Graduated from the National School of Arts of Nancy, Yann Hovadik is well-known for his mastery of drawing, painting and his sharp sense of observation.
Influenced by the great masters such as Velasquez, Rubens and Sargent, Yann shares his time between his artistic work and the teaching of drawing and painting.
Yann’s work is consistently outstanding. His paintings have clarity of value and an incredible confidence in execution that celebrates the soul of his subjects. They burst with life and vibrancy that looks effortless, but has been crafted though many years of practise.
It was an absolute pleasure to be able to interview Yann and gather some insight into his world.
Bonjour Yann, welcome to the show, I hope you are well. How is life for you in Lockdown?
Bonjour everybody and merci Jake for the interest in my artwork. Loneliness is necessary for the artist. He is constantly preoccupied by questions related to his art. For the artist, Lockdown lasts a lifetime.
Where are you based in France. Can you tell us about your studio and where you teach?
I live in Nancy, a city located 1h30 from Paris. I teach drawing and painting in Nancy and Paris.
When and how did you become interested in art?
My father was a painter. He made me aware of art since my childhood. My mother's poetic temperament also influenced me.
I had a click one day a long time ago in my father's atelier. While browsing a big book on Michelangelo, I had a strong emotion: Wow, that's what I want, I would like to give people the emotion that Michelangelo gives me! Of course I will never get there: D
You studied at The National School of Arts of Nancy, did that help you to train your drawing and painting skills or would you describe yourself as self-taught?
The traditional techniques of drawing and painting have unfortunately not been taught in France for years. Worse, art schools often despise this type of practice that they consider outdated and backward looking, in favor of a so called contemporary art.
In other words, I did not learn to draw or paint in an art school, but alone. The Internet is full of learning sources!
Your charcoal works are incredible. You draw with a mastery of light and the right amount of detail and focus. (I feel like I am going to have to learn to speak French and come to your workshops!) Could you describe your process when drawing in charcoal?
It is always worth remembering that the artist's objective is to create an interesting image. A work of art is a compromise between the artist and the subject, the technique serves a poetic intention. Knowing how to describe a subject is not an artistic goal!
The design of the design should never be overlooked. How will I make an interesting image from a certain model and with the language of charcoal? I like the idea that a drawing or a painting is a visual story. An artist knows how to incorporate suspense and expressiveness, just as a storyteller can do.
What other advice do you have for someone learning to draw?
It is said that an artist is formed in 10 years. Are you ready to practice day and night for 10 years?
In reality, it takes longer than that, because artistic practice is evolving. It's a lifetime commitment. Passion is an essential prerequisite.
Your Oils are also full of life, they would sit proudly next to master works by Sargent or Sorolla. What is your choice of paints, brushes and mixing medium?
You know how to flatter artists! The material dimension is important since it has a direct impact on artistic production. The same sketch drawn on 2 sheets of paper of different nature will not be the same. The artist must therefore know the properties, the possibilities and the limits of the material with which he works. Thus, he can adapt it to his artistic intention and not do what the material is not intended to do. From a creative point of view, it is also interesting to adapt to new material.
I paint with extra fine paints, I have a preference for square brushes, and I generally use a medium allowing the paint to stay fresh for 3 hours.
I often experiment with different material and learn to adapt to the material rather than adapting the material to me.
What do you feel is most important to you, when working with oils?
A painting is above all an interesting orchestration of forms and colors. The subject is therefore secondary.
A lovely cat features in many of your paintings, is it your cat and what is his/her name?
Every time I have a new girlfriend, we end up adopting a cat. And when the couple no longer works, the cat leaves, which makes me unhappy. I would love to own one, but since I travel often, it's complicated. You must be referring to Tabasco. He loved sticking his hair to my fresh paintings.
Do you have a favourite art book? If so, what is your connection with it?
Rodin is part of my Pantheon. There is a book called Art, it is an interview between the sculptor and a journalist. I have read this book 50 times! A deep artist asks deep, complex questions. The artists' books which relate those questions are a joy to read!
Would you like to say anything else to our viewers?
You are not born an artist, you become one. It all starts with awareness. I was fortunate to have a recognized artist father who opened my eyes to art and encouraged me to continue on this path. A cooking teacher is first and foremost a cook. Before becoming an instructor, I'm an artist. My teaching is based on my artistic research. Experimenting, questioning, doubting, repeating on a daily basis allows me to enrich and renew my lessons. There is no greater satisfaction than passing on the knowledge that has been accumulated.
I modestly try to be the teacher I wish I had and that I didn't have. Artistic research, when it is deep, is complex. Relying on the experience of an artist can save a lot of time and save time.
The artistic practice is not limited to its technical aspect but consists of a multitude of other components including those psychological, philosophical or poetic. It nourishes my interior and gives spiritual consistency to my life. Art is essential to me!
Links to Yann's Work: