Form and Substance with Émeric Chantier
Written by: Anthony Hagan Images by Émeric Chantier

Émeric Chantier redefines unique.  His art combines decay and rebirth in ways that touch the subconscious.  There is no doubt that you will remember his work for a long time. His pieces will invade and live in your mind.  Émeric does not really lose sleep over how you choose to interpret his work – he just wants you to feel something, no matter what that something is.  

See our interview with Émeric below and get ready for your mind to be invaded.

“I have always loved miniature worlds for the fineness and accuracy required …”

Please tell us a little about yourself – where did you grow up, what did you like as a child, where you live now, your family, etc.?

I grew up in a little city in the Parisian suburbs surrounded by shields, forests and council houses. I was lucky to spend most of my weekends in the countryside. I could build toys in the barn, embrace cows and take walks in sumptuous green décor. Today, I live and work in Paris, but I miss the greenery of the countryside a lot.

When did you get involved in art and what does art mean to you?

Ever since I was a young boy, I was fascinated by artists of all kinds. I love art because it is an exceptional way to pass on feelings and messages using original creations.  For me art is taking ownership of techniques in order to express and transmit feelings or ideas that could be positive, negative, careful, careless, etc. from a place of pure desire.

How do you describe your form of art and how did/do you develop it?

My art comes naturally from the pleasure of creating beautiful objects.  I have always loved miniature worlds for the fineness and accuracy required to create these worlds.  I always wanted to create these worlds with my own point of view and I thought “why not insert a few of my own messages in what I build?”

I created sequential sculptures which I presented one after another to friends. Year after year their opinion helped me improve my techniques and once I was satisfied I started to show my work to strangers in order to have different point of views.

Your work has a real mixture of decay and rebirth – is this intentional?

Of course! My work purposefully allows and invites different perspectives.  Views tend to be different as related to the form and the substance of the piece. 

In terms of “form”, my sculptures start from something that is ‘real size’, then I add miniature worlds onto it, this gives my work an extra dimension that causes the viewer to get lost in it.  Regarding “substance”, some people find my work very optimistic while others think I am completely depressing and pessimistic.  This duality is very intriguing to me – the audience subconsciously or consciously chooses what they see depending on their own sensibilities.


How do you choose objects to use in your work?

I choose everyday objects – the ones that surround us and are part of our culture – objects in which we can identify with ourselves or with a story.

Where do you usually get inspiration for your work?

I get inspiration from what surrounds me, topical issues, history, etc. I am always looking for themes and connotations which can become my “playground”. 

Which artists past or present do you aspire to be like or enjoy the most?

I very much admire Ron Mueck’s technical mastery and his sensibility. He succeeds in disrupting our senses while transmitting emotions and letting us forget all the technical intricacies behind the work.

Regarding painters, the first artist that comes to mind is always V. Van Gogh: the colors, the bold brush strokes and the texture! 

What do you think about the state of art in the world today?

I do not claim to be an art critic although nowadays, the quality of the work seems less important than the concept. I love art that mixes ‘manufacturing’ and ‘concept’.

A work of art, of any kind, should draw the attention of the viewer (whether they like it or not).

What is the worst critique you have ever received about your work? What is the best compliment that you have received about your work?

I answer those two questions with one quote: “Should we water it?”

What is your personal life philosophy?

I don’t think I follow a particular life philosophy.  However, I love things that are executed well and so I try to do what is best and just with life hazards as they come.

Since Style.No.Chaser is a men’s lifestyle magazine, what attributes/items/clothing /etc. do you think defines a man? What is your personal style?

When it comes to style, I am drawn to the classics. I think that what defines a man is less about his style and more about his interests and the questions he raises.

How can people learn more about your current and upcoming works/projects/exhibits?

You can follow me on my Facebook and via my website. You can also follow my gallery here.

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