Andrew Steiger Editorial Feature
Los Angeles based Andrew Steiger journeyed to Paris for the Tappan Artist Exchange in search of new experiences and perspective. What he discovered was a strong emotional connection with classic masterpieces and the lasting effect that the city would have on his own practice.
“Paris provided me with an opportunity to be still for a very long period of time,” said Steiger. “I never realized what a luxury time could be, or what sat dormant just below the surface of my consciousness.”
While exploring his new home, steeped in rich cultural history, Steiger was introduced to Monet at the Museé d’Orsay. The experience left, in his own words, “A lasting impression. I wasn’t aware that painting could make me feel this way. Completely gutted. In awe. A new allegiance was made then and there, one of gratitude and conviction to find a deeper emotional connection to my own work. To pursue my deepest truths in hopes that someday, I too could give somebody what he gave to me. Reflection. Infinity. Pools of magic that sweep you into its morning song.”
Animal conservation and colonialism are central themes to his work, and Steiger’s time in France also allowed him to delve further into these multifaceted subjects. Visiting the Parc Zoologique and the Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy at the French National Museum of Natural History abounded fruitful new territory in which to examine the point of tension in objectifying wild animals as sculpture. “Violence. Everywhere was the conquest of ‘man’, always with his foot over the lion’s throat. Or with a spear clenched tightly in the serpent. I’m afraid there is a pattern here that is not unique to Paris. But resultantly – it seemed to me that nature was something to be looked at through glass, or it was something enjoyed on the plate.”
The subsequent body of work, titled Wild Horses, delves into these complex themes. “This work is more emotional than it has ever been. Colors from this series feel just like the clawing marks from behind the glass of the barricades at the zoo. Animals that want out,” suggested Steiger.
Overall, the experience solidified the artist’s resolve concerning conservation. “If we want to protect our world, and ensure that our children are able to see up close the wild world that was here long before us – then we need to do a much better job of considering her in our day to day actions.” As a consequence, Steiger spent his first days back in the US visiting Joshua Tree and then on to Colorado, to reconnect with the landscape. “I realized what abundance we have here. I don’t want to take that for granted.”
Martinet & Texereau Editorial Feature
Paris based Martinet & Texereau launched wholeheartedly into their Tappan Artist Exchange experience, voraciously devouring the plethora of inspiration they found themselves immersed in.
Having previously visited LA ten years prior, the artists already recognized the impact that the city could have on their work. From the architecture to the food, the cultural melange of style and tradition would prove to be a bountiful playground for the artists.
“The light is very magical here. Very different from the light of Paris,” they noted. “Paris is blue, white and grey, while Los Angeles is pink and golden. Even though our drawings are in black and white, it impacts our work because our first phase is taking pictures,” they said, speaking to their rigorous joint practice where photography plays a pivotal role.
Initially, the pair began by exploring their surroundings, wandering through local neighborhoods and taking pictures of everyday domesticity. It is within these ordinary scenes that the artists were able to capture moments of uninhibited beauty. “Every single house can be amazing if you see it at a good moment. Sometimes you can walk by a front door, a yard or a street a million times every day. And at one moment you don’t know really why it appears so beautiful to you,” said the duo.
After reviewing these photographs, the artists returned to the studio to begin their methodical process of collaborative sketching and drawing. “Working in a pair is a way for us to get the act of drawing out of its usual solitary imperative, a manner of doing that desecrates the link between the drawing and its craftsman. We like rules, methods, lists. Together our drawings create a non-exhaustive directory of objects, places, and architectures that gives us, in its unfulfilled state, the freedom to expand it as we draw. Seriality and repetition are important aspects of our work.”
Leaving spontaneity aside, Martinet + Texereau’s approach is truly unique. Their innate dialogue is quickly apparent, as they seamlessly share the drawing on each artwork. Watching the page shift between their hands, it becomes difficult to decipher who is responsible for each element. Instead, they seem to mirror each other’s work impeccably, as if one solitary entity.
Reflecting on their experience once they returned to Paris, the duo said, “We already know that Los Angeles will affect our work for a long time. We did our first nighttime drawing, which was something we really wanted to try for a long time. It’s funny to realize that LA, a city with such powerful light, helped us and gave us the opportunity to reach that goal.”
We look forward to sharing the evolution of Martinet & Texereau’s works with you as their practice continues to grow and evolve, drawing inspiration from new environments and experiences.
Articles and short form video first published here. Images via Tappan Collective.