“I cannot imagine myself anymore doing anything else… and regret sometimes not to have done this many years ago. There is so much to learn and life is so short”
Eric Saint Georges is a talented French artist living in the USA since 1994. Even though he’s always enjoyed drawing and building objects, he has had a conflicted relationship with art. After college, Eric studied electrical engineering but didn’t join the workforce right away. Instead, he followed his artistic instincts and went to the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris for two years. He learned to draw and sculpt, and participated in a workshop with French artist Pétrus in 1978.
However, after developing his artistic skills, Eric preferred to work as an engineer for 35 years. It wasn’t until a few years ago that he decided to devote himself to art and started drawing, building sculptures, teaching art and experimenting with different materials in his studio in Los Gatos, California.
This artist has learned to incorporate his knowledge —including Aikido, a Japanese martial art he’s been practicing for over 45 years— and take advantage of his virtues to create art. In this Q&A artist Eric Saint Georges shares with PoseSpace his life-changing experiences, favorite artists and future projects:
Even though you studied drawing and sculpture in the “Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts” in 1978, you pursued your professional career as an electrical engineer. It wasn’t until just a few years ago that you decided to make art. Could you tell us more about this decision and how you felt at that moment?
After all these years of engineering, I felt that none of what I have done couldn’t have been done by someone else. Of course, I had fun solving some interesting problems but I felt that at the end of the day all this hard work was not making much of a difference. On the other end, I loved art, I knew I had some talent and a lot to learn and progress to make. I had been thinking a lot about it for several years, and at some point made the decision. I took another couple of years to transform our garage into a studio, wait until our daughters were out of college, and quit my job. For one year, I still worked half time as an engineer while taking various art classes and in January 2016 went into art full time. I cannot imagine myself anymore doing anything else… and regret sometimes not to have done this many years ago… There is so much to learn… and life is so short. Maybe it is the reason I like to work fast, and focus on expression and energy, with little interest in realistic representation of things.
Do you have a favorite living artist, whether famous or completely unknown?
My favorite is probably Andy Goldsworthy land art. I also love Pierre-Yves Tremois etchings (his lines are so beautiful).
What life experiences have influenced your work?
I believe my aïkido practice is helping me to understand and experience that power (in the case of martial art) and true expression (in case of art) cannot come from the intellect, and has to come from your core, without interference from your mind… This is also another reason why I work fast. If I take the time to think, my work loses its energy and its life.
How do you view the state of figure art in the current art culture?
I believe people have and will always connect with human form representation. That is our nature. Now, whether this is an important part of the current art culture, I am not sure…
You mentioned you would like to use your engineering background to combine art and technology. Have you started doing this?
I started a project using Virtual Reality and 3D printing to create sculptures. I have also a few projects I am thinking about. One is about interactive art. Today’s technology brings us many tools we can use for that purpose. Taking people (random) inputs, and transforming them (using computer algorithms combined with physical elements) into animated images or sounds. Another one is to create interesting and beautiful ways to visualize science phenomena so that people can experience them as images, videos or sounds. These will probably take time to realize. In the meantime, working on my sculptures, designing new types or armatures, making molds, casting bronze, etc… involve a lot of engineering.
Tell us one thing you thought you knew, that it later turned out you were wrong about.
When I was young I thought I had plenty of time…
Eric’s website: http://www.ericsaintgeorges.com/about/
Interview by Andrea Miliani