In the Heart of the City
Laurent Minguet’s curious eye wanders through landscapes marked by hyper-urbanization. Immortalizing one metropolis at a time, his work revisits finely crafted architecture via monochrome cityscapes contrasted by striking fields of color. Our team went to meet this hyperrealist artist in his studio in Toulouse (France) for an exclusive interview and peek into his universe!
K. Hello Laurent, thank you for receiving us in your studio today. It is always a pleasure to meet our artists! So, let’s start at the beginning. How did it all begin for you?
I started painting at a very young age and became interested in artistic creation in the broadest sense at a very early age as well. I started exhibiting my work in the early 90’s. During this period, I studied design and then began my career in this field in 1993.
At the beginning, my paintings were centered around automobiles and I rarely strayed from this subject. But in 1995, after my first trip to America, I began to paint large metropolitan areas. From 2003 to 2009 I also created many Polynesian-themed works after having lived there for three years. These paintings were exhibited exclusively in Tahiti, at the Galerie des Tropiques.
K. Are we looking at photos or paintings? What’s behind your technique?
I was quickly drawn in by the work of American photorealist painters of the 60’s and 70’s such as Richard Estes and Don Eddy. And like them, I sought perfection in my painting. This is what pushed me to master a hyperrealist technique.
I started to make contrast strips in black and white or in monochrome to bring about a graphic composition that would allow me to move away from the simple reproduction of reality. These verticalities and monochromes can still be found in my work today.
K. What does a typical day in your studio look like?
For my urban paintings, my work begins with location, usually in megacities such as New York, Sydney, Tokyo etc. I soak up the atmosphere by letting myself be carried away by the city. I look for memorable places to photograph so that, when back in the studio, I can make my selections.
Then, I make a digital model of the future painting. This defines my format, my choice of wood and how much grain it will have. I make my support and I then prepare the background colors. It will either be a solid or a stain.
I draw my subject in pencil on the support and then paint over it with acrylics, in order to give the illusion of transparency.
K. Do you like some materials more than others? If so, why?
I painted on canvas for a long time. Today, my supports are mainly wood panels, strips with fine finishes such as walnut, cherry or oak. Lately I’ve been mixing my paneling with laminated slabs of marble. I use these materials so that their natural beauty participates in the finality of the work.
Cities fascinate me. They are entirely created by man. Although in perpetual evolution, they keep the history and the marks of time. They bear the changes of architectural trends.
Screenprint (40 x 40 cm)
Screenprint (40 x 40 cm)
For my urban paintings, my work begins with location, usually in megacities such as New York, Sydney, Tokyo, etc. I soak up the atmosphere by letting myself be carried away by the city.
K. The city is a recurring theme in your work, why?
Cities fascinate me. They are entirely created by man. Although in perpetual evolution, they keep the history and the marks of time. They bear the changes of architectural trends. All of this pushes me to freeze moments, as a tribute to the energy they have given me.
K. How do you choose the colors to apply to your works? Is there a relationship between the city represented and the color superimposed on it?
Not at all, it’s more the feeling and the inspiration of the moment that pushes me towards the color I’m going to use.
K. Do you work on commission?
Yes, I do. Although I will not paint from pictures I did not take. Sometimes I travel to places to soak up the atmosphere, take photos and then design mock-ups. For requests regarding cities I have already been to, I work from my photo library. For faraway cities that I have never visited or that do not inspire me, I decline.
Laurent Minguet’s Gallery
Alone in Vegas
Acrylic painting (60 x 60 cm)
Go to Karaoke – Tokyo
Acrylic painting (150 x 150 cm)
Soho – New York
Acrylic painting (76 x 76 cm)