Jerome Peschard is a contemporary pop artist you should know
The pop art movement began in the 1950s and prospered in the 1960s in the US and UK, pulling imagery from popular and commercial culture as a means of generating more socially relevant commentary. This was a rejection of the overarching traditional approach to art and culture at the time. Budding artists did not feel as though what they were taught at art school and what they saw in museums related to what they saw around them each day, so rather than seeking inspiration from traditional sources, pop artists turned to Hollywood films, adverts, product packaging, pop music and comic books for their imagery.
It was this movement that inspired a young French artist, Jerome Peschard. After a long career as an artist in many different fields, he now works from his home studio in Thao Dien making pop art. Jerome has spent the last few years creating these incredibly detailed, imaginative, larger-than-life pop art pieces, some as large as two meters high and seven meters in length. Oi sat down with Jerome at his studio to discuss his emersion into the pop art scene.
How did you become interested in pop art?
I have been working in art since 35 years ago, but in different aspects of art, like for comic books, animated series, a video game company, and doing graphic design. Those are some of the different jobs I’ve had, so I am in a generation of pop art and pop culture. So in the end, rather than get a job at some company, I decided to paint, and everything I like is about pop art, pop culture, comic books, so I try to find a way with a different style of art.
How has pop art evolved since you became an artist?
I think there has been a big evolution in the way of pop art because the graphics, the people who create graphics, they are beginning to make pop art with more imagination, they use more designs for things like stickers or masks, and use some character designs from different sources.
How long does it take to produce one of your works?
In general, when I start to work, I start with a steel sheet, because a steel sheet offers support, and I’ll do it in one month, a month and a half maximum. I work every day, I start at 5:30am and I stop at 3:30pm, and then I have time for my family after.
Who buys your work?
At this time I have an exhibition at Le Bacoulos (a French restaurant at 13 Tong Huu Dinh in Thao Dien) and it’s been very nice, with a lot of people, and since this exhibition I have already sold five paintings, with customers coming from some countries like the US—they like pop art and pop culture, and cartoons and comics as well. And also, some people like the style of my painting, but don’t want something with pop culture, so they ask me to do something for them, like a special painting for their home. I have sold to some companies that have a big place, like a big bar or lounge with space, like one place in Phu Quoc.
How do you decide on an artistic technique?
I try to mix many styles. For example, when I use some typography, some figures, some cartoons, or a photographic style, I try to use different techniques for painting. I adapt different techniques for the subject.
What is the inspiration?
I don’t know if we can talk about it in the magazine. For example, I may want a painting to talk about an experience in Vietnam, like about the culture of the [bar] girls or the poverty of those girls in Vietnam, about money and how for them maybe the ticket is a foreigner, and I try to explain how this life for the foreigner begins as a dream and after it turns bad. Sometimes it is a nightmare, this situation for some expats and I try to explain, be careful when she says to you, “hello, you are so funny” and she has a big smile and says “I love you” already and you are flattered, but don’t stop and make this your life. So, in one painting this expat is symbolized by the Michelin Man on a scooter; to be happy, be on the way.
Some of your work is quite large. How much does it weigh?
Some paintings the weight is around, depending on the size, around 40 to 80 kilograms, because it is a steel sheet of one and a half to two meters.
Where do you get these steel sheets?
They come from recycling leftover materials from buildings. After I buy them at a little price, I fix it.
What has been the reception from the Vietnamese in regard to your work?
There is a certain segment among the Vietnamese that like my painting, but they are like with some expats already, so they have a style of culture that it more open. And for some Vietnamese who have the money to buy this style of work, they are scared for the moment about this style of art because it is not in their culture. But they like it, they find it amazing, nice, good painting, and some understand pop art and pop culture and it’s cool, but they are not ready to put that in their home; maybe for a company only. The ones most interested in this style, the young people, they really like it, but they don’t have the money for this, but they like it a lot.
How can people see your work in person?
I don’t work with galleries in Vietnam, but I try to do two exhibitions each year. I prepare anywhere from a minimum of 10 to 12 paintings with the objective of finding a place, then organize a party along with the exhibition. I do it myself, along with friends who have a network because the I can have exactly what I want: I can pick the style of the place, I can paint, I can make the lighting different to give a very different feeling.
To view some of Jerome Peschard’s work you can go to the restaurant Le Bacoulos or make an appointment to visit his studio at 69 So 1 in Thao Dien. Jerome is planning his next exhibition for September, but is still searching for a suitable space. For more information you can check out his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/artsofJp/.