Alexis de Chaunac
Medium: Drawing

Studio Location:
44-02 11th Street - Studio# 507b

Phone: 6465731374



Artist Bio:
Born in New York and raised in Mexico City and Paris, he grew up surrounded by art and culture, drawing in the studio of his grandfather renowned Mexican artist Jose Luis Cuevas. He then lived for ten years in Paris immersed in European culture only to return to the US to study at the Sarah Lawrence College in NY.

Rapidly up-and-coming artist, Alexis de Chaunac draws from literature, religion, mythology, art history, politics, and his own multicultural background to produce exuberant, mixed-media drawings. He describes drawing as "a transcendental language that anyone can understand." He works quickly, often with ink because of its fluidity, producing rich, multilayered works filled with faces and laden with cultural references. De Chaunac draws inspiration from such diverse artists as Rembrandt, Goya, Delacroix, Schiele, Picasso, and Francis Bacon, whom he groups together as "chroniclers of the human condition." His own artistic rendering of humanity comes from literature. He claims influences from the Scriptures to great epics and all the way to Beat Generation writers such as William S. Burroughs. Referring to his practice as contemporary myth making, he takes archetypes such as Oedipus, Jesus Christ or Dante "working out of them to explore the primitive aspects of the human being."

Artist Statement:
Before learning how to speak or write, drawing was the first form of expression I adopted to express my feelings about the world around me. The ritual of mark-making constitutes a language that anyone can understand, a border-crossing art form which draws us together primitively, forgetting in the process cultural boundaries and connecting us with our ancestors. I spent my childhood in Mexico City, drawing in my grandfather's studio. I observed him filling sheets of paper with violent strokes and intense details. Through time, I felt drawn to express myself in a similar fashion and find my own artistic voice.

My work is embedded with multiculturalism since I was brought up between New York, Mexico and Paris. I studied mostly filmmaking during my undergraduate years at Sarah Lawrence College. At the time, I did not yet consider drawing as an effective art form to represent the moving world. My experience abroad at the University of Oxford was particularly formative as I studied art history and I got to see the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci up-close. In one of the libraries, I had the sacrilegious urge to draw from the pages of a 16th century book. I realized that these pieces of paper tie us to the world in a more immediate way than any new technology. During the course of my senior year, I took a studio class that suddenly helped shape my passion and practice as an artist. The course encompassed developing a forum for students to build critical thinking in the studio. I was able to produce an independent body of work that focused on my personal interests, thinking about the process of producing art in a more open-ended manner. I have always been captivated by natural sciences: anatomy, biology, zoology, botany, etc.

Coinciding with the spirit of naturalists, I feel the urge to name and classify the world around me. In the series Botanica, I paint and draw on botanical engravings, I insufflate new life to these peculiar illustrations of medicinal plants. The core of my practice includes altering these old documents reaching the end of their lives. In the tradition of contemporary artists such as William Kentridge, a duality emerges from the layering as I introduce forms that provide new meanings to the source material. I conjugate scientific rigor with optical illusion. During these past three years, I concentrated my efforts towards my studio practice in New York. In parallel, I followed an etching workshop in Paris and collaborated with a printshop in Mexico City, producing a portfolio of serigraphy.

All images and text copyright Alexis de Chaunac