Born in the US and currently living in Australia, Renee French is an artist acclaimed for her hundreds, if not thousands, of drawings in the form of original works, art books, graphic novels, underground comix and children’s books which she has created over the last 25 years.
Her art has been exhibited in solo shows in New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo (several which sold out) as well as in many group shows. And now there is a waiting list for her paintings. They are effectively sold before they are started even though she has only been painting full time for a year.
Free from the restrictions of narrative, she now paints characters whose images speak for themselves; a mummified bunny, a cute chihuahua, a bird with an elongated beak and bulging eyes, a raccoon smoking a cigarette. French’s imagination brings to life these creatures which stare out at the viewer with soulful eyes.
French has over 100,000 followers on Instagram, many who tune in to her live video feeds where she paints and answers questions about her process and technique – often with a TV series like Neighbours or Blue Heelers playing in the background.
You’ll often see her works labelled with the hashtags ‘pop surrealism’ and ‘low brow art’ on Instagram – art movements which have been influenced by surrealism and popular culture.
We spent hours talking and laughing and this interview starts at the relatively recent point when she decided to learn to paint. We talk about Instagram, why Australia made her want to be a painter, galleries in the age of the world wide web and lots more.
Press ‘play’ below the feature photo above to hear the interview.
- Exhibition at Beinart Gallery, Melbourne, November 2018
Links to things and people we talk about on the show
- Renee French on Instagram
- Renee French at Adam Baumgold Gallery
- Renee French blog
- Julian Ashton Art School
- Brett Whiteley
- Baby Bjornstrand
- Ben Smith
- Nick Stathopoulos on Talking with Painters
- Alla prima painting
- The Archibald prize
- David Gulpilil by Craig Ruddy (Archibald prize winner 2004)
- Blue Heelers
- A Country Practice
- All Saints
- Gregory Jacobsen
- Suzanne Archer on Talking with Painters
- Martin Sacks
- La Luz de Jesus Gallery
- Giant Robot Store
- Beinart Gallery