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  • Writer's picturePascal Lagesse

The influences behind the Zafer style

The Zafer style that I have been practicing for many years was not born overnight. I have often been asked where the inspiration behind the style comes from. I've thought about this a lot and could give you a few. First of all, I was greatly influenced by the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh. I have always been impressed by his boldness in his brushstrokes and his choice of colours. Observing the shapes they traced on his canvas, I wondered what a painting would look like where the use of these shapes was simplified to the point of being just geometric patterns. The idea for my style of painting was beginning to take shape.

I was then influenced by Australian First Nations art with its lines and dots. As a child, my grandmother had a calendar on which several of these works were printed. The paintings of Seychelles painter Michael Adams were also an early influence in the creation of the Zafer style. Finally, the influence of landscape artists like Maurice Ménardeau and Roger Charoux is undeniable. They made me want to represent the four corners of my island on canvas.

Those who invent painting styles without any influence are rare and deserve to be called geniuses. I think Vincent Van Gogh is that. Influence is welcome as long as it offers the artist a starting point. From there, the artist has the choice during his life, to freely practice a known style or to work on forging his own style from one or more influences. Both approaches are entirely acceptable as long as they give the painter a certain happiness.

When I started painting my first Zafer paintings, people who knew me didn't understand why I had “deviate” from a classic style to such a different style. Some people even kindly asked me to return to oil painting and abandon this colourful style with no future. It took me 19 years of work before holding my first exhibition during which I revealed 48 Zafer paintings. When you look at my landscapes today, you will see that they have not really changed in terms of drawing. The perspective is still there, but today I like to disguise reality and I offer it much more colourful clothes.

Influences are everywhere and as the Zafer style is always evolving, it is certain that it will change in the years to come. I won't hide the fact that I can't wait to see what my paintings will look like in 20 years if I'm still here.

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