Getting to know Alain Ballereau

Who is, or has been, the biggest influence on your art?

To tell the truth, and as far as I am concerned, I don’t believe in “inspiration”. Inspiration comes from the act of painting- this is where I find mine. Each painting inspires the next, with new ideas, new discoveries. But of course, like most other painters, I have admiration for some great painters such as Max Ernest when I was a teenager, then later on Dubuffet, Tapies, Rothko, and so many more....

Which of your works is your personal favorite and why?

 With each series, there is always at least one painting that triggers inspiration for the next series. I really enjoy working with Kraft paper because it gives me the ability to work  on a larger scale which I love. It is also for me a “living” medium that gives such a dramatic character to my work with its unique texture.

Of all your travels, which city or place inspires you the most? Why?

I am not a big traveller, geographically speaking. I want to say that my most beautiful travels are the ones I experience when I am in my studio. However, the beautiful landscapes from Tarn et Garonne where I live and work, that I see every day through my studio’s window is of great inspiration to me.

What is your creative process like?

It is a big question!!! For the larger formats, I work on the floor. Generally with Kraft paper layers I mount together, it is called “marouflage”. It forms layers of paper which creates a surface I call “ecorce”, which means “bark”. I use mate acrylic paint. I often start with a coat of solid color, then I use a spatula to spread the “acrylic juices” on the textured surface.

I stay vigilant yet spontaneous to control the surface and the layering. I always work with several paintings at one time, to keep the inspiration going with  fresh and deliberate motions and strokes.Then, I leave the “acrylic juices” to evaporate and I do it again and again like a ritual dance. At the end, I try to keep a balance between light and shadow, until I reach the right vibrancy. The hardest thing is to know when to stop!