Richard Orlinski, a man with art in his soul

Inspired by cubism and Art Deco, Orlinski’s works speak to people everywhere. We spoke to the most popular French contemporary artist in 2015.

"I aim to produce an immediate emotional response." With creations such as a red resin King Kong, an aluminium lacework tiger, and revisited blue jeans and stilettos, Richard Orlinski loves to stray from the beaten path. Inspired by cubism and his love for Art Deco, his works speak to people everywhere. We spoke to the most popular French contemporary artist in 2015.


There are no age limits or boundaries when it comes to creation. This is all the more true for Orlinski who only rose to fame in his forties. And yet his love of art dates back to early childhood, when he already modelled figures of animals from clay, terracotta or plasticine. "When it came to expressing myself, everything was fair game. The pleasure and the sense of well-being that it gave me transported me to another world." Another world in which the sculptor now immerses the general public with modesty and enthusiasm.


Won over by the artist's talent, Barrière lent him its support by exhibiting his work. "It is the first with which I have had the chance to work, with an initial installation at the Cannes Film Festival and then one during the Deauville American Film Festival. Having my art liked by Sharon Stone and George Lucas also gave me an extra boost."


Riding the wave of success


Resin, aluminium, stone or bronze, shiny or matt, transparent or opaque, bright colours or grey monotone: Orlinski loves all materials and all shades. One of his main aims is to surprise, an emotion which he experienced himself after the success of his first exhibition at the Saint-Tropez Galerie des Lices in 2005. "Twenty sculptures were sold in the first month. I was more surprised than anyone! I could have contented myself with riding the wave of this initial success, but I decided to create more and more."


In 2015, one of his works was sold at auction for the sum of €740,000. Although propelled into the pole position of French contemporary artists, Orlinski didn't lose his modesty. The artist still constantly strives to surprise and amaze. "If it [the work] takes you away from your everyday life – if only for a matter of seconds – then I feel as if I have won."


The heart of a child


Since the age of 4, Richard Orlinski has loved to sculpt. At the time, he would give his creations to his school teachers in order to "win their affection" – which was one way of standing out from his classmates. As a teenager, his hobby cut him off from his friends. "Sculpture isn't very rock 'n' roll at that age."


But his passion grew stronger with time. Orlinski reconnected with it around the age of 20. The young artist received a long classical education before going on to work in real estate, then event planning. Soon the time had come to start a family, which was a priority for the artist. "I surrounded myself with children very early on. I have four of them; I love them." But sculpture soon began to emerge as his true calling in life.


For the passers-by


For Orlinski, art is only worthwhile if it is shared. Championing the principle of "art accessible to all", the sculptor is committed to ensuring that his works can be seen by the general public. "In 2015, I created an installation of Kong, my gorilla, on the patio of a private company. But I only agreed to it on condition that they let me put it facing the road, where people were walking past."


Orlinski also demonstrates this philosophy of sharing by devoting himself to a number of charities. The sale of one of his works for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which makes dreams come true for sick children, allowed the purchase of 30,000 vaccines. "It's the kind of action that fills me with joy and gives my work an added meaning." He also regularly goes to meet the children in hospital. He has one heartfelt message in mind: create in order to start afresh.

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