The kindest thing you can say to Jerome Soimaud is “thank you!” And thanks to a sensibility steeped in exploring the subconscious, Jerome brings an approach that is all at once subliminal and daring.

Whether it’s bringing us along as he infiltrates the depths of fringe communities or cajoling the imagination with laser attention to details, the French-born artist makes it his business to stir lingering inquisitiveness. You might be right to call it a contradiction, but he would have it no other way.

meet the artist.

“It’s the contradiction that creates the conversations,” he says, all the while insisting his work is perhaps less about art and more about humanity.

And if you expect some run-of-the-mill response when you ask him to define art, you might find his answer a bit esoteric when he tells you, without pause: “Art is freedom; freedom is art. Every free person is an artist but not every artist is free.”

 

The kindest thing you can say to Jerome Soimaud is “thank you!” And thanks to a sensibility steeped in exploring the subconscious, Jerome brings an approach that is all at once subliminal and daring.

Whether it’s bringing us along as he infiltrates the depths of fringe communities or cajoling the imagination with laser attention to details, the French-born artist makes it his business to stir lingering inquisitiveness. You might be right to call it a contradiction, but he would have it no other way.

meet the artist.

“It’s the contradiction that creates the conversations,” he says, all the while insisting his work is perhaps less about art and more about humanity.

And if you expect some run-of-the-mill response when you ask him to define art, you might find his answer a bit esoteric when he tells you, without pause: “Art is freedom; freedom is art. Every free person is an artist but not every artist is free.”

press.

Digital Library of the Caribbean

 

Perhaps an even more apt question, as posed by Gustav Courbet in his writings, is “Can Art Be Taught?” A student of the Courbet school of thought, Jerome will tell you, “As soon as you talk about teaching art, you create dogma, and as soon as you create dogma you impose limits. Or it comes off as wanting to influence inspiration, or influence sensitivity, which is the antithesis of being an artist, hence the antagonistic nature of teaching art.”

Indeed, the contradiction of being in front of youngsters is not necessarily to teach art but to reveal the artist versus locking them in the confines of a philosophy, according to Jerome. Teaching, if you will, therefore takes on the role of being a conductor, a mind setter, to drive inspiration rather than promote doctrine.

“You cannot teach people to become commodity as they inevitably become robots which spells the end of art. My goal is to reveal the eye because everyone has a different eye and you train the eye to recognize the soul.”

For the self-taught master of variant media, it is critical to understand the context of art as it is the history that forms the chain that links souls, making it necessary to position oneself in the story of art, in the history. If you don’t know what was before, it’s almost impossible to appreciate what is today or visualize what is tomorrow.

Just as it is necessary to infuse love, perhaps the omnipresent ingredient that no one has if he or she doesn’t get ‘trained’. Artists are inherent lovers who magically possess the soul of a kid. And it’s that love that separates the artist from mortals, giving rise to dedication, perseverance, reward, and again love.

“I want kids to feel that yes, they might be on a difficult road but it’s one that is extremely rewarding as a human being because we come in this life to find our soul.”  The goal of teaching, as far as you can, is to get them to understand what they can get out of their talent.

You don’t grade art.  You chart progress and dedication, you assess disposition. It’s less about accomplishment and more about will power. It’s learning from the mistakes, which if you don’t make mistakes, you don’t learn.

And with three decades of practice as his ‘teacher,’ Jerome has an innate ability to not only spot mistakes but maybe more important to uncover attitudes and mindsets. Just as he believes technique is hardly taught but uncovered as everyone has a different technique which comes naturally from learning from mistakes.

Perhaps his most cherished accomplishment to date is preparing his 14-year-old daughter for audition to DASH. A ballet dancer with no art experience, Jerome guided her through the principles and intricacies of basic techniques in a mere two months, leading to her successful admission to one of the US’ leading art and design high schools.

But even with acclaim, like Courbet, Jerome is cognizant that though an artist must belong to his or her time, he or she might never be recognized by contemporaries—or in his or her lifetime.

© 2019 Jerome Soimaud

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