Clement Joe Simonnet is a Franco British Contemporary Painter based in France. Since his arrival on the Parisian art scene, thanks to his desert collection ´Mirage’, Simonnet has shown in France at different venues such as the Bernard Magrez Cultural Institute in Bordeaux, the gallery De Médicis located Paris rive gauche or at the leading Yoshii Gallery in Paris on Matignon Avenue.
Simonnet's works on canvas are about the possible power of and the softness of painting. Simonnet’s color palette is often pastel and strong, delivering contrasting classic works of art on high quality linens, canvases and wood frames to offer the best appreciation between the artist the materials and the viewer.
Beyond the walls, Simonnet sees the room and space also as a place fit for paintings, and exhibiting art. By engineering the paintings together in his garden in Normandy- France with a hinging system enabling the canvases to communicate with one an other, offering a hangable folding screen which in the start of 2020 has been a first to his new collection about water ´the bathers’.
We sat down with Clement to ask him a few questions;
The Art Districts: At what age did you start painting, and what got you started?
Clement Simmonet: I started painting at 14 years old in my mother’s garden
TAD: What about your mother’s garden inspired you to start painting?
CS: In my mother’s garden I was able to discover acrylics and there I treated the canvas like the paper and the paint as the watercolor. This new technique mixed to cement enabled me to create my very own technique to produce the Mirage as it could be seen in the desert.
TAD: Was becoming an artist always a dream of yours, and what were some of your other dreams growing up?
CS: No growing up I was encouraged by my father to pursue more common careers.
But deep down I knew that I wanted to be self sufficient doing something I love and was able to constantly work on.
TAD: Well now that you have taken the road to pursue arts instead of a more traditional career, have your parents been supportive in your decision? If so, what does their support mean to you?
CS: I think that love is what my parents gave me. But unfortunately our relationship is very poor so it is difficult for me to speak about it I’m so sorry..
TAD: Obviously being an artist is one of the coolest professions in the world, but if you were not an artist what is something you would enjoy doing?
CS: If I was not an artist I think I would be a fashion designer or a singer.
TAD: A fashion designer or singer, that’s pretty interesting. Who is your favorite fashion designer and your favorite singer?
CS: My favorite fashion designer from a young age is Yves Saint Laurent to whom I was introduced to because of some similarities we would have in the drawing. Favorite singer at the moment is Nick Cave!!
TAD: As an artist what are three of your biggest inspirations?
CS: My three biggest inspirations would have to be the four elements, humanity and color.
TAD: What does art mean to you? How does it make you feel?
CS: Art to me is a need, a way of expression in which I can express with 100% freedom. I think that the process is very painful yet when the work is finished there is a great feeling of achievement. I never know what is truly going to be the final outcome of a painting but once it is finished I look at the work and say to my self - ah, this is what was inside me.
TAD: How would you best describe your own personal style of art?
CS: My style has evolved a great deal passing by Serenity, The Mirage, then to a style with more fury to it, and now a soft and powerful style is emerging.
TAD: Artist get asked so many questions regarding their process, what is the one question that really grinds your gears?
CS: Do you rework works of art ? And why do you rework them !?
TAD: What is your favorite thing about being an artist?
CS: I think that my favorite thing about being an artist is that it is a life time adventure both in the creation and the process. But it also allows freedom and the discovery of new things which make life very interesting.
CS: I think I have reached an artist block with the Mirage series because the work had become easier for me to produce, so less interesting to me. I then moved to a new medium Oils.
TAD: Finally, do you have a favorite piece of your own work, and what makes it special?
CS: I think that the older the work the more the memories around the work feel distant and so there for when I see it I feel like I have really dug up something. This could be valid for the Mirage series.