Who is the talent behind the mask?
Monsieur Terez is a French artist with 20 years experience in the art industry. He currently lives and works in his home country – France.
This week, Monsieur is in Cape Town featuring in The International Public Art Festival, which is held in Salt River from the 6th to16th of February.
During the festival we`ll see him create unique art in the streets there. So, if it sparks your curiosity – take a walk to Salt River and look at him while he works. The artists have only 10 days to finish their work, and our artist says it can get pretty intense.
Normally, you`ll find his content at museum exhibitions, or you`ll see him make grand paintings and sculptures to transform public places. As an artist he is best known for his humoristic art pieces, a public low profile and – the most intriguing part, the mask that hides his real identity.
His own response to the mask is, `when I was young, I used to be very shy, and when I first developed my art, people got curious about me. So, I made the character “Monsieur Terez” to be more private. I remember when I first made him – I wore the mask to an exhibition and no one wanted to talk to me, the mask made them so scared. Now, I only use it in photos and not in real life.`
He sure does come across as reserved and mysterious, which contradicts his choice of clothing. Today, his shirt has a strong turquoise colour with green leaves, a style that gives off a playful vibe.
When asked from where he draws his inspiration from, he is fast to reply `The universe of a child`, he smiles and goes on. `For me, it is important to make art that everybody can enjoy. I don’t like the type of art, which is so difficult to understand, that only certain people would get it.`
Some of his works speaks out about environmental issues, and others about the exploitation of people. He points out that he does not make art with an agenda, but that it`s more an expression of what feels right in the moment. `What people get out of my art is up to them`, he says.
Being Recognised as an Artist is Tough
By now, Monsieur Terez has created quite an impressive portfolio. But he states that, `to be recognised as an artist is incredibly hard. `When my son first told me, he wanted to be a dancer, I sighed. It is a lot of hard work to make it by yourself in that industry. But what can I say?`
He first tried to advise his son to take on a safer route in terms of stability. But it seems the apple does not fall far from the tree.
`Most of the time when people ask me what I do, they get surprised that someone can actually live as an artist. When I answer yes, I am an artist. They say; `Okay, but what do you do in real life? ` He laughs. `They really struggle to believe that someone can actually be a full-time artist.`
This Artist wants to show us the real side of what he thinks many people are romanticising. And says, there is no “breakthrough”. `You have to keep working hard. I do this because I genuinely feel there is no other way for me, my soul craves to be a creative full-time artist. If a young artist asks me for advice, this is my answer`.
He takes a moment, before he adds. `Today, my son is a professional dancer. So, it is possible. You just need to work hard.`
His honesty and realistic approach to the artistic life, might leave some of us scared to take the leap, but this is not the intention. He also invites us to get inspired, not just by his own accomplishment, but also of his son`s.
He finishes with saying, `no, I never get tired of making art. Because every project is an opportunity to create something new.`
Article by Astrid Br. – 17 February 2020