Titane Laurent on Zen and Spirituality
Born in Morocco, raised in Belgium and now a resident of Melbourne, Titane Laurent is a well-traveled artist. Among the countries she has called home before Australia, are New Zealand, USA and Mauritius. Each time she settles in a new place, she has to set up her art practice all over again. And yet, she is not afraid of this challenge. Her spirituality gives her the courage to tackle each new beginning. With her faith in God, she knows that “together we can be wild and crazy, and I’m safe.”
Titane’s family boasts 7 generations of painters, so art has always been in her blood. However, it wasn’t until she was 31 that she gave herself over to pursuing painting full-time. She abandoned her job in marketing and decided she “wanted to follow [her] dreams”.
Until she left New York, Titane’s work was much more about realism. However, upon leaving the US she decided to reinvent her work as minimalist abstracts. She explains, “I really got influenced by modern art, abstract expressionists like Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline, and that really changed my life.” Her colour palette completely changed, transitioning from lots of blues and greens to the completely monochromatic work she creates today. And “there’s no going back.”
“With colour there’s millions of possibilities, and as soon as you mix two colours there’s more possibilities. Actually that reflects my life. Before, more choices, more style, more people, more everything… but I’m growing to be more minimalistic and zen.”
Despite using a limited colour palette, Titane’s pieces are still quite complicated. She uses texture and different finishes to add dimension to her black and white pieces. Occasionally she uses red pastel, when the painting calls for it. In creating her paintings, she builds up many layers of texture and tone in the background, before adding one ultimate movement. This one movement can be quite scary, because if she isn’t happy with it, then it’s “months of work, just for nothing.”
The movement in Titane’s pieces is all about working with energy. She draws her inspiration for this from calligraphy. Under the tutelage of Chinese conceptual art teacher, Gao Xuyong, she became attuned to the abstract essence of line.
Solitude is an important ingredient in Titane’s creative process. She has found that if she gets too involved with the marketing, business and social aspects of art that she tends to lose herself. So, in order to focus on her work, she tends to isolate herself. “My work requires a lot of silence and solitude. And I love that. It nourishes me.”
Practising work in this manner fits with Titane’s concept of the role of the artist. In her eyes, artists lead others to new ideas and patterns of thinking. In order to do that, it’s important that they strive for original thought, by way of exploring different cultures and standing alone. “For me, being an artist is to be honest, to function with the integrity of the heart and not be part of any group.”
Since moving to Melbourne, Titane has managed to achieve her dream of owning her own gallery. Laurent Gallery is in South Melbourne is a beautiful modern space that perfectly complements her minimalist art.
In the future, Titane hopes to take her work to an even larger scale. During her time in Japan, she saw the large scale abstracts by Kline, Motherwell and Antoni Tapias, and they resonated with her.
“These artists help me to think bigger.” The large pieces had the effect of reminding her of things bigger than herself. Once again, her spirituality comes into the mix – without a spiritual element to her work, she feels it is mere decoration.
This year, Titane has been named a semi-finalist in the Bluethumb Art Prize. You can vote for her as your People’s Choice winner on our prize page.
Other exciting news for Titane is participating The Exhibition Project by the City Recital Hall in Sydney. This is an interesting project marrying visual art with music. Titane is in the first of four exhibitions in this project. The exhibition combines abstract art with brass music. “Like the brass section of an orchestra abstract art provides a discordant counterpoint to more traditional art forms.” City Recital Hall has chosen 4 monochromatic abstract artists to to complement the brass band. While opening night was on February 8th, the exhibition is open until April 6th.
Watch our chat on video below!