Géraldine Allard: Artist of the Dreamer and the Parisian Playground

When you look toward the night sky, connect-the-dot elements cause the searcher to dream - especially the youngest among us, those with a lifetime to explore.

Planets, asteroids, galaxies and the myriad of stellar objects reveal themselves to you as you seek the darkest corners of the night. It may take a lifetime to realize the dreams first seen in the stars, first seen as a child, but I’ve been fortunate to make the acquaintance of a Parisian artist who has made it her lifelong ambition to capture those dreams on canvas, seen through the eyes of a child passerby.

Garagiste has a passion for the discovery of underground culture, not just wine or food (although they often go and in hand). When I come across something special, something of note that moves the local color in a direction previously unseen, unheard or "untasted," we need to pay attention. Some of my fondest discoveries around the world have little to do with wine, rather they embody a chance to grab a fleeting wisp of time understood and presented by people who tell a tale, people that are the story themselves. Whether it's the Mustard King, Honey Man or any number of artisans, this group of individuals has nothing to do with the vinous chase but everything to do with what makes the world so alluring – the creative and undeterred pursuit of one’s artistic dream – the same dream that keeps the spirit of Garagiste alive every day when I wake up in the morning.

On most days, I'm inspired to present that dream in a bottle of wine but, today, it is on the canvas...literally.

With great admiration, I present a Parisian pioneer with a voice and brushstroke all her own – Géraldine Allard, a woman who captures a moment of time through a child's eyes. With newsprint, paint and a fish-eye view of Paris neatly captured in colors that allure (see here). Her images appear to be simple on the surface, but there is genius hiding under the surface that requires more than a casual glance.

In a city rarely associated with its youngest members, Allard gives a chance meeting with the smallest set a place in time immortal – the newsprint background she purposely uses often has a symbolic reference to cultural mayhem or significance on the day she observed the soon to be painted image. Paris is a city (like New York) that’s been reborn by its youngest citizens - strollers are now everywhere (just like on 73rd and Columbus) which breeds a sense of community and calm missing for decades. Youth culture used to mean one thing (punk rock, Slackers, Grunge), now it’s traversed all the way back to age 4 or 5 and it signifies where both cites are circa 2010, just like Monet’s unique vision of Paris circa 1890.

While I'm not comparing Monet to Allard (that would be ridiculous), too often artists forget the time and space they are living in until a movement is ordained and named for them decades or centuries later. Allard gives us a snapshot of what life is like in Paris in year 2010 and it is as timely and cognizant as it is fresh and inspiring.

So, what about the art?

Mme Allard has agreed to produce an original series for Garagiste, the first time her work will be in the US (her decision was made easier over a bottle of 1990 Pegau). She explained to me last summer that she had decided on Garagiste as her window to the North American art lover due to our symbiotic philosophy of supporting the undiscovered and the "not-so-important." She thinks of her art as giving back to the society that allows her to conduct a trade forged of passion...sound familiar?

Fresh off a sold out show at The Bon Marché where Géraldine's work took command of an entire wall (one by one her paintings were snapped up by adoring fans from around the world who were fortunate to tote a few home to Brazil, London, Shanghai or Sydney), you will have a chance to obtain similar original works created, painted and signed with an original inscription for you. She is in the process of completing the “Garagiste” series that began in the early summer of 2010 and it should be complete next week (see link below for a chance to order up to three of them).

Timeless, full of life and inspiration, the world of Géraldine Allard comes alive for us today - directly from her moment in Parisian time to you...

Happy Holidays!

- Jon Rimmerman