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29 Oct 2013

Power in Paint: Girard Louis Drouillard's Works Meld Strength and Spirituality

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Drouillard's studio. Drouillard's studio. Courtesy of Girard Louis Drouillard

Girard Louis Drouillard's paintings are powerful. Strong. Dramatic. He strives to create drama and power in his compositions—while instilling a Zen-like quality at the same time.

He creates art that is aesthetically pleasing, mentally provocative and spiritually challenging. His primary focus is not aesthetics, but metaphysics, philosophy and spirituality.

“Each of my paintings has a common formula where black is ever-present. This is a suggestion of the negative that exists all around us,” he recently told me.

He uses reds as well as silvers and metallic hues—but never more than two primary colors in his palette. Organic and industrial materials are often blended into his canvas—which is now made of wood, as he’s creating large, box-like structures simply to hold the sometimes-heavy compositions.

I was admiring one of these structure-paintings as it was being prepared for its final coat of varnish. I noticed something that looked and felt like concrete below the metallic paint.

“Well, yes, it is,” he said. “Often times, I use it to create a certain impermeable texture. I also utilize auto paints for those metallic colors.”

When I visited his studio in Palm Desert, I encountered dozens of paintings being “processed.” In some ways, it looked as much like a body shop as a studio, with precision equipment at the ready.

“Sometimes I work all through the night. It depends on my mood and inspiration to create,” he said. “I loathe decorative art, because it lacks soul.”

He indeed strives to create the soul in his works. “They have dimensional qualities evoking Zen and Osho, derivative of Eastern spiritual beliefs that have been prevalent in my life since day one,” he said. “Many of my colleagues attempt to portray a political statement in their work. I have no political statements whatsoever. I like to portray a spiritual ideology in my work.”

Ironically, Girard’s first degree was in international government. He attended Oxford with an intent to work in international law and affairs. Upon obtaining his degree in 1974, he became an intern in the British House of Commons. He later left Great Britain to return to the U.S. and enroll in Georgetown Law School, preparing himself for a career in international law.

However, he was becoming disillusioned by government. He yearned for something “more.”

Fate stepped in when he met a professor who inspired him to attend the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design. It was a life-changing experience; he graduated from there in 1981. A year later, he relocated to Southern California.

Of course, an artists’ first years as a professional are rarely easy.

“I worked for Disney as an art consultant for four years until 1988, when I participated in a show at the New York Expo that same year,” he said.

That's when he hit the big time; six international publishers approached him, Girard said. Reproductions of his works were sold to major players among the Fortune 500. He eventually made his way to Asia, where he became a star in the art world there.

“I spent four years in China,” he said. “… When I returned to California, I was visited four times by Chinese government officials from Beijing (trying) to lure me back to teach the Western principals of modern art.”

Today, Girard maintains studios here and in Tampa, Fla., but a majority of his clients are from Europe and Asia. His works have been shown in more than 100 galleries the world over in the last 30 years.

As for the future?

“Ideally, I would like to settle in Provence or a similar place in Europe. But not in Asia.” Ironically, art-lovers in Asia are most accepting of his works; his strokes evoke calligraphic symbols and are often admired for their serene, Zen-like soulfulness.

Girard is a highly intelligent artist who creates from his soul. View his works at Drouillardfineart.com

Below: "Chill'in."

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