1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am a young software engineer working in the simulation area yet with a somewhat marked specialization in real-time 3D graphics as time passes. Which can explain why apart from original collecting art, I'm also strongly interested by stuff done by digital colorists, who work with many of the same tools as the 2D- and 3D- graphic artists I work with, yet doing quite different things with it.
I was born in the northeast of France but currently live because of job constraints in the south of the hexagonal country, a climate I can hardly bear!
The hobbies that since my teenage have always granted me the most pleasure are billiards and chess. But for four or five years now, thanks to one very skilled player colleague, I'm playing squash too with the physical training it supposes, attending a few local competitions.
2. Which is your favorite piece in your gallery and why?
Ha ha I don't like this question! I sincerely believe I'm unable to answer this, for I really think I enjoy all of my arts equally. Thinking about it loud to give you a clue anyway, I believe I will always be dearly attached to my very first original piece of all, the lovely Fairy in Roses by Al Rio. But for you to pickup one preview to attach next to my silly answers, give me a second to flip a coin or spin a bottle... bottle is better. Oh, the result just gave winner my Lisa Shannon commission by Al Rio! Not bad, it's a quite significant piece indeed...
As you can say if you have a glance at my gallery, I'm definitely really hooked by ladies. Since my teenage I've always been fascinated by pinups, in the classical sense of the term I mean. You know the paintings by Harry Ekman, Al Buell, Joyce Ballantyne, Vaughan Bass, Jay Scott Pike, the formidable Gil Elvgren, leaving out dozens of them? Discovering the universe of American modern comics three or four years back from now, I was amazed at how damn cool lead female comic characters could be depicted by the amazing comic artists, especially in late/modern issues! I must say I'm desperately under the charm of the beautiful and fierce (or, on the contrary, adorable) ladies depicted with black and white lines, may them be pencilled or inked. I sometimes like to say to buddies asking me about this strange addiction I'm kind of doing a PhD on ladies in American comics.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
Quite recently I'm afraid compared to most of the monstrous collectors there are on CAF! You know I wasn't addicted to comic strips in my youth (bandes dessinées, as we call them in French, even if for us it refers to wider format and thicker comic albums physically than your softcover comic books in the United States)! Sure, I read and appreciated the well known Asterix, Lucky Luke, and Spirou Magazine stories, which are classics over here, but comic albums reading was really a far occasional hobby to me.
What pointed me towards comic strips again was the curiosity I had when discovering on the web that a character I singularly know and appreciate, Miss Lara Croft (I purchased and finished off all of the Tomb Raider video games, yet being far from being an applied gamer apart of that believe me, because of a friend who transmitted the virus of the TR series to me), had her adventures ported into comics.
My curiosity of course immediately led me to discover Andy Park, Randy Green, and (because of the Tomb Raider crossover with the Witchblade series) Michael Turner, whose style literally made me fall from my chair!! Instantly, I wanted to see more of this so visually attractive kind of stuff and quite naturally became aware - roughly ten years after my buddies in the States - of the Top Cow and early Aspen universes, which stays even now my favorite #1 stuff. I also noted very noticeable material in the Chaos comics and Glass House/Avatar issues for example, penciled by Al Rio, Ivan Reis, or Mike Deodato Jr. I obviously began buying comic issues of interest on eBay, the easiest means to acquire comics overseas, English reading being totally okay to me.
I purchased my first piece of original comic art in late 2007, taking the risk of quite shyly contacting Terry Maltos about Rio originals acquisition. I guess this very easy first experience gave me the courage (you know, when you're not used to...) to contact other artists I liked through their agent, and eventually directly through official or comic-dedicated websites. You know being here in France forces me to do alot of things on remote, by email or chats, which is a pretty uneasy way to chase for original gems!
But I must really say I was totally flabbergasted by the kind and easy contact, and the positive result you can get with comic artists if you introduce yourself with well-considered reasons and motivated propositions. I would never have imagined that and truly entered a magical world! Even if I'm more or less trying to keep this expensive hobby under global control, not being too foolish - which can too easily happen!
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
I really try to take the maximum care of the originals I'm lucky to have in my custody in the best possible ways. I keep 95% of my arts in acid free Itoya Art Portfolio multi-ring binders I specially bought from them, and I have 2 arts framed - I like to hang nice Rio examples, aside a few Silvestri and Turner LE prints.
This is apparently a common place among original art collectors if I read well the previous CAF newsletters. For framing and matting, I fortunately know a painter living near to my parents' place I go from time to time, who is also making and selling professional frames for photos, lithographs and paintings. I usually commission custom made frames to him.
Don't yell at me, I very often yet carefully open my Itoyas to enjoy the art, they're not locked up for months in their drawer. To me it's such a joy and a privilege to own these unique gems. To appreciate full size and details principally: in hand, an original will always bear details lost even in professional reproductions and provide an impression unattainable even with the highest quality scans.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
Well, here are a few arts placed on my "You can ever dream, son" list, to provide kind of a steady answer. Either these would most probably be priced way beyond my means or not available for sale. This hobby is really quite expensive, remember?
In no particular order:
(1) Witchblade Deluxe Collected Edition, by Michael Turner (featuring Sara, who the hell owns this??)
Don't sure this is the proper denomination for it was used on more than one Witchblade/Wizard issues if I'm correct.
(2) Soulfire #0 pp.11-12, by Michael Turner (featuring Grace, the purest lines in the Universe!)
Michael Turner definitely was and is the best in depicting sad expression on characters!
(3) Tomb Raider/Witchblade #01 p.03 by Michael Turner (the very first comics-borrowed picture I saw when I was "born" to the comic universe four years ago and an unforgettable Lara splash)
Frank is perfectly right to intent to keep it with the whole book.
(4) Lady Death "Death Guard", by Jim Balent (so excellent depiction hahaha)
Very probably a keeper piece to Jim...
(5) Second Thoughts, by Gil Elvgren (my favorite painting of his with "The Wrong Nail")
I know he wasn't involved in the comic business. I'd love to own one nice original art from him!
But generally I'd really like to continue to gather originals coming from issues I already managed to acquire one or two pages, to possibly someday own the full book. I'm thinking about Al Rio's Exposure: Prelude (aka Special) and Billy Tan's Tomb Raider/Darkness issues. Plus the pieces in my want list, which I'm pretty confident minus the Turner's with patience I will be able to acquire, and onto 'My favorites' sub-galleries. Who knows? Totally unexpectedly in the past year I managed to be transmitted two by cool owners who have had them for a long time. This favorite galleries feature is really on cool stuff on the website.
I would like to take benefit from the occasion to say again an immense "thank you” and "you're the best" to the CAF team.
This website is an incomparable place to:
- "register" in a way one's own acquisitions
- look for one's information where might be cherished and long thought after pieces
- getting in contact with professional illustrators
Thanks so much for CAF creation and maintenance! Bill rules!!
View Christophe Médard's Gallery