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A Frenchman in Qatar inspired by the desert's calm

A Frenchman in Qatar inspired by the desert's calm


There is something about Qatar that encourages art and artists. Qatar has been the fertile soil on which many artists have grown in talent and ambition. Maxime Ardilouze is one such artist whose artistic ambitions have taken fruit here.
Born in Bordeaux, France, this 37-year-old artist moved to Qatar in 2013 and with him he brought his talent for painting. Ardilouze follows figurative painting, which is a form of modern art that retains strong references to the real world and particularly to human figures. But this wasn't always his chosen style.
"Before I came to Qatar, I used to paint mostly abstract art. But when I came here, for the first time, I was captivated by the topography, the desert and the no-man's land. It was fascinating. With time, I began exploring the country and its amazing landscape. I initially used to photograph everything but then I realised that painting is a more appropriate way to transcribe these frozen moments. So, I started painting Qatar as I see it," said Ardilouze.
His paintings are simple with minimal use of colours, yet they capture the essence of Qatar and its people. He uses acrylic paints on canvas to create his pieces."I chose acrylic because I always paint my compositions in one sitting and therefore, I need it to dry fast. My works are based on imaginary images but which are nevertheless strongly inspired by reality and I try to create them in small areas of bright colours," he said, explaining his technique.
He discovered art at a young age when his grandmother, who was a painter, offered him a box of acrylic paints and an easel. He was inspired by her work on still-life painting and immediately began to paint. Brought up around the beautiful landscapes in Southwest France, Ardilouze developed an interest for art history and orientalism, and studied them, though he claims to not be an expert. He would capture the beauty around him through his 35mm camera lens, a passion he still continues to indulge in.
He went on to study applied arts graphic designing, fashion designing and art history. He studied industrial design in Paris at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Appliques et des Metiers d'Arts and worked as an interior designer in Bordeaux before moving to Qatar in October 2013. He now works as an interior designer in Doha and paints in his spare time.
Ardilouze says that there is a link between painting, interior design and photography and that link is what they are composed of and the alignment of the different elements to each other.
"Interior design is the composition of the different items the furniture, wallpaper, floors, lighting and how they blend together. Painting is the composition between the frame, the colours and the different layers of paint. In photography, it is all about the right lens and the right angle and studying your frame and choosing what you want to put in your picture and the perfect angle for it."
Ardilouze is inspired by everyday life in creating his realistic yet surreal paintings. One of the key themes of his paintings is the desert and he says that is because he is attracted to its calm and its loneliness, and can translate those emotions much easily on to his canvas. He spends as much time as possible exploring the deserts and gets frustrated when people dump their waste on the sands ruining the serenity and ever-changing beauty of the dunes.
Until recently, Ardilouze was marketing his paintings on social media, for a clientele mostly comprising Qatari women and expatriate art lovers looking for a Qatari souvenir. His paintings, which are a splash of colour in a wholly white background, are now also available at the Artfix Gallery at Lagoona Mall. You can also follow him on Instagram @qatar_artist.

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