JOHN PAUL FAUVES is a masked artist who has never been seen in public. Although, he is recognized internationally for his Neo Pop Expressionism, dealing with identity through art, mainstream culture and social media.
Inspired by American idols James Dean and Steve McQueen, his latest art series Alts iz Farloyrn, translates to All is Lost, and was Steve McQueen’s first ever line on stage. Alts iz Farloyrn will consist of twelve never before seen large-scale paintings, sculptures and his famous handmade art masks.
AC: There are many objects and elements incorporated into your artwork. Where do you draw inspiration from?
JOHN PAUL FAUVES: My biggest inspiration is existence itself. For me, art and life are the same things. There is a question that has always followed me, ‘Why am I here in this world? Being alive, every single second of breath is a miracle itself. In every corner of the new day, you find mystery surrounded by magical moments. These moments represent my biggest inspiration. Some come from past memories, especially the ones that hurt the most like my past drug addiction – that moment brought a lot of drama and lessons into my expressionist life. And by expressionist life, I mean that I express my emotions through art. I believe I’m not an artist nor do I create art, I just materialize emotions. It’s my interpretation of the energy that surrounds us in every experience of life. We are spiritual beings having a human experience, and it’s from that experience that I get my most inspiration.
After finding inspiration, what does the creative process look like?
The creative process is not planned in a rational way. It’s actually very simple and raw for me, and that’s referring to simple expression from my soul. Almost like taking a picture of a feeling and then recreating it into an art piece. Now, the themes have a very important role in my artistic process since I always like to tell a story behind the whole collection. Every collection that I do for my shows is different, and they all have some new story, meaning, lesson and art concept. Even though all my themes change, I have noticed that most of the themes have a common denominator that bonds them. This represents for me the inner search for your true self – this separation from the ego of self and the structured systemized materialistic world we are born to. It is as if every collection I’m doing is a reminder to my own self that I have cut loose from the reality they made me believe and submerged into the world of wonder and freedom.
What are your thoughts on social media?
We have to use social media, not let social media use us. Everything we are experiencing is here and now for a reason. Social media has such an impact on our present culture. There is the good and the bad parts, which is a very common duality in life itself. If it’s used with balance and with the right understanding – just as a social tool – I believe it has enormous positive potential, especially for artists. Anyone that has the urge to manifest an idea or express their thoughts to the outer world can use social media to do so. And If you do it genuinely, you grow with this social experience.
I was discovered through social media, and I like to say that I actually discovered myself through it too. It pushed me into creating and gave me a platform to express myself without fearing the judgment of others. The problem I fear – especially for the younger generations – is that social media is taking such a big role in their lives that they can’t tell the difference from what is real and what is not. I recently read about a girl who killed herself because she made a social media poll asking if she should or not. People voted for her death, and so she responded to their votes. My advice is to work hard in your spiritual connection with your true self, not your social ego character.
How do you express your own identity through art?
Through my spirit. It has been proven that we are all energy, so to me, it’s about being at the correct level of energy or the right frequency. There I can tune into this universal source of creativity. I’m not the artist, I’m just a messenger. In other words, I don’t do art, I just materialize emotions.
When did you first become inspired by James Dean and Steve McQueen?
Like most of my inspirations, it was pretty sudden. I follow a line of common concepts and iconic inspirations. I have always loved the stories of people that have gone through all kinds of experiences, mostly difficult ones, and still emerged into stars. Both Steve and James had really rough childhoods, which pushed them to become better instead of falling into despair. They had this need for speed like cars and adrenaline, almost to the verge of death, or death itself for James. It was as if they were running from their past and not being present in the silence of the now. For me, this is almost like a case studies under a spiritual point of view to learn how to face my past demons and flow into a new level of clarity. All Is Lost were the first words used by McQueen in his first movie role, and that, for me, meant everything. When you have lost it all, you have nothing to lose. And that my friends, with the right attitude, is a great place to be.
Before pursuing a life as an artist, you were a former businessman. What areas of business did you work in?
I attended university because my father thought that I would starve as an artist and persuaded me to study business. I ended up getting my MBA in Madrid, Spain and started working in the restaurant business. During this time I became a sales manager of a big franchise group, but my soul was so unhappy and tormented that I started using heavy drugs. It got to the point that I almost pushed my body and spirit to death, but thankfully it was not my time yet, and the universe allowed me to get clean. After that, I quit my job in business and started focusing on my true passion for manifesting my emotions.
Your work has been exhibited across the globe. What are your ambitions as an artist?
My biggest ambition is to be of example to others – to keep growing as an artist without losing track of my true self and falling into the glory of power and ego. To keep creating art pieces or materialized emotions that have never been created before, and that this can help in some way to inspire people to find their life purpose.
INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES