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Analysis of Boo ! from Thomas Agrinier


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Making analysis of the painting Boo ! from Thomas Agrinier


> more info on Thomas Agrinier



Thomas’ paintings are optimistic, playful and they sometimes remind us of school kid jokes ; all inspired by the cinema, comics and music, they make us dream and smile. A world seen through a child’s eyes. Characters amputated or deformed by movement evolve on very elaborate backgrounds.


Boo ! (Bouh ! is the title in french) is typical of his 2011 production in which the painting becomes a freeze frame of a narration that can be freely interpreted.










Thomas Agrinier : Bouh !, oil, 2011, 190x170
(courtesy Thomas Agrinier)


dream to reality transposed on the canvas

 the desire :

this painting titled Boo ! is part of a long playful series. It also comes from a desire : "I’ve been wanting to paint water for a long time while keeping in touch with this direction of behaviour and the game".

In general, the creative process is gradual, composed of parts that are not necessarily consecutive.


images search :

among the numerous images accumulated in the studio -freeze frames of film or documentary- "I look for those that are close to the theme of water and movement". All these images have affinities, and they lead to a playful scene located in an idealized nature.



cover of Strange Magazin, june 1981
Chris Ofili photo
waterfall model
abtract from film Down by Law
Life 1956




assembly :

the component selection is done, Chris Ofili’s fall into water must be completed by the presence of other actors to create a narrative : "so I invented the character that sticks his tongue out. The girl watching in the background will create the depth of field in the picture in contrast with the two main figures".



The elements of the scene are then set by a drawing which positions all of them in the space of the canvas, and confirms the dimensions : 190 x 170 cm






canvas studies :

the positioning study is completed by studies of the figures, which are drawings of the highest quality. On the last sketch, elements of style are added and then the girl in the background (clic=zoom on some pictures)







Thomas always makes an oil study to see how his pictorial language applies to the main character >>






creation of the picture :

from left to right :



> the main characters are placed on the canvas, elements of style included

> as the background is set up, a new element of style is inserted : the rocks, their diagonal direction emphasizes Chris’ fall effect

> the actress and the waterfall are added, the clothes have been given substance but the shirt with polka dots, a little strong, will be softened



On the definitive version, the vegetation in the back becomes thicker, the plant on the right appears and emphasizes the foreground formed by the rock : the painting deepens. The water and the clothes are achieved. Chris’ right hand triples to show the fast movement to cushion his fall. The Walt Disney-like hand becomes a garish blue, showing that it is only a game !


so, after 5 weeks of work, including 3 on the canvas, the painting is baptised “Boo !”






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