Published on August 11th, 2018 | by Laurence de Valmy0
Vincent Faudemer, creator of Babolex on its way to conquer contemporary art
Vincent Faudemer is the creator of Babolex, a series of chrome sculptures, inspired by Babar, wearing a Rolex on the wrist. The artist, who’s a fan of Jeff Koons, acknowledges his influence. Vincent Faudemer started to communicate on his creation through Art Majeur.com and on social networks and got an almost immediate success, quite unexpected by the artist who embarked on the adventure to have fun and send a message to some people looking at contemporary art with contempt. In a few months, the Babolex has been spotted by stars, got sold to a hundred of early collectors and will be exhibited in September at Monte Carlo Gala and at the Plaza Athénée in Paris.
But who is the artist behind these friendly pachyderms dressed in Gucci or Dior? A 32 years old French from Normandy, who made a career in business and who got into art at first through the role of collector. This self-taught artist is still amazed by his new status and keeps his feet on the ground while savoring the experience.
His work and his success raise interesting questions, which are at the origin of the creation of his series: what is an artist? What is art? What explains the success of a work or its value? Questions, whose answers vary according to the people and the times and which no doubt, will continue to be widely discussed.
What is your background and how did you get inspired for your Babolex series?
I have an entrepreneurial background. I created startups in import export of toys and that led me to meet some Parisian art merchants with whom I sympathized. This brought me to become more interested in art and I have now been collecting for 10 years, both art and watches. I sometimes heard that contemporary art was “art content pour rien” a wordplay with “Art Contemporain” which can be translated as “art happy for nothing”. Since I had the need to create and express myself, I thought it would be fun to create an object with the most possible value. At the same time, my son was watching a Babar cartoon and as it happens I’m passionate about elephants, it’s my favorite animal. This animal is the bearer of many symbols, such as the struggle for the preservation of species. By the way, I systematically return a percentage of each sale to associations to fight for the preservation of fauna and flora. On the other hand, I’m a fan of Jeff Koons, so I got the idea to create the Babolex a silver chrome sculpture with a Rolex, so no one could say it was worthless!
How did you start communicating about your works?
Early in March, I put my works on Art Majeur. The editorial team put my Pink Babolex at the top of their selection for 3 weeks and I got a lot of views. They even contacted me to find out where the Babolex could be seen. I also posted photos on Instagram and was surprised to be contacted by the Kardashian family manager and then by other celebrities and galleries. Everything happened really fast. It’s fun to have people wondering where I come from, whether I did an MFA or what my artistic influences are. I am a collector, I had an idea and I created it.
How do you explain the success of your sculptures?
There are several factors I believe. First of all, sculpture is in high demand from galleries I am in contact with. Then, it turns out that the character of the elephant speaks to different cultures: the Indians see Ganesh in it, the Chinese think that the green color brings prosperity, the crown evokes Basquiat to others… I ended up with something full of symbols, that people relate to. In addition, I brought a novelty by introducing crypto currencies in the purchase of the work (ed. the logo of Babolex start with the same B than the Bitcoin symbol). When people buy one of my sculptures, I place 10% of the price of the work in crypto currencies. When this placement reaches the original price of the work, I reimburse the gallery that can repay his client: it’s art-back. This helps reward customers who have supported my work. It has attracted some fans of crypto currencies but others of my collectors are not at all sensitive to this aspect. So it’s a set of several things…
What do you like most about this new adventure?
The creation fascinates me and I am proud that the public appreciates my Babolex. The contemporary art market is often reserved to happy few who sometimes despise works perceived as too mainstream. Andy Warhol was a commercial designer before making a career in art and despite the controversy, Pop Art is one of the strongest artistic concepts. Recognition of my work is important to me because I don’t do it for the money. I succeeded professionally as an entrepreneur and wanted something else in my life. I do not hide that I appreciate the feedbacks of the public. Knowing that people buy my works is flattering. This new career also allows me to discover a new environment with interesting people and brings me to travel for my events … I went from being a collector to an artist. It’s still a little unreal because it’s very sudden. We’ll see where all this will lead me. In the meantime I embrace the experience thoroughly.
What are your projects for the coming months?
There are many events in preparation: the upcoming ones will be the Monte Carlo Gala for the Ocean of The Prince Albert of Monaco Foundation with Leonardo Di Caprio (September 26), and the Fashion Spirit Exhibition at the Plaza Athénée (September 21 to November 14) with different sculptures dressed with various luxury brands inside the hotel and a giant Babolex outside, on Avenue Montaigne. I am also thrilled to announce that the Galeries Bartoux will represent my work. I’m having a hard time believing everything that is happening to me but fortunately I have an 18 months old son so it allows me to keep my feet on the ground!