Written by: Eva Levy and Sierra M. Bretz
Lionel Borla. Lover of the Mediterranean and zealot of beauty and freedom. Painter, muralist, writer, author, and photographer. Creator of works masterfully fused with color, with stylized and symbolic compositions that breathe harmony into the spaces they occupy. One would say that Borla’s work is a mirror reflection of the man himself: versatile, curious, explorative, and captivating. Meet Lionel Borla…
Born in 1974 and living in Marseille, Borla is an accomplished artist who has exhibited his works in major cities around the world. Borla’s works are enjoyed by collectors internationally, from New York and Paris, to Shanghai and Barcelona.
Always an artist, Borla began creating at a young age. He has always had that “good pencil stroke”…but he never formally trained to draw, it just came naturally to him. While he has since pursued his passion for painting, contemporary architecture continues to inspire him. Borla enjoys how architecture mingles “the precision of measurements and the creative aspect of shapes and materials.”
For Borla, his work is a harmonious composition, receiving inspiration from many sources. In order to create art, he must consume art…in all its forms.
His inspiration includes both music and the written word. Words are a significant part of his work, for Borla “being a painter is as literary as it is graphic.” Recently, Borla, in partnership with photographer Hugues Charrier, published Echos Cézanniens, a book offering a dual artistic perspective on Paul Cézanne’s journey in Provence.
As for music, for Borla, it is another art form for which he is endlessly curious. Borla learned to play the piano as a teenager, and now, music is also an important part of his creation process…a part of his ritual, the structure he needs to create. “I’ve always painted where I lived. I like to have everything around me, my music, my books… I don’t have a strict rhythm though. It’s about feeling it, sometimes it’s as soon as I wake up, sometimes during the night.” Does he have a specific genre he prefers? Not necessarily. According to Borla, “I can listen to Debussy, Daft Punks, techno music…there’s not one style that I enjoy more than another.”
Beyond being multitalented, if we were to choose one word to describe Borla it would be: curiosity. Curiosity for life, people, and places. Curiosity for all art forms. Both at home and in his travels, he consumes as much art as he can with an open and explorative mind, and this is what feeds Borla’s creativity.
A few other quirky facts about Borla:
Borla is a lover of city-life. Even if his work is filled with representations of nature, it’s in cities that Borla finds his fuel. Exploring cities is one of his main hobbies; he adores discovering a new town by foot, as he recently did in Milan.
Borla is heavily influenced by creators of days past. This includes Albert Camus, French author of the 1950’s, born in Algeria, whose work was tinted with this passion for Mediterranean landscape. Borla also nurtures his passion for the 1860’s artistic era. “Painters like Henri Matisse, musicians like Debussy, André Suarès in literature…I’m really passionate about this period.”
Borla, in addition to his art, participates in film and television. Being on set allows him to meet new people from other circles, which again feeds his curious nature and appetite for new experiences.
Want to experience the joie de vivre through the art of Lionel Borla? View his works in our gallery!
Lionel’s book, Echos Cézanniens, which is sure to please, can be purchased in bookstores in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille, or online at Le Bleuet in Banon (http://www.lebleuet.fr/).