Yvan Genest in an international artist traveling between Montreal, Paris and Vallarta – his three homes, where his art is much appreciated. This tall, gentle-natured man created his first exhibit in 1976, at Galeria La Chamade in Rennes, France, having spent more than 30 years devoted to painting.
Eight years later his reputation followed him to Montreal, where he exhibited at the Galerie Au Coin des Artistes. In the mid 90’s his work was introduced to Vallarta and ever since he has been one of the main artists of the Vallarta Art Scene.
“Long before I painted, I sketched, anywhere, everywhere, even in the classroom. It was my first real way of expression, even when I wrote or played music for a living. In my teens, I worked as a singer in variety of venues throughout Paris, just before diving into the world of colors. When I returned to my native country, I decided to paint and literally knocked on every door to create opportunities for myself.”
In this way he started to walk the path that led him to his contemporary style. Today, his paintings reflect his view of the image of the soul. “I am a Fashion Designer for the spirit, I simply dress the soul,” he says.
His experiences with different cities, other people and their customs are reflected is his paintings – airplanes, fish, trips, people. Faces take on a special importance in Genest’s works, whether they be devils, kings or cardinals; that is where the expressions of the human soul manifest and define themselves. In Mexico he is particularly inspired by the freedom he finds in Mexican crafts and the colorful life here.
Yvan is a very interesting, unpretentious, and easy going gentleman. When talking with him it becomes clear that painting is not simply something he does; it is his way of being in the world – a way of communicating what he experiences in an effort to reach out and touch us in a profound way.
He will tell you that he was greatly influenced by expressionism of different periods, such as Francis Bacon, Picasso, Satin and Chagall. “For me, the important thing is simplicity, not the complicated. I walk down the street, by a door or a dog; something will motivate me and I paint it,” he says.
Yvan has an incredible sense for color. His paintings are bright and cheerful, all combined with sense of freedom and fun. Even if you do not understand them, you want to see more of his paintings and are compelled to purchase one. In Paris, one writer described Yvan’s work as ” … spicy, very hot taste that lingers in your head, your heart and your soul, even past the first exciting bite.”
Note: “City Memories,” one of his many expositions which was shown in Montreal, had lots of success and brought 8 radio interviews and TV Talk Shows. Many of these paintings are in movies and TV series.