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David Ortsman, the unconscious written and drawn

David Ortsman is a graduate of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Arts de Paris-Cergy as well as a graduate in Arts and Digital Media from the Pantheon Sorbonne. He first became involved in artistic creation through experimental video. After years of research and work, David Ortsman begins in 2010 to exhibit his drawings and paintings in art galleries. The artist is also interested in the creation of comics with first a small comic book of 13 plates realized in 2019 and now a more substantial project in progress. David Ortsman also draws for the press for national newspapers such as Libération, Le Monde and Le Monde diplomatique.

photo credit : David Ortsman

In the beginning was the text

Video, drawings, paintings, comics, press cartoons… all have a common thread, the particular link that David Ortsman maintains with the text. Already during his studies in Cergy, he wrote short stories that served as a scenario for his experimental videos.

“In Fine Arts, I learned that if I start with a text, I can make a lot of things out of it that enrich each other.”

Since then, he has never stopped writing dreamy, naïve and cruel texts that help him create the mental images of his drawings before making them.

It took David Ortsman some time to find his style of visual expression. In 2008, he switched to watercolor ink and felt-tip pens, thus asserting his drawing style with a more precise and striking design. Thanks to this change of technique and a lot of graphic research work, he gradually aligns his texts and drawings.

Comics : fusion of writing and drawing

David Ortsman is visually inspired by art brut and naive art. He has a particular link with artists such as Henry Darger and Roland Topor who both knew how to work the text and the image.

It is thus quite naturally that David Ortsman arrives at the comic strip. This new adventure began with a short comic book “The Dream” and today with a comic book of 78 plates whose colorization is in progress.

“I had wanted to make comics for a long time since I met the author and cartoonist Edmond Baudoin who had reconciled me with comics”.

At the same time, he is a professor at the Ecole de Condé in Marseille (school of design, illustration, 2d, 3d) working on a cartoon with the production company Aaa Production Paris.

Color, despite hostile environments

David Ortsman’s drawings are all colored. This step completes their naive and cruel rendering thanks to an almost obsessive use of colors. The backgrounds are almost all black, the green is often used for barbed wire that encloses and hurts, the characters are white-gray and red …  

White, grey, green, red… the colors turn in loop in the creations of David Ortsman, the human bodies are pierced, pierced, quartered or radiographed, the environments are hostile, rough and it seems to be often cold. Such is the very particular universe of David Ortsman.

During the first confinement, the artist participated in Vanda Spengler’s “Collaborations confites” with a work that places a photo of the Franco-Swiss photographer at its center. Both work on the bodies. So, David Ortsman immediately felt in agreement with the work of the photographer Vanda Spengler.