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28 maart 2021 | Nieuws

The Piket Art Prizes in times of corona (51): Julien Guettab

Theatre makers, actors, visual artists, and dancers are much affected by government measures to keep the corona virus under control. What is the impact of these measures on the young (former) nominees and winners of the Piket Art Prizes? Part 51: Julien Guettab, 2017 winner in the Painting category.

A whole new direction

The Covid-19 pandemic has inspired Julien to take a whole new direction. Having moved back to Paris, he has enrolled as a law student. “I started studying law in order to become a lawyer,” Julien explains. “The courses are very difficult and mix politics and law. It is very far from the art field, but it’s worth it. The pandemic made me realise how helpless people can be without any legal knowledge, especially poor people, unemployed persons or refugees. With this new skill, I hope to bring justice and help people as much as I can.”
At the time, the attention of the Piket Art Prizes’ Jury was, amongst others, attracted by Julien’s interest in old books and encyclopedic knowledge, his fascination with the detailed illustrations reflecting how people saw the world. “Surprisingly,” he says, “being involved in law is not that far from my artistic practice. There is my connection with details and book research, which is actually close to the legal practice.”

Being independent

Despite Julien’s evident enthusiasm for the new field he is currently exploring, he has no intention of giving up painting. “I continued creating,” Julien says. “In 2019, I was selected by Hermès to create a new scarf. Unfortunately, this project didn’t succeed, but I loved the experience.” Being able to balance studies and art is very much a matter of time management. “For now, I don’t have time to paint, as I work on legal problems and political science for some thirteen hours each day. It’s extreme, but I love it. On the other hand, I can’t wait for the academic year to end and I’m able to paint again! We have a three months’ break, thank God.” Julien has not lost his sense of artistic autonomy. “So when I don’t study law, I continue creating. I like to be independent and to paint whatever I want.”

Photographs of Julien’s design for Hermès.
© Julien Guettab

Main picture: Hessel Waalewijn
Text: Anna Beerens