Art & Design blog

With a little help from Google Translate, Ricky interviewed French painter Jacques Jannin about his inspirations.

Jacques Jannin


XETH: Your paintings seem to glamourise women, much like Jack Vettriano does but without the overt sexuality.  Is this intentional?

Jacques Jannin: I don’t know much about Vettriano, but I very much admire the work of Johannes Vermeer – and Edward Hopper, no less! The women in my paintings are like mirages, reflections or dreams and this is how I present them.

XETH: Much of your work is set in rather luxurious environments.  Where does this focus originate?

JJ: I spent a lot of my career at architectural firms, working on home interiors and exteriors from various different perspectives. This influenced me, and I now paint works mixing inside and outside, mixing natural and artificial light. I don’t know whether I consider the interiors luxurious, but I like to introduce landscapes with large windows and maybe this is what gave you that feeling.

XETH: Although you’re French, many of your paintings are also set in America.  What is it that you love about the States?

JJ: I’m not a prolific traveller, and this might be why I’m a painter… to escape daily. I only went to the United States once – New York, years ago. I got there by boat and the immense skyscrapers revealed themselves from the mist in the distance. It was such a change from the landscapes of France and Paris… New York, this city that fascinates, obsesses and disturbs me. Now travel there through my painting.

XETH: You mentioned travel by boat – the ocean seems to be another inspiration for you?

JJ: Yes, I’ve painted many ocean scenes… the Normandy coast, the landscape of the Seine Estuary that can be admired at Sainte Addresse, close to Le Havre.

Jacques Jannin


XETH: Films also feature heavily in your work, either as still images hung on walls or screenings in cinema settings.  What are your favorite movies and why?

JJ: I have a taste for black and white films, and I loved westerns when I was a kid. Now I like to watch movies with Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe… My favourite American film is ‘Suspicion‘ by Alfred Hitchcock, with Joan Fontaine and Cary Grant. I also like the new wave movement: François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard with his beautiful film ‘Breathless’… I could cite many others. I love these films and their atmosphere of mystery that captures the imagination even when you’ve seen them a hundred times.

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