Joaquin Lemaitre alias FORTUNE HUNTER is a self-taught artist, born in Dortmund, Germany and raised in La Paz, Bolivia.
He moved to Montreal, Canada for his undergraduate studies at Concordia University, where he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering.
His current work explores the multifaceted human condition by portraying elements of the pop culture and natural world in unique settings and realities that are strongly affiliated with the subconscious. He currently resides and works in Stuttgart, Germany.
Read our interview with the artist below.
Août: You are a self-taught painter. Could you tell us more about your background and your learning experience?
FH: As a matter of fact, the path of becoming a painter has not strictly been a traditional one, as I have studied something completely different. However, I started drawing when I was kid, learning the basics from my mother who’s an artist herself and later on I also took some drawing lessons, which introduced to the more technical part of it. During my studies, I would draw from time to time but I never really shared my drawings or pursued this any further. It was not until my final years as a student that I got reconnected with the art world in a much deeper level. The arising urban art movement, with artists such as BLU and the Montreal- based multi-artist collective EN MASSE, truly fascinated me and became a huge source of inspiration. Some years later, I started doing black-and-white drawings and murals, which was the birth of my artistic career, I guess. Over the years, I deliberately started using more color in my works, for which I had to get familiar with new mediums and painting techniques. At the time, I did not really see myself as a painter, as I was not always obtaining the results I wanted. The learning process was thus a rather slow and iterative one. Switching to oil paint about four years ago felt like a natural step and it offered me tremendous flexibility when it comes to texture, depth, blending, etc.
Août: Your artworks are comprised of miscellaneous everyday objects [tennis ball, empty vase, chess piece…], placed in muted almost abstract surroundings. What is the symbolism behind the mundanity of these items and the unique settings they’re positioned in?
FH: I like to think of these ordinary objects as actors or protagonists that help to convey a certain message and emotion in my works. I often disassociate them from their traditional meaning and use them in intriguing, mysterious and sometimes absurd contexts, thus forging new realities for them. The environments I use can be thought of visual representations of the unique and partly abstract settings of a dream, memory or thought. They are therefore inherently connected with the subconscious.
Août: Could you elaborate on your exploration of the human condition through your creations?
FH: I like to think that my art practice is a way of engaging with an uncharted reality of the self, which lingers back and forth between the physical world and the subconscious. I believe that our multifaceted human experience unfolds and manifests somewhere between these two universes. For this reason, I am interested in finding a common ground between the status quo and the seemingly impossible to grant the possibility of new discourse.
Août: Your upcoming show at Août is entitled “The Hand of Curiosity”, which is the namesake of one the artworks you’ll be exposing.
Could you tell us why you chose this title and what is represents?
FH: Curiosity is a fundamental part in my creative process, particularly when I am brainstorming and discerning new ideas. I am normally willing to paint something that I have not painted before. In a way, the title thus represents the constant search of the unexplored and the condition of endless possibilities. Curiosity was a common denominator behind the conceptual inception of all works included in this exhibition. The fact that we do most things with our hands, motivated me to title it “The Hand of Curiosity”, for it takes a hand to transform a thought into something physically tangible.
May 25, 2022
May 25, 2022