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Gregory Berben, an Artist Who Gets His Creativity from the French Riviera

editorial & arteditorial

12 November 2019

When you have a meeting with art, you have an encounter with the artist, first. Or, at least, you try, because the universe of the artist is quite complex. With Gregory Berben, everything seems simpler within its profoundness. Let's discover him with this interview! 

A decade as an artist calls for celebration! How do you see all these years?
Yes, it's a celebration!These 10 years have passed very quickly. Doing a passion job should help give that impression ...I am proud of this journey, of my evolution. An evolution that was made gradually.I do not regret any of my decisions and it allows me to be serene.These 10 years have earned me a lot of joy, a lot of emotions, a lot of beautiful encounters.There may have been less fun things to handle, but I quickly wipe it out of my head to move forward, imagine, create ...Lately there has been a story of plagiarism but, hey, those are the risks of the job. It's wasting a bit of time, but that's how it is. However, we must always remain vigilant because an Artist who sells creates a lot of envy, that's life.

What is your motivation in the world of art and here on the Cote d'Azur?
Hard to say, and yet it is a question that I often ask myself. At the artistic level, I remain a little atypical because I always had and I continue to have different "styles". I can not imagine always doing the same thing, I get tired quickly. I go from one collage to acrylic painting, from one table to 3D composition representing a city thanks to the recycling of old TVs and old computers ...I keep looking around, looking around to see what's going on to catch an idea and then trying to do something.That was the case not so long ago with the "Brainstorming" series where I represent what's happening in our heads. Finally, the word "Brainstorming" alone means everything and visitors' reactions to my last solo show in October were very positive.I felt the audience very sensitive to this new series.
Concerning my motivation here on the Côte d'Azur ...Well for about 2/3 years, I repatriated the works that were on display around the world, namely Hong Kong, Miami, New York, Paris ... I had to have about sixty of my creations everywhere and I wanted to change my organization, focusing on a more "regional" activity. Finally, let's say that I had the need to have my "babies" with me. This decision was not easy to take, and I do not regret it at all. Of course, this was only possible thanks to the specificity of the Côte d'Azur and the potential there is here. It is quite obvious that it would not have been possible to envisage a strategy like that by living in a corner headed in the middle of France. My works obviously continue to travel everywhere, but here I am in Cannes, the city where I was born, I have a partnership with the City of Cannes, and I'm good in my area. Between the people who live here, and the people who are passing through the area, it still leaves a lot of space.

What is the life of an artist on the Cote d'Azur?
When I'm in my workshops, whether in Cannes or elsewhere, it does not change much. What changes, however, and this is what I explained above, is that on the Côte d'Azur and Cannes, there is almost always something that happens. So it's easier for me to accept nice projects, to think about exhibition ideas. And then some exhibitions or projects come as a result of encounters of everyday life. You have to try not to stay in your corner, and things come from them if you take out pretty things from your studio and paint with your heart. I want to emphasize the importance of social networks, which allows me to broadcast my news and my new creations. The impact of social networks is very positive, it takes time, but it is a tool that makes me meet many people interested for my work.

What are your messages behind your works?
I already mentioned the "Brainstorming" series before ...There was also the series "Memories", started a few months ago. I had been a victim of the terrible floods of October 2015, where I had lost a lot of material things.I had not been touched by the loss of my vehicles or others, but I was very affected by the fact that all the collections Tintin and Asterix (Of my Papa) had been ravaged by the waters and the mud. I had kept these albums, illegible, and it took more than 3 years for me to get an idea to use them, without playing on the "icon" or "brand" side, something I hate and that is good to fashion in art right now.Regarding the different messages, I do not like to embroider on the subject, I like to let people think about them just by helping them with the title of the work, often 1 word ... I find that often enough if this title is well chosen.One year ago, I had the chance to make a sculpture in the memory of babies and children who died. It is located in the Crematorium of Cannes, in the Garden of Remembrance. That's also what we need to serve, we as professional artists. I had many testimonials from parents which suggests that the "message" of this sculpture touched them.

How do you see your works and you as an artist in the future?

I can not imagine what will be my art in 10 or 20 years. And the same for me. I hope to keep the road that is mine today. I am sure that I will continue to evolve while keeping the benefits of my experience, namely soon to quarter of a century to play with my paintings. I hope to continue to have beautiful encounters, and automatically full of pretty things will happen, full of pretty artistic projects here and around the world. I do not have an ultimate or obsessive goal and it's very good like that.I live a dream, I'm well aware, so let's hope to continue to give pleasure thanks to my works and to be useful thanks to my profession as an Artist.

Interview by Andra Oprea