Photography by Dave Kaufmann
Standing in the doorway to Jacques Deschamps Derges studio you know that you are about to walk into a room where magic happens. A painting is in progress on an easel in the center of the room illuminated by the soft light coming in through the large window. His painterly tools are close at hand. Not exactly disorganized but a kind of organized chaos. A whimsical painting and an eye exam chart hang on the wall behind the easel. I take the eye test to see how well I’m seeing these days…20/20 not bad. Jacques walks up behind me and I ask him about the eye exam chart. He tells me that he put it up in the hopes that one day…should a patron ever say to him that they didn’t like his work, he could say to them…well, maybe you need to have your eyes checked! To date, he hasn’t been able to use the line.
Across the hall is his personal gallery. It showcases his personal work plus artworks he loves and has collected. Jacques’ work is…thought provoking. It lets you in to how the man himself thinks…which is very interesting indeed. His most provocative works are satirical in nature, where through intricate and none too subtle symbolism he weaves a story that conveys his point of view of the subject at hand. As you study the paintings you begin to realize the deliberate inclusion of every little thing you are seeing. I found them facinating. Whether he is painting a portrait or a street scene or a biblical or political topic, he is a masterful story teller through the visual imagery he creates.
“The Second Coming of Christ on Hollywood and Vine”
seen above… close up detail below
“Winds of War:Bush and Cheney planning the Iraq War in the Oval Office”
“Attack on Macdonalds: Barcelona l987”
…and her companion below
“The Great American Locust”
Photo by Maggie Bill
Jacques career as an artist started In around 1980 when he would visit various restaurants and bars, etc. and do pen and ink sketches of anyone who was willing to pose for him.
From the early 1980’s to the mid 1990’s Jacques’ artistic pursuits took him to Barcelona Spain where he earned his living as a street artist on the sidewalks of Placa Catalunya. A busy square at the top of the oldest gothic part of Barcelona known as “Las Ramblas”. This was cool to find out because I was living in Barcelona in the fall of 1985 working as a professional model and I could have easily past by him and seen him at work all those many years ago. Though for some reason the memories of my time in Spain are on the foggy side. Hmmm Paula…too many late nights at the disco’s perhaps? LOL.. perhaps but no regrets. In a recent facebook comment, Jacque says, “..I would still be a street painter but my knees are no longer up to it!!” Oh, how the ravages of time takes it toll on us all. Damn you Father Time!
Speaking of Father Time…once again he played a part in Jacques’ life calling Jacques back home from Europe to the San Francisco Bay area to take care of his aging parents. During that time Jacques still continued his artistic pursuits and would travel up to San Francisco by train to do his street painting on Market Street in the financial district. He was the first serious street artist they had seen there which attracted the interest of a San Francisco Chronicle reporter who did a front page cover story on him and his street artistry. Oh…and he got to meet the brilliant Stephen Hawking during this time in his life too.
Photo of Jacques and San Francisco Chronicle Reporter courtesy of Jacques Deschamps Derge.
Photo by Paula Boss
After spending a lovely and super fun day with Jacques and his friend Dave Kaufmann and my friend Maggie Bill…it seems to me that Jacques is a content man having lived his life on his own terms. He now resides in Melaque, Mexico living the life of a true working artist…painting EVERY day.
To reach Jacques to find out about available artworks or commissions.
To see more of Jacques and his art.
Facebook: Jacques Derge
(Jacques does commission work, working from photographs if the project interests him.)