- We know you worked and became friends with Coluche. Can you tell us how you met him and what this relationship brought you?
One night, after my first show in Paris, a journalist took me to Coluche’s house. There were parties every night at his house. I arrived around 1.30 AM, and many people were there already, famous people, actors, musicians, celebrities. A few hours later, Coluche came to me, asking me who I was. We talked a little. I knew nothing about show business and he gave me some tips and precious advice.
Sometime later, Veronica, Coluche’s spouse came to see me backstage of one of my concerts in the suburbs of Paris to tell me that she loved the show. I was about to hit the road back to Nancy when she suggested that I could eventually sleep at their house. On this occasion, I met Coluche once again, and shortly after he asked me to share the scene of a theater where he would be playing in the early evening. I agreed.
That evening, after he left the stage, it was my turn. The room emptied in part, nevertheless, someone named Jean Henri Meunier stayed. Jean Henri Meunier would later introduce me to Chris Blackwell.
Indirectly, Coluche changed my life. For a few years after that, I continued to visit Coluche’s family every time I was in Paris, and I often slept at their home.
- Once you said: « Things have a meaning, things have a shape. Design is the meaning of the shape. » You have designed watches, shoes, and other objects, and you now expose at Dunes with the work of Richard Shemtov. What is your relation with the design industry?
I believe that Art is a proposal. Art is a raw expression of the sentimental power; Art is an unsolved riddle. The work of craftsmen is a know-how: a work of mastery under control. A designer has a map in his head, he knows where he goes. A designer redoes his draft until he reaches the image of his dream.
Expressing his uncontrolled emotions, an artist is motivated by a flow of contrary ideas. Most of the time, his message is not clear. The artist does not exactly know what he wants; he relieves himself of his feelings.
Designers have a certain sense of organization. They drive their aesthetic with a specific purpose in mind, they ‘re like the communicators who vehicles special meanings, with a pre-concerted idea of their goal.
When I draw objects, (watches, shoes or whatever) which must be executed by others, by machines or in series, then I have to condense my thoughts. A design must be both obvious and labeled.
- The New Yorker lifestyle can be very stressful and challenging. You work a lot and do not sleep much. You travel, you perform with full energy, you write, you always have a bunch of projects going on. This lifestyle is very demanding and tiring, so what do you do when you need to relax?
As you say this New-York stress has a strong hold on me. I love it as much as I hate it. Like a drug, you’re addicted to it. Not easy to say, take it or leave it! When I’m not in this effervescence, I feel guilty. I fear of missing something. I spent too much time dreaming of it. In France, sometimes, it takes months to come to a final decision, and I suffered from these delays. Now I’m under pressure, but I chose it. I’m on a wire; I have no security belt. I climb on my bare feet but I don’t look back.
I’m just too scared to stop, paralyzed on the steep face. When I slow down, I feel that all I do might be useless. When you act, you’re in a train that you must feed constantly. When I ask myself: why do I make all this ?…then I can become upset.
My job is as heavy and deep as it is light and trivial. Art is a speculation of love and hate. It’s a gambling. I’m excited like any gamblers.
When I do nothing, my mind gets tangled. Knots appear in the threads, and it freezes the trigger. I lose my clairvoyance and my objectivity.
To relax outdoor, I might play tennis, (nothing’s better for me to clear up my brain), exercise my body in many ways, walk in the streets at night, (visit the Apple store after midnight), go to a museum, go fishing on a boat, take a plane to somewhere “beachy”, have a BBQ party with some lazy cool local friends.
To relax indoor, nothing better than: make love, play cards with some friends, read magazines, surf on the net, cross your hands or go to the synagogue, watch silly programs on TV. But sometimes it’s not enough. I fall asleep rarely before 2.30 AM.
If sleep does not come when I’m spiritually flooded, sometimes my last chance to relax is to complete crosswords, and loose myself in a well of silence.
CharlElie, February 12th, 2012 – from New York, NY.
Did you know CharlElie composed the entire soundtrack of five-time César Award winning movie Tchao Pantin (1983)?
Nominated for best music, Tchao Pantin was directed by Claude Berri and is still considered one of the most influential French movies ever.
The famous former French comedian Coluche (1944-1986) – winner of the best actor award for his part – plays the main character in the movie, Lambert, a burned-out case who works the night shift at a gas station, rarely speaking, living alone and drinking.