Clément Mancini: Graffiti Pasts and Gentle Abstraction
Follow Clément on Instagram @clement.mancini
I speak with French artist Clément Mancini to discuss the gentle force behind his paintings and what inspires him to use the materials that he does. If you're in Milan, Berlin or Madrid in the coming months, be sure to get in touch with Clément if you want to see his paintings in person. Scroll down for more images and to find his Instagram account at the bottom of the page.
Your work is so vibrant and engaging, can you tell us more about your relationship with colour?
Working the colors is always the hardest for me - how to combine the shades, how to have them interacting, how to keep the composition balanced - it's a challenge every time. In my paintings, I seek for a strong visual effect where colors play a big role. Usually I start from a solid color base to build the rest of the painting. The first step is very important to me and the strength given by the solid color base will inform the rest of the elements.
Then more technically, most of the paints I use are recycled (except for the blacks and the whites). Since I have to start from existing colors, I rarely create my own colors from primaries. Quite often I try to mix the shades I have to get new ones to play with, I think that it is a very interesting "obstacle" to force ourselves to renew and adapt.
Where are you from originally and how if at all, does this inspire your work?
I come from the east of France where I studied graphic arts. When I was younger I did a lot of graffiti, it has been a real trigger for me. I think that from graffiti I got the basics and that led me to develop my practice to how it is today. In my current works, my background is still very present. I try to keep the same energy that I could get from painting walls.
I'm now based in Paris and since last June I have my own studio in Montrouge where I can develop my personal work. This also acted as a trigger on the evolution of my works.
Where do the ideas for your paintings begin?
My work is about the interaction between the material, the line and the texture. Through a strong visual impact I want to describe the emotions I feel in the creation process. My paintings are moments of life, I consider them as emotional chapters - as milestones.
Erasing, covering, cutting-out, playing with the vibration of the material, with the strength of the color and the line feeds my practice. I don't really think ahead my paintings, I prefer to leave space for spontaneity.
The amount of time spent creating can variate from one piece to another, and its aspect does not necessarily reflect the time spent on it. I like this relationship of temporality, the fact that complexity can hidden behind a simple visual set, and vice versa.
Do the materials you use inform the process of creation of a painting and where can we see them next?
The tools and materials I use are quite basic. I use different sizes of brushes and I paint on canvases (and sometime textiles). With time, I think my work will evolve and include a more diverse range of media and materials.
I have two group shows next month, one in Berlin and one in Milano. I am very excited about them and both of the line-ups are great! I'll also have a private show in Madrid and will give you more details about it very soon!
Written by John Bingham, founder of Bingham.