Art Interview Interview

A Loss of Innocence is the latest body of work by Costa Rican artist, John Paul Fauves. Self-described as a “neo-pop expressionist” the exhibition is curated by Error! Hyperlink reference not valid., an art collective dedicated to exposing global contemporary art talents.

Travelling the world, John Paul’s exhibition was first showcased at the Guy Hepner Gallery NYC, before heading to Meir Art Gallery in Antwerp, Exposition Fete des Vendanges de Montmartre, in Paris (beginning today) and Art Basel Miami in December.

“The main theme is the loss of innocence we all experience in our lifetime,” says Jon Paul. Through exploring the self, the ego, hedonism and redemption, the artist delves into society’s psyche, tracing it what he sees as a corrosion of innocence. Pulling back the mask, here iconic Hollywood imagery such as Disney’s Mickey Mouse character and famously flawed icons, such as James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, are distorted to reveal a darker, twisted side within, addressing the darker, hedonistic side of pop culture.

Felicity Carter: The exhibition is titled, A Loss of Innocence, can you explain the meaning behind the name?
John Paul Fauves: It’s a solo show that is curated by Tax Collection. It started off at Guy Hepner Gallery in New York, and has travelled all over. The main theme is the loss of innocence we all experience in our lifetime. Hand-made masks are also a part of the show, for this I have the intention to separate the spectator from the external world, the main goal is to create an atmosphere where no one can judge or be judged, liberating fears we carry from this superficial society. This, and the feelings you can get from each art piece, are just part of my search with the audience of our essence lost in the turbulence of society.

Felicity: Why Mickey?
John: The Hedonist Mickey is a figure that seeks pleasure no matter the consequence. Mickey being a worldwide iconic figure of innocence, represents the hedonist lifestyle that tempts us all. In this mad world sometimes just one bad choice can guide you to a dark hallway – sometimes never finding the way out.

Artwork by John Paul Fauves

“Mickey being a worldwide iconic figure of innocence, represents the hedonist lifestyle that tempts us all. In this mad world sometimes just one bad choice can guide you to a dark hallway – sometimes never finding the way out.”

Felicity: You’re living in Costa Rica mainly – how does this impact on your work?
John: Inspiration is everywhere you just have to be open to receive it. Most of my work is a manifestation of my life experience. Costa Rica is a place where I can find peace but also chaos. Now I’m in a new stage of my life where I am more focused in finding inspiration in peace. I don’t party anymore and find lots of imputation on lonely mountain walks, finding connection in silence. Costa Rica provides me with lots of nature and beaches.

Felicity: Do you have a favourite piece in the collection?
John: I believe that each art piece is a snapshot of the soul of the artist in that moment. So I’m very proud of all my art – to me, it’s like looking at an old picture album of my life experiences. In this case, when I see my art, I see my soul experiences and how they all contribute to my universal growth in my life purpose. So they are all my favourite.

Felicity: How has it been working with Guy Hepner Gallery and Meir Art?
John: A great experience, both teams are really dedicated and they have a great passion for art. For the show at Meir Art in Belgium I expanded on the body of work and submersed the viewer into additional sensory experiences; I created a ‘life space’ where visitors were invited to wear the masks and hopefully felt liberated doing so.

Felicity: What’s next for you?
John: There are going to be two shows in Paris during October and November. September was the group exhibition in Homme Gallery, LA, and it will be open during October. Also, I have a show in China and another group exhibition at Miami Art Basel. I will finish this collection in February with one last show and then on to start a new project called, Holy Exit.

‘A Loss of Innocence’ runs at Exposition Fete des Vendanges de Montmartre from 11th – 15th  October 2017.