Mon, 02 January 2023
Arnaud Rothfuss is one of Bahrain’s most talented professional artists, whose work has been commissioned both publicly and privately. Most impressively, his incredible creations have been displayed in various galleries and this month, his work will be exhibited in Paris for the first time. Kristian Harrison caught up with him ahead of this momentous occasion.
Arnaud, 36, has always had an affinity for the ‘middle east’. This is the region of France he hails from, specifically the city of Besançon, and eight years ago he made Bahrain his home.
Initially an employee of an interior design company, for the last three years he has been a full-time artist in partnership with Marylou, another famous French artist in the Kingdom. Their work incorporates a variety of techniques, from street art to fine art, painted on various surfaces; walls, canvasses, wood and fabric. In fact, chances are you’ve seen one of their spectacular live performances during Bahrain’s festivals and celebrations.
Arnaud always believed he was meant to be an artist. “Drawing and painting have been a part of my life since I was five years old, so you can say I consider myself a kind of ‘Artddicted’,” he says.
“I began sketching comic books and Japanese manga characters in school; after a while, I turned my attention to drawing landscapes and portraits, and after that I became interested in hip-hop culture and graffiti.
“In my early 20s, I started creating amateur illustrations as a hobby which soon evolved into a passion once I started using spray paint, and taking Marylou’s example, I came to realise that it is possible to pursue our passions professionally.”
Arnaud’s exhibition is his first outside of the Middle East, and it is even more special being in his native France. It began on December 28 at the Legacy Store Paris, located at the luxury Hotel Barrière Fouquet on the iconic Champs-Elysées, and will run throughout January.
Legacy Store Paris’ display windows are home to some of the most coveted and cutting-edge creations in the markets of technology, lifestyle, fashion and art. The exhibition, which he labels as “an incredible honour,” will be a representation of the originality and creativity of the store and includes a series of unique paintings done on wood, canvas and fabric, which thematically diversify well-known characters with a humorous touch.
Many of the pieces were influenced by Arnaud’s experiences in Bahrain. “My art is largely influenced by a mix of my adopted Khaleeji culture and my European heritage,” he argues.
“To me, art is ultimately about opening up the world to infinite possibilities. I believe that the merging of cultures is the future – it inspires unique art, such as my painting of the traditional ghutra with a twist.
“This is actually my all-time favourite as the process and finish is a unique piece of art.”
As for the future, Arnaud has started doing customised paintings on sneakers and will soon be launching his own dedicated website.
For now, you can check out his amazing work and art videos on Instagram @rn2on, and you can see some of his public-commissioned works throughout the island.