Raphaël Renaud

"Shangai, échangeur", Raphaël Renaud (2006)

Born in Blois, central France, in 1974, Raphaël Renaud discovered his love of drawing and painting young. After studying to be a graphic artist in advertising, he attended the School of Fine Arts, first in Montpellier, then in Paris. In 2003, he won the Paris Academy of Fine Arts prize for Drawing. Raphaël Renaud has a deep admiration for contemporary German artists such as Gerhard Richter, who works a lot with photography, Matthias Weischer, and also the photographer-architect-aviator Alex McLean. Raphaël Renaud has exhibited in many art exhibitions in France and other countries.

You have painted a picture for the Colas Foundation. Were you familiar with the world of roads previously?

It so happens that the road is one of my favorite subjects and I’m delighted to think that the Colas Foundation collection travels all over the world. I love movement, the idea that every road is part of a central nervous system that leads to somewhere else – in my pictures, a vanishing point that leads to the unknown. My visit to the Colas Campus for Science and Techniques really fascinated me. Surrounded by mixes of oil and water, we inhabit the same universe, more craftsmanlike for the painter and more technological for the researcher.

Your latest pictures are of urban landscapes, “city snapshots”…

I’m fascinated by cities: so many minuscule dots – dwellings, vehicles, people, streets, crossroads – which, once they are all together on the canvas, form a coherent whole. Each element is part of an ensemble, vital to the final composition, just like a biological circuit. Roads and streets join up the dots, the central nervous system of complete urbanization. Light itself becomes a shape, which becomes part of the life of the town.

What is the source of your inspiration?

Although I was born in the country, I am resolutely urban. Moscow, Tokyo, Paris of course, Athens and the big American cities – I like to travel a lot with my camera ready to shoot. In this way I store up impressions. I work more with light than with color I also like to get up high, observe and photograph cities from above, guided by the landmarks constituted by roads and streets.

Download the pdf