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Christophe Jannin's Original Digital

Mon 29 Aug 2011 In: Hall of Fame View at Wayback View at NDHA

Christophe Jannin As rugby fans flock to Eden Park for the first Rugby World Cup game they will be confronted by a burly, ball carrier, which is artist Christophe Jannin's take on the New Zealand rugby player. The French artist who calls New Zealand home after following his heart Downunder has his latest exhibition opening at Mt Eden's The Digital Darkroom on Friday 19 August. Entitled Original Digital, it showcases a range of his work which is mostly created through a process of traditional hand sketching followed up with a digital colouring technique. Being a ‘bear’ (read hairy and cuddly gay man) himself means the bear culture comes through strongly in his work, which while often bold and masculine, also has touches of feminine and is always full of symbolism and surprise. One of the feature works of the exhibition is entitled Balloon Ovale, which translates to oval ball, and is of a hairy and beefy rugby player. “Why do you think I’m watching the rugby games?” he laughs. “Let’s face it, I think a lot of gay guys are watching rugby games not for the game, but for the players. The drawing I’ve done is showing that most rugby players, they are closer to what people are. Well, not when you look at the All Blacks who are all athletes and don’t have an inch of fat of them. But I wanted to show with this drawing that ‘hey guys, playing rugby doesn’t mean that you have to be Hercules to look like an athlete, you can look like you and me’,” he explains. “And chunky guys are better, especially for rugby.” The work is a tribute to New Zealand. Jannin loves seeing people look at his work for the first time. “Sometimes people can see what I’ve never seen,” he says. “Some of my friends will look at something and say ‘I like this drawing because you wanted to say … and I say okay, maybe it must have been subconscious. It shows your drawings are yours an artist only when you’re doing them is why your drawings are yours only when you’re doing them. When you’re showing them it’s finished. They’re not yours anymore.” The artist is the subject of the first ever full-length film to be produced by Auckland gay film-making charity Number 8 Films, which follows him in New Zealand and across to France. The documentary project is well-underway and is set to be released next year. Being the subject of a documentary is a novel experience for the artist. “I’m used to having people interested in my work,” he explains. “But having people interested in me, it’s like, wow-wee,” he laughs modestly. “I didn’t think my life would ever be the subject of a movie.” You can read more about Jannin on GayNZ.com. His Original Digital exhibition is at The Digital Darkroom, 273 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden, Auckland and runs through until September 11.     Jacqui Stanford - 29th August 2011

Credit: Jacqui Stanford

First published: Monday, 29th August 2011 - 10:50am

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