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Stéphane Joannes
He was born in Besançon in 1975 and currently works in Vendée. Stéphane Joannes studied at the Ecole supérieure des Arts décoratifs de Strasbourg (DNSEP Art). Since 1997, he has devoted himself mainly to the creation of ships on large canvases or in diptychs.













He was born in Besançon in 1975 and currently works in Vendée.
Stéphane Joannes studied at the Ecole supérieure des Arts décoratifs de Strasbourg (DNSEP Art). Since 1997, hehas devoted himself mainly to the creation of boats on large canvases or in diptychs.


The Tankers According to Stéphane JOANNES

“The world of the sea fascinates me. I religiously watched Thalassa for the first thirty-five years of my life. I drew from it not only my appreciation for beauty but also a sense of becoming an enlightened citizen, which I strive to be a bit more each day. Thalassa showcased the sea, nature, people, the compelling need to respect the world of the living and our environment, and the growing urgency to question our way of life. Of course, Thalassa also featured the sea and all types of boats, and I loved that.


Among the boats you could see, there were also monsters, and I chose to paint these ones. I had initially painted a trawler and a sailboat, which, despite their immediate success, left me unsatisfied. There were no others. They were too smooth, too clean, or too romantic, in a way, which I didn’t like. I didn’t want to paint “pretty” boats. Hence the idea of gigantic, dirty, industrial vessels that were perfectly suited for working with texture on larger canvases. Everything I loved.

(I was originally headed for a career in design, and I decided to pursue painting after discovering Antoni Tapiès’s artworks. Texture is essential to me in painting.) As soon as the idea of “Tankers” came to me, I started painting them frantically, and I loved it. Not because of the oil but because I find tankers so much more beautiful than container ships or cruise liners! I find them to have a particular elegance.”


“So, I’ve painted many of these, perhaps too many for it to be merely a pictorial matter.

The real reason I still paint these ships twenty years later, took me some time to understand. It’s not about me extolling oil or a way of life (or one of its symbols) that happily belongs largely to the past. Even if I think these are very beautiful objects, these tankers indeed symbolize just about everything you’re allowed to hate.


However, as powerful, arrogant, and monstrous as they are, there comes a point where they too, transition into fragility and vulnerability. I believe it’s this paradox, the moment when things shift, that touches me. Because deep down, it leads me to more intimate and profound contemplations, shall we say more metaphysical ones. The tankers I paint are worn out, tired. I’ve come to understand that I’m painting vanities, much more than seascapes.


The recurring subjects in my work are the ones that deeply affect me, at the intersection of rather disparate concerns and interests, but they converge at some point. It’s like a mixture that causes a subject to assert itself and take hold. Nevertheless, I never forget that the subject is just a pretext, that it’s about painting,  material on a support, and the main challenge quickly becomes making good art. That’s what I work on the most, but I’m happy to have been able to share a bit more with you, and who knows, perhaps I’ve changed your perspective on these… paintings.”

– Stéphane Joannes

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