Guy Trinquet is a Melbourne based French artist who paints mainly seascapes. We had a chat to him about his art, his inspiration and the challenges of being an artist during the Melbourne COVID-19 lockdown. He was also shortlisted as a finalist for Australia’s most prestigious landscape art prize, the 2021 Glover Art Prize. Guy Trinquet was one of just 42 finalists selected from hundreds of applicants from across the globe!
Thanks for talking to us, Guy Trinquet. Have you always had an artistic side?
Art was my favourite subject at school but I didn’t pursue it seriously until much later in life. At school, I was notorious for sketching even during subjects like math which often got me into trouble with teachers. I always knew that I would become a painter. I felt it was part of my journey and my identity. It was just a matter of time.Even though I worked in more conventional jobs for most of my working life, I knew that I would one day be focusing primarily on my art.
In 2014, I opened a French café in Melbourne. The walls were bare so I decided to dress them up with my paintings. At the time, I didn’t even have an easel. I just put large canvases on the floor, got on my knees, painted scenes from memories of my childhood, and hung up the paintings. The art created a special feel to the café. Customers often asked who the artist was and many of my paintings were sold that way. That encouraged me to paint even more. After work, I would come home and paint late into the night and watch tutorials in bed.
You are self-taught. How did you learn how to paint?
I worked as a makeup artist in Paris and Melbourne which gave me a good knowledge of colours. In terms of painting, I experimented with different mediums and materials. I also watched a lot of tutorials and tested new techniques. I never gave up and kept improving.
When and why did you come to Australia?
I moved to Australia in 2005 for family reasons. I visit France whenever I can.
You’re inspired by nature. What about nature inspires you?
Being in nature, away from the hustle and bustle of city life, is like meditating for me. It gives me a sense of peace. The colours, sounds and smells inspire me. When I’m working in my studio, I leave the door open and I can hear the birds singing, the leaves rustling in the wind, the rain on the rooftop. It’s better than music. It’s simply magic. This activates my creativity. The weather shapes my mood and what I paint. Even cold, rainy days inspire a painting.
You have sailed across the Atlantic twice, which gave you the opportunity to study light and storm formation. Tell us about these experiences.
When I was sailing with just two or three other crew members, it was just us in the middle of the ocean. I was constantly aware of the might and power of nature, especially during dangerous storms at sea. The amazing experiences and memories of these times are powerful and stay with me till this day. I feel deeply connected to the ocean and nature. The salty scent and taste of the ocean still spark vivid memories of those times. It’s probably why I still am drawn to the ocean, even if it’s just to drive along the coast.
What is your painting process. Do you work on many canvases at once or just one canvas at a time until it is finished before starting another?
Most of the time, I work on just one painting at a time. Each painting is very personal and I need to be in a “flow state” to complete it. I’ll only work on another painting if I have to wait for days or weeks for layers to dry.
Before becoming a painter, what did you do in life?
In Paris, I worked at the iconic Café de Flore in St Germain des Pres before retraining as a makeup artist. When I moved to Melbourne, I was a professional makeup artist for a French American brand before opening a French café.
You’re Melbourne based. Did the COVID-19 lockdown and confinement give you inspiration or was being stuck inside problematic in finding inspiration?
It was challenging during the lockdown as I wasn’t able to drive to different places in nature for inspiration. However, I also discovered beautiful trails next to a creek near my home. Thankfully, I can hear birds constantly at my home, from about 4.30 am till about 7 pm which gives me a sense of being in nature.
As I paint from memory and emotion, I was still able to paint a lot during the lockdown. I created a lot of atmospheric paintings of misty mountains and moody seascapes during this period.
How do you find Australian coasts and beaches different to those in France?
Being a Melbourne-based artist, I am within a few hours of the Mornington Peninsula and the Great Ocean Road. Some parts of the Great Ocean Road remind me of Brittany but we don’t have the calm seas of the Mediterranean here. I still need to explore other parts of Australia.
How have your clients discovered you?
Is it difficult to take realistic photos of your paintings to showcase them on your website and on instagram?
All my paintings are photographed professionally with high quality cameras. The limited edition prints are printed on fine art, museum grade paper from Germany with archival inks and look like the original.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I love teaching others how to develop their creativity. I enjoy showing them how to get started, how to paint boldly, the attitudes to embrace when painting and the joy of painting.
When I had my café, I ran art classes there. I will be developing new classes soon.
Do you have a creative side?