Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 9 • Spring 2004 • Featured Artist • Art

Bleeding on Canvas

Michel Paulin Laurent


I started painting in the late 1980s. I had recently moved to New York from Paris to study fashion design. One of my best friends at the time was a painter, and after sculpting fabric on the human body, expressing color on a flat surface felt to me like a relief; it seemed simultaneously confining and liberating. I think it was at that time that my preference for the square shape emerged. I like how it both frames the creative process, making painting more manageable, and influences the experience of the viewer who does not have to contend with unequal geometric dimensions.

Faced with a blank canvas and the anxiety of not having any formal artistic training, I began painting, away from esthetic concerns. The act of creation itself gave way to an unencumbered revelation of my sensibilities. Building upon the experience, I began to notice a relationship between the mental and the physical. The juxtaposition and blending of positive and negative spaces on the canvas reflect the conscious and subconscious, weaving and revealing the creative process on the work itself. The end result serves as a snapshot of a moment when the analytical and intuitive converge.

I am not so interested in calculations and specific destinations on composition as I am in how the quality of the intention behind the spontaneous creative act seems to take care of both. In this sense the process is very much the purpose. Something I try to remind myself of in my daily life.

For the same reason that I tend to prefer the square as a surface, I currently prefer monochromatic imagery, which gives better access to the perceptive process than multicolored images. I have been particularly intrigued by dark blue and its reflective stillness, a quality I find increasingly lacking in modern life.

For every attempt at painting I can only hope for the ultimate play between analytical and intuitive processes and for the deliberate choice of medium to surrender to the creative process. When I remove myself from the creative act so that I can let the inspiration just happen, when I am least in charge and free, I am bleeding onto the canvas and happy.

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Michel Paulin Laurent

Michel Paulin Laurent was born in France, where he lived until 1986. He studied French literature and foreign languages, and traveled throughout France and around Europe before moving to New York in 1986 to study fashion design at The Fashion Institute of Technology. For more information about his work, e-mail him at mpl1160@hotmail.com.

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