Many of us mourned the loss of travel over the pandemic, a chance to wander through a favourite city, enjoying the ambience and people-watching. For artist Charlie French, fond memories of Paris inspired a new series of paintings, which are now on show at Fair Shot Café in London.
An abstract painter originally from the United States, Charlie French is now based in London with his family after travelling the world and exhibiting internationally. His new collection of paintings, Morning in Paris, was painted during lockdown, and reflects on his trips to Paris with his family before the global pandemic crisis. Each work is vivid and colourful, perhaps hinting at the sunlight reflecting off the Arc de Triomphe or the water ripples on the Seine. For Charlie, it's one of Paris's most famous landmarks that sparked the series – perhaps the most famous cathedral globally, characterised by its classic French Gothic architecture and a frequent star on stage and screen.
"I have travelled to Paris many times, and I especially love Notre Dame," Charlie tells Creative Boom. "When I paint this series, I turn on the soundtrack from Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame and just let go. I developed this series during Covid and in lockdown at my studio in Dallas, and it is one of my favourites. It is a big fan favourite too. I hope you like it!"
The works are on display until 7 June 2022 at Fair Shot in Mayfair. The social enterprise café provides training and employment opportunities for young adults with learning disabilities, like Charlie, who has Down's syndrome. The space on South Molton Street launched in 2021, and 80% of its staff have a learning disability. Fair Shot provides training in hospitality skills through its annual trainee programme, places trainees in paid employment and creates jobs through its employer partner network. Earlier this year, Fair Shot founder Bianca Tavella was awarded a Points of Light award for her services to charity by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
"What an honour to present Charlie's work in our first flagship café in London," says Bianca. "We are delighted to be collaborating with such an accomplished artist. He is an inspiration to the entire team at Fair Shot. He truly demonstrates the many ways young people with learning disabilities can contribute fully and equally in all walks of society today."
Morning in Paris by Charlie French is on show until 7 June 2022 at the Fair Shot Café in Mayfair, London. To find out more about the artist, visit justcharliefrench.org.