain a certain state in which I found myself at a certain moment. ” Le Chuchotonent de mes arrieres entites “(the whisper of my previous entities) probably means to say that inspiration can come from something related to the past or the future from our ancestors or even other lives that we are living perhaps at the same moment , its a different type of echo. “Je suis le trou de l’entonnoir”(I am the hole in the tunnel) is an idea that comes from Jean Cocteau who said that these are spectres that leave from the hands of the artist, but this sentence is just a sentence. I’m perhaps not of authority to say things of this genre, it makes me happy, that’s all…



Emaho : Who are your favourite artists?

There are a lot of great artists but I have a fascination for Picasso and Francis Bacon and I admire Andy Goldsworthy.


Emaho : Why the recurring images of cats and women?

The representation of the naked is a truth that can be cold, warm or hot on our birth, our pulse, our performances and our weaknesses. The naked body is delicious to draw and I love cats. There are in my painting women, all women. I must say that my experience as a DJ in a club inParis gave me the chance to see naked bodies in movement; this period inspired me a lot.




Emaho : Besides being an artist, you are also a DJ …how does music and art blend in your life?

Yes I like music a lot, all music. I’m fascinated by House and Techno and all genres of this music since my childhood. I’m a child of the ‘90’s and I have grown up with them. I am a part of this culture and the psychedelic experience has inspired me a lot in the universe of clubs and free party. There was an ethnic spirit in me in those moments. Sound can transport you in all sorts of worlds because music is very vast. I sense a wicked pleasure when I mix, giving texture to sound, to see the see the public enter into a trance, there is something visual that happens in front as well as inside of me which gives me immense excitement.


Emaho : If you had to pick one part of a woman’s body what would it be?

I don’t think I have succeeded sufficiently at representing a women’s body to love just one part of it, but then I’m not a butcher but if you have an ass I’d take it.


Art & Culture Interviewed by  Niyati Bharucha 

Art work by Thomas Wattebled

Special thanks to Priya Verma

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