Written by 11:08 AM artist, interview, news

Interview with Fred Drouin aka Smith Smith by Juan Pablo Torres Muñiz, illustrated by Fred in collaboration with Rozenn Le Gall.

Literature is a form of expression that uses words as a vehicle. Collage uses other means to, for example, tell a story. It works out the image. The only difference is that strictly speaking it leaves the possibility of appropriating a form of conclusion. The history of the book often will… end.

Open key: A conversation with Fred Drouin
An instant – composed. Why if the night or the morning. And light in the studio.
Inside the frame – we say – each element plays a role – all of them: from the materials to the references,
and a richness revealed according to – circumstances : time/space
and, also – the subject, the person who contemplates… (and this only if she is alone, if not – more circumstances [!])…

Here and now, Fred Drouin, his voice – into the questions:
Art as Illustration – of what?
(An inside and an outside or, rather – the artisan as a hinge, maybe?
Some persistent motive?)

The art of collage is the expression of a parallel life…
No, currently there is no theme in my work. I don´t mean to evoke a particular subject … I can evolve in very classic lines… or a kind of line, say funny, or as a whistleblower, but I will not imprison me! What I like most about the art of collage is the freedom it provides, so I do not want to spoil the joy and ease of action…
However, lately barcodes pieces appear more often in my collages, this symbol represents to me the power… of overconsumption.

It’s curious: Freedom – Potency.
When a decision is carried out – a new condition (which subjects).
The way forward is what remains: searching of new possibilities.

(I’m thinking on those who employed, say, style’s straitjackets – in order to force themselves into new manners – George Perec, for example…)

In some way, the use of preexistent written material entails something like it, but always – as a starting point: collage as a key to inter-textual possibilities…
– What is it, that each one of these individual elements cannot not express for themselves?

All readings of collage may be true: it’s the beauty of art in general…
The reading I’m doing of my own collages is personal to me. I see my ideas, my foundation, my humor, my disgust… but the public that confront them with their own references will have, then, another interpretation.
This is what makes interesting this exchange, what enriches it.
An element can answer another element… and will lose its original meaning, so he vanishes and nourishes another idea…

Arbitrariness vs. arbitrariness, with the artist as the conductor, maybe a disguised one; rather – the companion of the planned, previously deployed experience…

I let everyone the opportunity and the freedom to choose what the final collage evokes to her or him.

06. Smith Smith & Rozenn Le Gall. CONFUSIONSmith Smith & Rozenn Le Gall CONFUSION

The final collage – inside the mind…

(I say to myself: the same means (e.g., the own language – in order to crush it) – (re)make it / create it, maybe, anew – so – it will be in itself – style.
– The artisan´s battle…
The substantive – incarnation and soul of – the verb.)

– Do you believe in a Literature of image?

Yes, I believe there is a literature of image.
Literature is a form of expression that uses words as a vehicle. Collage uses other means to, for example, tell a story. It works out the image. The only difference is that strictly speaking it leaves the possibility of appropriating a form of conclusion. The history of the book often will… end.
Collage remains open.

The painting – window.

The power of the image: potent and evocative. The internal, reading-comprehending process, the brain part… immediately goes on!

09. Smith Smith & Rozenn Le Gall. TRANSMUTATIONSmith Smith & Rozenn Le Gall TRANSMUTATION

To the play of the elements, the composition, the whole – From which sources does your artwork feeds?

For now, with images I find in magazines. I have at present an astronomical amount of magazines!
Magazines of photos, history, society, music, fashions, animals, nature… These magazines date from the 1950s to today. Short enough to get lost!
I try to organize myself by theme in order to find the images I’m looking for when I need it. Everyone gives me and I am delighted.
I love the excitement I feel when my eyes meet an image of a great power, I never know what I would do but I know it will be well…

A matter of technique – Digital resources? – evolution? – about this form of art…

Currently I am not using digital resources. But for some projects I might have to use them, in order to find the perfect image, or to improve it on Photoshop…
But I do not feel the need now.
I have enough material to work differently. And I like to let chance make me take other decisions because of a hazardous meeting of an image, which would not happen if I used my own digital resources!


On the other hand, with your work,, you’re seeking dialogue:
First step – questioning… Do you do it with yourself…

I often ask myself the question of… what I do not mean.
I also always ask myself the question of whether I reached the minimum level of aesthetics (for me). I am very careful on this point! Although a collage has no particular message I want to make it… attractive.
At this point, I also ask myself whether I have gone too far or not.
In cases like these, I try to pull the brakes…
On the other hand, I do not expect specific questions of my public. As I said, I respect the right of everyone to his own reading. The exchange goes up naturally… Share their questions would require, I think, to have specific answers… which I do not have.

05. Smith Smith & Rozenn Le Gall. BIBOPSmith Smith & Rozenn Le Gall BIBOP

What about – woman?

They’re an infinite source of inspiration! They represent mystery, life, beauty, delicacy, attraction… and so much more … They have always been a big part of my creation, in my music or my visual arts. I am fortunate to be father to a little girl, I enjoy seeing her growing, and I can already see the impact of her presence beside me, on my work.
My work – I hope – reaches beyond my own representation of women. Sometimes my collages may seem, for this reason, demeaning; because, you know, of too much nudity or sexuality, but it’s all about some great and general… I develop a much more sensual and delicate manner … I want to introduce a whole.

The image…

The image as a starting point more than a purpose. The possibility of openness, imagination, where the elements overlap, enrich the story or distract… The image as a Magic Card!

A word or an image to represent the way you see – the new…


(Translated by Roberto Zeballos.)

“Anabasis” blog by Juan Pablo Torres Muñiz
Rozenn La Gall Website
Smith Smith Website


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