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Meet the Artist: Richard Orlinski

Meet the Artist: Richard Orlinski

It can be a challenge to catch Richard Orlinski. It's not out of rudeness, but because he's jetting around the world, bouncing between his own galleries, collaborating closely with Disney and Hublot, putting installations on mountains, producing EDM and trying his hand at immersive theatre. The Parisian is a busy fellow.

A long-time admirer of pop art scions Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol, Orlinski turned to a career as a sculptor in 2005, after a lifetime of what he describes as being "soaked in pop culture". It paid off, as he's become internationally recognised for his gigantic sculptures of wild beasts: King Kong-inspired gorillas, screeching wild cats, the occasional bird, Pac-Man. (Google it, it definitely happened.) Before a recent in-store presentation at FLANNELS' London flagship, Style News reached out to find more about the man and his animal nature.

Tatiana Holbrook wearing ROTATE SS20
Tatiana Holbrook wearing ROTATE SS20

What drives you to make art? 

My most important goal is to provoke an immediate emotion in both adults and children. To make that happen, what is better than animals? I always felt very close to wild animals, they are true and they don’t hide. So it always seemed as an evidence to make animals the origin of my work.

Nature and animals are what makes me the most interested. I have a lot of inspiration, but in my sculptures, my main goal is to make the space into the most wonderful place possible on Earth.

What was the process of deciding on animals as a recurring theme?

I have always been attracted to wild animals. I remember very well, the moment I had a kind of love at first sight for creation. At school, when the other little boys used to fight, I would prefer to create small terracotta animals. I was only 4 years old when my teacher called local TV to come and discover my little sculptures. But growing up, I ended up choosing a more steady job before  becoming an artist.

You started working as an artist in 2004. What was it like making that switch in your career?

My first steps in the art world were very complicated. I didn’t come from the establishment. I remember when I was going to dinners where I hardly dared to say what I was doing. No matter the difficulties, I always wanted to aim for the moon. You have to set goals, that’s what allows you to move forward. In most universes, money is king! In art, there is also the ego.

Tatiana Holbrook wearing ROTATE SS20 collection
Tatiana Holbrook wearing ROTATE SS20 collection

What does it mean to you to have a permanent gallery space in London?

It is a pleasure to be part of the London life that is so influential in the art world. You know, the world is moving so fast that we don’t know what we can expect of tomorrow. However, there are certain things that are not dying, London is one of them. It is a city so alive: in term of culture, tradition and innovation, that opening a gallery in this wonderful place is a way to create a pillar to my work.

You've worked closely with Hublot for a few years now. What drew you to Hublot when you became their creative partner?

I’m a real watch lover. I collect them since my childhood. The idea of collaborating with a brand as prestigious as Hublot immediately pleased me. From the beginning, I gave my own vision and the result was very fluid between. Hublot for me, it’s above all a meeting with [brand CEO] Jean-Claude Biver. On the artistic aide, we are really on the same mood. Hublot likes to push the limits. The fusion of our two worlds, that of Maison Hublot which shapes precious materials and imagines exceptional products, and mine have been exercised in an extremely spontaneous, almost natural way!

You continue to make music alongside your art career. Is being inspired to make music different from being inspired to create sculptures?

Not at all! I think that when we have an artistic sensibility we can express it in any way: music, dance, performance, design, etc. I like to build bridges between different worlds. The most important thing for me is to arouse immediate emotion and to share my universe with as many people as possible.