The Euro Tour: Year 1

Last year The Euro Tour was created to showcase 20 specially selected Little Van Gogh artists internationally. Three UK artists were chosen to take part in the four year touring exhibition set to make stops in France, Germany, Belgium and the UK.

The three UK artists taking part are Yaheya Pasha, Julian St Clair and Sonia Villiers.

This month we come to the end of the first year of the Euro Tour and each of our artists will now have their work moved to a new country, ready for the next leg of the exhibition.

Yaheya is a cutting edge equine artist based in London and her expressive collection of horses has been exhibited in Belgium over the last year. Her hallmark use of dazzling colour is the first thing to hit you when you look at her work and her style packs a psychedelic punch, so how was it received?

We asked Sebastien, head of Little Van Gogh in Belgium and Luxembourg. 

“Yaheya’s work is really refreshing. The horse is a very traditional subject and it’s great to see it painted in such an unconventional way”

Yaheya’s work was an instant hit with animal lovers. Her first exhibition was at the offices of a global distributer of animal products and she received praise for the accuracy of the anatomy of the horses and the precision of their postures.

As an artist of Indian heritage, it’s exciting that Yaheya had two month exhibition at the State Bank of India. Yaheya’s colour palette is largely influenced by her Indian background and her Indian grandfather was a keen horseman and polo player.

Julian St Clair lives and works in St Ives and takes inspiration from the world of advertising and popular culture. He works in bold colours to create flat, painted collages of a mix of everyday and iconic objects associated with the ‘golden age’ of pop culture.   

We caught up with Remy, head of exhibitions at Little Van Gogh France where Julian’s work started the Euro Tour.

Remy tells us that although some of the specific British references (such as Humbug sweets) may have been lost on a French audience, they are no strangers to Julian’s graphic style.

“French artists such as Bernard Rancillac and Gérard Fromanger come to mind,” says Remy, “Julian’s work feels very much inspired by the anti-consumer movements of the 1960’s and there is currently a real affection for objects that inspire nostalgia.”

Julian’s work got a reaction wherever it went, even perplexing a few people along the way.

When we asked Remy how he felt about exhibiting Julian’s work he told us this, “Julian’s work is unpretentious and direct. His message is emotional, funny, at times sarcastic and it’s all of these elements in combination that make his work a pleasure to exhibit.”

Sonia Villiers is a Cambridge based artist and her collection of European landmarks was also on tour in Paris. Remy explained, “Sonia deforms landscapes and architecture. Her style is uninhibited and brightly coloured.” He describes looking at her work, “like looking through a fish eye lens. It gives her compositions a whimsical feel that I really like.”

Sonia’s collection pays homage to many well-known cities around the continent including London, Cambridge, Amsterdam and Paris. We asked Remy whether people recognised the places and whether there were any favourites:

“Of course! People loved the playful almost clichéd elements that Sonia puts in her paintings; the Eiffel Tower seen from the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the bicycles in Amsterdam and the gondolas in Venice. They’re all instantly recognisable, even the graduate balls at the Oxbridge universities.”

Sonia exhibited at a range of different venues including a hedge fund, bank and beauty brand.

Remy told us the reaction was often a lively one, “I witnessed Parisians having a lot of fun recognising La Place George Pompidou and La Place Edmond Michelet with all its’ cafes and restaurants.”

The Euro Tour is set to continue with Yaheya’s work now travelling to Paris, and Sonia and Julian’s to Brussels.