Jak Espi was born in Salon de Provence on December 10, 1966.
He lives and works in Pelissanne, Provence.
Jak’s father was a carpenter. The craftsman, working alongside his wife, made furniture and designed kitchens. His childhood tells us much about his development as an artist. As a boy, Jak Espi spent his time playing in the family’s furniture workshop, amongst countless tools and carpentry materials.
As an artist, he would end up combining this culture of surface area, the modern object, storage and finish with a passion for illustration. At the age of 12, he discovered Paris through its exhibitions and museums, from the Louvre to Beaubourg. Jacques began to draw extensively, working with his stroke as well as his chroma.
Attending the Department of Applied Arts at the Marie Curie High School in Marseille definitively set the course for his life with Art at its center. “Drowned and sharpened in Art” as he likes to put it, Espi first tried his hand at painting. He settles into a studio and produces a series of paintings, with influences lying somewhere amidst works from Picasso, Bacon, Kandinsky or Miro, but also Superdupont – master of the 9th art form.
Jak loves to laugh. He enjoys breaking down the French language into word games; he likes amusement/ fun/ having fun, “messing around, because it does you good”. His approach carries a large dose of “no limits”, but never ventures into trashy: “limits are made for trespassing, you have to know how to have fun with them, play with them… for pleasure, curiosity or provocation."
Reflection and questioning are always at play with Espi. The field of possibilities – whether in creation or in the principles of life - is endless and must remain so: “It is important for some questions to remain unanswered.” Therefore, the sculpture takes shape naturally in the creative momentum: “ my drawings always had a lot of relief. When my daughter was born, the desire to shape, to work with volume came into my life.” Jak has devoted himself to resin. This modern material, for which he has mastered the endless potential, is the ideal medium for his need for “no limits”.
This neo-paternity and his daughter’s nursing led Jacques into the undulating terrain of the female body - breasts in particular. The sensual mass of the chest appears in variations across the scope of his work. Jacques is from the world of illustration, painting and drawing and his penchant toward graphics comes naturally to round out the edges. Alone, staged, turned away or transplanted – on the body of a Panther for a very sexed effect – Espi’s breasts have galleries talking.
With high color work in dense production that is tinged with derision like in Do It Yourself, Jak Espi is pushing, or cracking, open the doors of Contemporary Art and turning out a generous body of work whose influence is set to become European.
Jacques calls himself “a local guy”.
This “local guy” has real promise that many already believe in.