“Everything is linked to the Little Mermaid”. With this as his starting point, the French artist Matthias Garcia navigates with his fine lines and seeping watercolors fairy tale worlds charged with eroticism and melancholy. Read today’s interview to learn more about his unique style, creative approaches, and love for mermaids.

How would you describe the process of creating your artwork? Your palette is dreamy and you use very petite lines in some of your works. Does it have any particular meaning in your work?

The process of creating my drawings on paper could be described as a flirtation between my hand and the paper. I love to touch and use both its sides. I do the drawing on one side and the color on the other, and then I can choose which is the one I will continue to work on to be the final one. If my colors are dreamy, it is because they seep through from the other side. For the lines, I do them petite because I love how sharp thin dark lines can be and how they can show the dance of my hand, as I never erase anything or even draw with a pencil before using ink. I am also very mannered, so the lines reflect my personality.

The characters you portray sometimes look sad and give some sort of melancholic feeling. Are the scenes and characters based purely on your imagination, or are there any narrative or story-based characters?

All my characters are a tribute to the Little Mermaid of Hans Christian Andersen, even if they are not directly mermaids; each one expresses a feeling of what I perceive of the tale, as I see the whole world through this story. If they are melancholic, it is obviously because the Little Mermaid is very melancholic, or maybe just I am.

Can you tell us more about the themes you depict? Your paintings carry names such as Doll Sphinx, Atlas Complex or Heart Eater, and many lean into these floral–human, doll-like characters.

As I have just mentioned, everything is linked to the Little Mermaid, but sometimes at a greater distance, so nobody but me can see this connection. Working from this base makes me often go more far into the world of fairy tales or legends, and I grab what I love in this first tale and that I found in other stories. For example, the flower-girls I draw are always just earth-based versions of the little mermaid, as they are flowers trapped between being half girl and half plant. Each character who is not directly a mermaid is here to express a type of personality that the Little Mermaid or mermaids have.

Which artist inspires you at the moment? Are there any interesting movements or galleries we should follow?

I am inspired by fairy tale drawings, for example from Arthur Rackham or Helen Stratton, and a painter I have a love affair with is Unica Zurn et Foujita – you can see why i do petite lines – and I love Mark Ryden too, for the narrative power of his images.

Our current theme is “Full of Desire”. So, I’d like to ask you what is your dream goal, or what do you desire for yourself as an artist right now, and what would be the ultimate success that you would like to achieve?

Actually, my ultimate desire would be to be able to create, sometime in the future, a mermaid museum in Paris with a room for temporary shows, a permanent collection, a cinema, a restaurant, and a room for conferences about mermaids. I’m very serious 🙂 

Finally, are you currently preparing any new exhibitions or projects we can look forward to?

Yes, I’m making big paintings specially for the art fair Paris with Galerie Sultana and it will be at the end of October.

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Matthias Garcia (b. 1994) lives and works in Paris. In 2020 he earned his MFA from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

His recent solo exhibitions include: LISTE Art Fair with Galerie Sultana (Basel, CH 2021); ‘Fakelores’, Galerie Sultana (Paris, FR 2021); ‘J’ai beau garder les yeux grands écarquillé’, Ecole nationale des Beaux-Arts (Paris, FR 2020); ‘Tous mes fleurs’, Fleurs Sauvage, (Paris, FR 2019); and ‘Sombre Printemps’, KG gallery (Tokyo, Japan 2018).


Artwork /Matthias Garcia @galilanguille

Represented by Matthias Garcia

Interview /  Markéta Kosinová @__maarketa__

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