For the first of the series “Blotter Artist Interview” I will start by myself. The purpose of these interviews are to allow readers to know more about the artists and blotter art.
- Can you tell us your real name and artist name?
My real name is Erwan Martineau and artist name KOSAPAN
- Date and place of birth?
I’m born in the summer 1972 in France near Paris
- Nationality ?
- What made you choose your artist name ?
Kosa Pan was the surname of Wisuth Sunthon the first ambassador of Siam to France under the reign of kings Louis XIV of France and Somdet Phra Narai of Siam. I was passionate about this time in history and France and Thailand are dear countries in my heart.
- Where do you live now?
After 10 years living in Thailand i’m back in France, more precisely in Brittany since 2012
- Can you tell us about your academic / artistic background ?
I wasn’t really interested in studying , after I graduated from High School in Wisconsin in 1991, I contemplated going to university in France to major in psychology or anthropology, but as the US diploma has no value in France, I would have had to do another year of school so I gave up. I went to learn sound, lights and back line for music concerts and after a few months of not being paid I stopped being a slave and went to Thailand for about 4 months. Then did many small jobs until I decided to work in the movie industry in France and then in Thailand (from 1996 to 2012). Since 2012 I work mostly online, webdesign, graphic design, eCommerce etc and work at night markets in the summer selling jewelry and later on blotter art (until covid came along).
- How and when did you discover blotter art ?
I discovered blotter art around 2013 through the blotterart.com website, it immediately struck me and brought back memories of the early 90’s. I had to get the purple oms, strawberries and bike ride prints to frame and expose in my home. Then as I’m deep into eCommerce I decided to sell blotter art online so I created blotterart.fr. As I had almost no money to invest I used to buy only the sheets that were on sale. Paul Guest was very kind and always threw in several extra premium sheets so I could have more choice in my shop.
- What drew you into creating your own blotter art ?
From the very moment I discovered blotter art, I wanted to create my own art. At first I did print on my home inkjet and used a “pizza roller” to create some art that I would sell at night markets along with Paul’s sheets. But I kind of felt bad about selling low quality prints. At one point in 2018 I made the Lemmy blotter and showed it to Monkey and he told me not to print it myself but instead that he will produce it ” the way it should be done” and give me half of the produced sheets to sell on my site. I was amazed, honored and quite proud that such a blotter master would like my art to the point of producing it for free, and also very proud to have my own art for sale on Paul’s site. That is also when Paul told me that the future of my blotter art journey didn’t reside in selling ready made blotter sheets but in selling my own art or producing for other artists and make original sheets.
- How many blotter art pieces did you make ?
As of today in the summer 2022 I have 7 blotter art designs of my own and produced the “Nemée Lion” design of French artist Striboa.
- Who printed and perforated your pieces then and now ?
All my creations were printed and perforated by Paul “Monkey” Guest. Since his passing I haven’t found any viable solution to print and perf the many designs I still have ready. There are several good blotter masters in the USA with whom I’d love to work, but shipping + import taxes + the eventual customs problems don’t make it viable for me.
- What do you feel makes blotter art a unique art form ?
In my opinion blotter art is about to become a major art form. It is unique in a sense that for many it’s like the ” madeleine de Proust” reminding us of past and cherished times, unique experiences. Also graphically and especially for the vintage pieces, there are codes and rules very unique to it.
- What has blotter art brought to your creative process?
To be honest , as I wasn’t really an artist before I discovered Blotter art, despite painting and drawing for my own pleasure, I can’t say it did anything to my creative process. What can be said is that all the blotter art I created was made on computer entirely and with passion. Also, unlike other art pieces I made in the past, except some portraits I did, with blotter art I really know where I want to go and what the overall end result would be before I even start creating a piece.
- What was your first blotter art creation ?
It was the Lemmy Produced entirely by Paul “Monkey” Guest
- Which blotter art piece you made is your favorite and why?
That is a tough question as I really love them all for different reasons.
If I really have to choose I’d say it’s Queen Alice
- Do you have a blotter art collection besides your own creations? If yes what is your most valuable piece?
Yes I do, you can click to see my blotter art collection, and its growing day by day. My most valuable piece in term of monetary value must be a very rare white Janis Joplin but sentimentally maybe the two Tom Lyttle signed by Tim Leary. I think that my Chocolate Alice by Mc Cloud is also a very rare and thought after piece given the extremely insane amount that a couple of persons proposed me to buy it : but it’s not for sale folks ^_^
- What blotter art piece you didn’t make is your favorite and why?
My favorite of all times is the ” through the looking glass” usually called Alice. No matter which color, I love this blotter art. It’s the very fist design for which I spent a large amount of dollars (it was a large amount for me at the time) and also the story behind it, if I recall right, is that Mark Mc Cloud made it because one of the busts the DEA did against him was called “operation looking glass” ( this is what I recall but to be confirmed)
- Which other blotter artist do you like/admire?
WOW! there are so many ! I love the art of Ciaran Shaman as it has a special place in my heart . He is the first artist from whom I bought blotter art directly and he was so kind and generous. But there are several other that I really admire, so many truly talented artists that I could not name them all here.
- From a collector stand point, vintage vs vanity?
Vintage all the way, but its tougher and tougher to find good vintage sheets that are not overpriced. anyway there are already “vintage vanity” out there lol. Both are collectible.
- What is your opinion about people tearing up blotter art to sell shards or so called “minis”?
I won’t elaborate much, many people know how I’m anal about this question . For me it’s vandalism to tear up a perfect sheet to make profit on overpriced shards. I admit that I have a few shards for sell on my site but they all come from reject sheets I bought from Paul, and other sheets that I received in very bad shape (it happens sometimes).
- Do you have a website where you sell your blotter art ? If not where can people buy your creations?
- Any other favorite site you would like our readers to check out?
Blotterbarn.com for very high quality photo posters of vintage blotter art… quality is AMAZING !
- Anything blotter art related you would like to add?
There are so many things to be said about blotter art that it would be too long. I must say that my ultimate dream at the moment is to make a big blotter art exhibition in France where I would expose my whole collection, maybe invite other artists also. But I havent found the place yet. If you own a gallery or a place that could host the exhibition anywhere in France you are more than welcome to contact me.