By de-horning cows farmers have deprived these animals of all their character, as well as of the last remaining slender hope of being able to defend themselves, turning them into living slabs of meat or walking milk cartons. By salvaging the discarded horns and sticking them onto milk cartons I hope to make visitors to my exhibitions aware that what Is being Inflicted on these animals might, If It's not already the case, be done to man in the fairly near future. The Good People are getting used day after day to having their horns blunted little by little almost without noticing It. But one day they will have no horns left at all, and the "people farmers" will have achieved their goal - to turn us into defenceless animals.
It all started as a joke, in fact. A gallery owner in Charmey whom I got to know while packing up an exhibition suggested I do a poya for an exhibition he was putting on the following week. I took up the challenge, warning him that he was in for a big surprise when he saw what I brought him. He said "you're on", and so I set to work.
Under the pressure of this deadline the idea came to me almost at once, and I brought him my work a week later. This was how the first DelaPerouze Tetra-Poya was born..........................
I first started to paint on motorbikes, by decorating Harley-Davidsons. After fifteen years of doing what had become my job in life, I had to establish myself as an artist in my own right, and not just as The Bikers' Painter. Also, I wanted to do other things with my art. This was going to be difficult, if not impossible, if I just went accepting commissions, and especially just on bikes or other personalised vehicles. The challenge I was talking earlier about enabled me to get out of the sort of ghetto which that world of big bikes had had become and in which I had proven myself and that provided me with a livelihood.
As my first work was reserved while I was painting it, that made me want to do others. This wish soon became a need, because through these Tetra-poyas a whole new world was opening up to me - a world in which I could tell the stories I wanted to tell when I wanted to.
Sculpture came later, providing me with a third dimension from which I have since rarely been able to escape, so impressed was I by this new form of expression, whether I use it for Tetra-Cows or in other work.
The airbrush technique is widely used in painting on vehicles, so I naturally started using this wonderful technique I was already adept at in other ways. I use it in my works, not so much because I need to, but mainly because for me it is an extension of my hand, much more so that a brush or a pencil could be.
On the other hand, I'm increasingly trying to do without it, precisely in favour of the painter's "real tools", because it's a fact that the airbrush requires a lot of technique and an infrastructure that is just heavy enough to act as a brake to the painter when he gets going. For example, I'm thinking of the fact that it often takes a lot of time to hide the things you don't want to paint, and that can stifle the creative urge when you're in full swing.
I think at first, as I don't have much of a sense of "real responsibility" (artists are just kids at heart, as we know) I was delighted that Mr. Guénat, the director of the Hotel Les Nations, should have thought of me to decorate his building - then when it was all underway I stopped thinking anything - I just believe that… we're both mad - he for trusting me and I for saying yes!
But shhh - you mustn't say anything to him. He thinks I'm sure of myself, and that's what counts, isn't it? Now it's up to me not to disappoint him.
The opening is on 6 October, so I can't go back. And of course it's going to be a masterpiece!
It's always hard to predict exactly how long a work like this Is going to take. All the more so In the case of an artist who, almost be definition, doesn't work by the hour. For other, admittedly less ambitions works, I based my estimate on the time I had spent on it to make a rough quote, helped by my dealer and wise friend. Philippe works on trust, and that's the kind of relationship we adopted as soon as we began talking about this project. The only date others have to remember and I have to stick to is 6 October - the opening!
An artist always has other works In the pipeline, that's part of the job. Some works come to fruition faster than others, like the one we're talking about that landed on me without warning. Going ahead with some or postponing others - or maybe - and It's what I hope, some give rise to a whole bunch of others.
For the time being I am too preoccupied with Poya des NATIONS to make elaborate plans to rival this one, but I have been hatching one for the last two years, and that's to introduce a herd of life-size Tetra-cows to the grounds of the Chateau de Gruyères.
The director of the chateau likes the idea!
COME ALONG, SPONSORS!