Jean-Paul Setlak is a Franco-American portrait and figure artist. He was born and raised in France and began to draw at an early age; continuing to develop his personal style through the years. He came to the US as a teenager and has lived here since. He has also worked as a musical composer and a professional linguist. He is fluent in multiple languages (including Mandarin and Hindi) and has extensively traveled internationally . He holds degrees in music and literature, two other great avenues of creative expression. He has a beautiful daughter and four grandchildren.
Jean-Paul began meditating at the age of 19 and his focus on spiritual experience and ecstasy has never wavered. It has remained the single organizing logic of his life. Buddhism, Tantrism, Taoism, Hinduism and the Western Mystical Tradition have all deeply influenced his connection to art. At this point in time, his ideal of life is to experience beauty, ecstasy and love with as much abandon as possible. Painting and drawing are a natural extension of this life position since they are celebratory, ceremonial and initiatory. They lead to higher realms of being and reveal them, making them available to all who wish to connect in that way.
As a self-trained artist, he has worked to develop a powerful emotional technique dedicating himself to beauty and its expression for the past three decades. He has studied and explored oil, acrylic and watercolor painting techniques for 30 years, always bringing the new learning into practical expression of beauty and magic on the canvas.
He has been influenced by many great figurative painters, from Caravaggio and La Tour and Vermeer, to Renoir, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Sargent.
The single theme in his work is the magical and mystical expression of transcendent beauty.
“Concepts are always servants of the form. I experience a powerful, need to create a particular picture and feel as if I were removing veils from an already existing creation. Although I paint feminine figures, my primary desire is to express the soul essence of the model: through the eyes, the mouth, and the gestures. Plastic perfection is also important to me since it reveals emotional and spiritual power. Some of the women I paint have tragedy in their eyes, others, joy or wisdom; all are archetypes. Expressing the symbolic is never an abstraction for me; I experience it as a practical magical act.“
Jean-Paul Setlak joined Fine Art America on January 13th, 2007.