About the Artist
Emmanuelle Tournois, a bold and eclectic artist, likes to experiment by trying fresh styles. This is how her interest in graffiti brought her to work with Drag one, a Parisian graffiti artist. Their worlds centered around a subject enabling them to meet: the portrait of rappers. Urban writing and hyper realist oil painting merge in their technical demands in the representation, to offer a mixture both luscious and explosive.
"I believe it is more difficult to make people smile and dream,” says Emmanuelle, “than to make them feel sad.” So it comes as little surprise that her paintings, done mostly in oils and spray paints, are infused with a playful spirit. Depicting subjects that range from jazz masters to present-day rappers, she combines an ability to capture the personalities of the musicians in her images with a style that moves them into a mythic realm. She places each figure in a space that translates an artistic signature into physical form, giving her images the status of icons.
In addition to her distinctive use of perspective and composition, Zay also exhibits a strong eye for color. Contrasting shades create a dynamic sense of space, while softly muted tones combine in dreamlike backgrounds, making each image as much a study in pattern and texture as a portrait. “I am proud to be a self-taught person in the arts,” she says. “Nobody told me what to do, or not do.” That sense of freedom and individuality comes across powerfully in her work."