Mmegi Online :: Jean nails inimitable fantasy art
Last Updated
Friday 21 September 2018, 15:09 pm.
Jean nails inimitable fantasy art

Though fantasy art is not very popular, it has made Andrick Jean of Seychelles great. Through the art, he has travelled the world, met famous people and earned accolades.
By Thato Kala Fri 05 Dec 2014, 17:38 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Jean nails inimitable fantasy art

The winner of the Best Outdoor Drawing (China) had his moment when popular gospel band, Hillsong graced his exhibition in China. 

His other memorable moment was when he met top Chinese artist, Chen Li from Sichuan Province and Liu Bingsheng from Xiamen.

He has featured in three other exhibitions in East Asia.

His most recent exhibition was at the Taiwan Art Revolution in Taipei in April this year.

Earlier, he had exhibited in Victoria, Seychelles at the National Heritage. The Chinese capital, Beijing first witnessed the 28-year-old’s amazing gift when he showcased his work at a solo exhibition in 2010. Two years later, he was back in Beijing for a graduation exhibition titled My Dream African Fantasy. He won the Best Ice Sculpture in 2011 at the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture festival.

Recently, he was awarded a certificate from Taiwan Art Revolution Taipei.

“My painting was selected among the 3,017 art pieces created by artists from all over the world and made it to the finals,” says the humble artist.

A quick run through his work and listening to him talk about art validates his three-word assertion “art fulfils me”. 

But, how did it all start for the Mahe-born artist, who has stayed in Botswana for the last three years?

“I started drawing in primary school and I was so fond of it. I remember my first portrait drawing was my mother. My Standard Six teacher was amazed at the details of the drawing because I had not learned the basics,” he says.

Over the years, he has developed his craft.

Professionally, his technique is more towards realism and fantasy art. A close look at his work shows how much he moves from realism to fantasy.

Jean’s work is straightforward and easily expresses what he wants to portray in a way that is attractive to viewers.

Without doubt, his work consists of various infinite details that make the image so real that it appears to be existent.

“I always strive for continuous satisfaction from my clients and viewers,” he says.

With such originality, Jean, a man with African, Indian and French blood running through his veins can only dream of conquering the world.

“I want to be recognised globally as one of the greatest artists. I intend to have an organisation that promotes artists nationally and internationally,” says Jean.

He has been resident in Botswana for three years and he believes this gives him an edge as he prepares to take on the world. 

He says his biggest passion is sharing his art experience and knowledge with upcoming artists. His high school art teaching job affords him that opportunity.

His utmost desire is to nurture and coach youth to a point where they discover their unique and genuine technique in art.

Interestingly, he comes from a family of art. His uncles, aunts and cousins are people of art.

But that did not guarantee him an easy passage with his father initially sceptical about pursuing art. But his mother was always positive and supported him.

His father only changed when he passed his Diploma in Art and Design.

“When I left for China to pursue a Degree in Art from one of the best art universities, the Central Academy of Fine Art, my father was thrilled,”


says Jean, who is married and is a father of two.

He says he will not stand in the way of his children once they make career choices.

So far, his best piece is one titled ‘Freedom’. He says it holds a special place in his heart.

“It depicts my two worlds in the form of my countries Botswana and Seychelles,” says Jean who is married to a Motswana woman, Esther. The two met in China where he spent five years studying.

Seemingly, the ‘Freedom’ painting appeals to both of them.

It is a composition of different images creating one image.

It also shows the sea stretching into the misty horizon and merging with the cloud covered sky.

In the foreground, there is a figure of a woman in the sea splashing water into her face. Behind her stands a majestic zebra.

He explains how he decides on what piece he will do. First, he settles on whether the piece is abstract, realistic or fantasy. Then the theme will guide the concept and layout.

“Sometimes when I don’t have a theme to work on, I prime the canvas black and draw whatever comes to mind and the canvas will reveal the mystery to me,” Jean says.

It took him three months to complete his favourite piece as he had to work on the details.

He was using oil paint, which requires time to dry.

Jean says realistic work like watercolour portraits in black and white, monochrome or colour only take two days.

He is convinced Botswana art is growing in leaps and bounds.

His favourite artists locally are Roger Brown and Gosego Motlogelwa. Internationally, he respects the late Dutch painter and etcher Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, Jean Claude Monet and Peru’s Boris Vallejo.

Interestingly, there are traces of the Van Rijn’s flair in his work. The Dutchman was generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art and the most important in Dutch history. Jean’s other idol, the late Vallejo, was an expert in fantasy art. He worked almost exclusively in the fantasy and erotica genres. His hyper-representational paintings graced the covers of dozens of science fiction paperbacks and are featured in a series of best-selling glossy calendars.

For Jean, art is a representation or expression of life through the use of elements and media to create a visual form.

While many other artists would advise a youngster against pursuing art as a fulltime job, he says he would urge any youngster with the gift to go for it.

“Be innovative so that you become unique or have your own identity and, most importantly, brand yourself so that from one look at the painting, a person can tell the artist is you.”

Jean’s gift stretches beyond just fantasy art as he is also a singer and music producer.

He has his own eight-track album My Reason and is presently working on producing a budding gospel artist. “I produced my album and also designed the cover. I learnt all these things in China,” he says.

His favourite food is seswaa, dumplings and beef stew.

“Other than that, I love sea food and chicken curry.”

He says his favourite book is the Bible and he is not about to stop reciting its teachings. 

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