Arts & Affairs Features

Meet Madison Avenue’s Genre-Crossing Artist, Patrick Rubenstein

Photo courtesy of Dugay Domininque and Claire Dassonval

Carlton Fine Arts on Madison Avenue held a solo exhibition featuring the works of Patrick Rubenstein, a Paris-born artist who draws themes from both the present and the past. Pieces highlighted in this exhibition were “Multi Perfume,” “La Dimension du Luxe” from 2022, “Nuages Fuji” from 2022 and “BB Soleil” from 2022. Rubinstein presents his viewer with the futuristic at the intersection of multiple art avenues. Throughout this Rubenstein interview, we learned his inspirations, motives and why he left the fashion industry.

What got you into art? When did you first know you wanted to be an artist?

There are many reasons why I became what I am today. My memories bring me back to childhood, of course. My story begins very early in Paris, and more specifically in Saint-Germain-des-Prés where I grew up. On my way to school, I used to walk past art galleries. There were plenty in the area at the time. I used to stop in front of their windows to admire the artwork on display. It was a real visual experience! I think it helped shape my eye and feed my love of art.

What makes your art stand out?

It’s motion, obviously kineticism! I took up the accordion principle that my father taught me when I was a teenager and developed it later on a large scale. Unlike most kinetic artists who essentially explored abstraction, I developed my own personal world, inspired by Pop Art and figurative art. Color is also fundamental for me: it’s what makes a painting stand out for me and it’s a chromatic jubilation. I like bold colors, colors that describe the elements of the composition in a vibrant way. I don’t want to confine myself to one particular style. What I like about my work is being free to explore different worlds inspired by pop culture, surrealism, geometric abstraction, cinema and music. What also sets my work apart is its versatility, but the common thread is always kineticism.

What is your favorite piece of art you’ve created?

It’s difficult to answer because there are so many, but I have a particular affection for the very first kinetic artwork I made when I was 17. It’s a portrait of my two cousins, which hangs in my studio in Paris. I’m very proud of it, because without it, everything that’s being achieved today would never have happened.

How/when do you do your best work?

I have my feet firmly on the ground but I’m still a great dreamer. I’m constantly drawing in my head, even when I’m doing sports. I also talk a lot with my wife and my two daughters, who are architects, and I always ask for their advice.

What inspires you?

I draw my inspiration from life, encounters, everyday life, music, museum visits and the artists I admire.

What other artists inspire you?

Leonard de Vinci and Charli Chaplin.

Did you have any doubts about becoming an artist?

I’ve never asked myself that question. I don’t even realize that I’m an artist. For me, it’s completely natural, spontaneous.

Why did you leave the fashion industry?

The decision was obvious: it was time to turn the page on fashion and devote myself fully to artistic creation.

Was there a specific point in time that made you decide to switch?

It was after my father died that I remembered what he taught me when I was still a teenager. It was he who introduced me to the principle of kineticism. So, I took a decision that would radically change my life: to devote myself entirely to creating kinetic artwork.

Does your childhood/where you’re from influence your art?

I grew up in a family with a mother who was passionate about cinema and a father who was an avant-garde and multi-talented artist who excelled at painting. Creativity and ingenuity were valued in our home. When it came to art, I was deeply influenced by the masters of Op art, the pioneers of kineticism: Vassarely, Cruz Diez and Yaacov Agam, as well as the masters of American Pop art: Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Keith Haring.

How did you experiment with light to add to your art?

It was primarily a desire to beautify my work and give it a new dimension. It’s a professional deformation that is rooted in my background in fashion and my taste for ornamentation. Today, I’m pursuing this same approach by working with several materials that reflect light: gold and glitter. Gold, of course, with its power to transform light, elevates the artwork to another dimension. It adds golden reflections and creates natural variations in light that alter the visual perception of the artwork according to its intensity.

Do you enjoy what you do?

Creating art allows me to express myself, explore my creativity and engage with the world in a unique and meaningful way. The process of bringing an idea to life through my mediums brings me joy and a sense of fulfillment. It’s a form of self-expression that allows me to communicate and connect with others on a deeper level. Art is a constant source of inspiration and a means of personal growth for me.