Michel Chatenay Transforms Walls into Fantasy Art and Lets the Imagination Run Wild; Local Artist Masters a Unique Art Technique That's a Trick of the Trade

The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia), August 8, 2009 | Go to article overview

Michel Chatenay Transforms Walls into Fantasy Art and Lets the Imagination Run Wild; Local Artist Masters a Unique Art Technique That's a Trick of the Trade


THE words "Trompe l'oeil", so named in the Baroque period, are French and translate as "to trick the eye". It is an art form that when painted onto a flat surface such as a wall tricks the eye into seeing an image that does not, in reality, exist.

The French mastered this unusual technique and images rendered in the trompe l'oeil style tended to be realistic and three dimensional. This art form has the capacity to transform a basic, drab wall space into a room that opens visually onto a magnificent garden, a view of spectacular seaside cliffs and beaches or a door that opens to reveal a staircase that leads to who knows where? The only limitation is the artist's imagination.

Newly arrived to Lennox Head is Michel Chatenay. Michel is an accomplished artist, writer and skilled disciple of trompe l'oeil and murals. Michel has just returned from a six-month sabbatical in Cape York where he studied indigenous rock art galleries. In his last days in Cooktown Michel entered and won three categories in the local community art exhibition.

"The indigenous rock art galleries in Cape York and Quinkan Country are rated in the top 10 rock art galleries in the world. They represent possibly some 20,000 years of living history," said Michel.

Prior to Cape York Michel also spent considerable time in Luxor, Egypt, again researching the murals of ancient Egypt. He dressed as a local to be able to travel unhindered in places tourists tend not to venture.

"Egyptian wall art is intriguing. …

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