International artist Frédéric Daty’s new 'Les Yeux Noirs' collection explores the limitless meaning that can be conveyed through a single glance. After a lifetime spent observing actors in independent films from around the world, his haunting portraits of Hollywood greats seek to capture the looks that touch us every day.

History and Background

Frédéric was born in 1970 in Lyon, France, and grew up in the coastal region of Brittany. After graduating from the Brassart art school in Tours, he worked in advertising for 15 years before abandoning the Parisian lifestyle and flying to North America to explore his artistic vision. He then opened an art space in Ottawa, where he began to develop his art; first painting, and then focusing on metalwork. 

Now based in Chartres, France, his striking steel creations are exhibited throughout Europe and further afield. 

Ideas and Inspirations

As a high school student, Frédéric delved into the world of independent and foreign language films. Hiding at the back of his local cinema, he often found himself alone, silently observing actors from around the world. 

Then one Tuesday afternoon in 1987, he watched an Italian film named Oci Ciorne (Dark Eyes). This Nikita Mikhalkov adaptation of a Chekhov novel changed young Frédéric's life forever.

He notes: "Walking out of the cinema, I realised I had fallen in love with Elena Safonova's unforgettable gaze and the limitless messages hidden behind those eyes. Her gaze piercing the eyes of her audience, communicating an end point which opens up towards an infinite universe of possibilities."

Frédéric's passion for honesty within his pieces is reflected by his choice of medium. He chooses to work with steel due to its raw, primal quality. The light and shadows play an essential role in his art, as the light animates the metal and plays with it, changing the colour and giving the impression of constant evolvement, movement and life. 

Through his portraits of Hollywood greats like Audrey Hepburn and Charlize Theron, Frédéric hopes to create a bond with the viewer, stating: "There are those looks that touch us, seemingly imprint on us, evoking impression of déjà vu, a soft emotional thrill or even discomfort. What I am interested in is not creating the face, but the connection created between those eyes and mine." 

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