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Cathy Deniset is a French, Dubai-based full-time artist who started painting in the late ’90s. She learned painting in Paris under the tutelage of renowned artist Christoff Debuschere and had already honed her skills by the time she arrived in Dubai in the late 2000s.
Building on her numerous years of practice Cathy is now excelling not only in representing cars and motorbikes – her historical favourites! – but also portraits, and increasingly abstract works.
Cathy’s Sheikhs series
Passionate about the Emirates where she resides, Cathy wanted with humility to honour its leaders.
“Their personalities are such that my brushes have tried to translate my distinguished feelings in relation to each one of them”, she says.
“Sheikh Zayed regretted but still extremely present among all of us, is painted in sepia tones calling the past up, lifted with gold and highlighted with a parma tint, evoking wisdom and mysticism;
Sheikh Khalifa has been pictured very traditionally with the mixed colours of the national flag, with a touch of yellow ocher for more reality;
Sheikh Mohammed is undoubtedly more serene than nature. I wanted to lighten his thoughts and bring a hint of fantasy in his expression;
His son Sheikh Hamdan was for me a controlled release. His youth and his enthusiasm allowed me to dare bright colours to translate his mastery and passion for life while respecting his features and volumes;
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed is still a relatively discreet sheikh, therefore I reserved the soft "black and white" to him … until perhaps I get a chance to know him better?
Sheikh Nahyan with his deliciously malicious eyes had to be painted in deep, luminous tones bearing a few touches of bold colours.”
Cars and motorbikes
Cathy’s passion for cars and motorbikes stems from her family environment, her father in particular, who himself was a car lover. He would buy new cars regularly while Cathy’s brothers would teach her to recognize the different sounds made by a Suzuki versus a Kawasaki, or by a BMW versus a Honda. As soon as she got her motorcycle license, she bought a small 125 Honda to cross the Parisian pavements, and never lost her passion.
Cathy’s car and motorbike painting are mostly realists, however, she freely plays with light and other elements to superimpose the car’s personality, as she perceives it, on top of her very convincing realist representation.
“The most important thing that inspires me is light. Light on any items: the reflection of the sun or the contrast of a backlight. First, I take pictures of this magical moment: when something is speaking to me; when I feel it; when the car is telling me something. I know then that one day it will become a painting. And it’s generally with the first photo I have taken.
I like to find my models on the street because they are in the real world: natural light and the sound. Often I’m disappointed with showrooms or motor shows because the cars all say the same thing: ”look at me, buy me”. Yes, they are still beautiful, but there’s nothing else there. No inspiration.
Racecars speak to me too. They are like athletes, all performance and concentration, and matter-of-fact. And I like classic cars, with their sleek lines and soft pretention. There are kindness and gentility that’s always there with them”.