The MB&F M.A.D.Gallery takes flight with French photographer Manolo Chrétien and his powerful aeronautical artwork.
Born in 1966 and raised near Orange Air Force Base in France, Manolo Chrétien has vivid childhood memories of gazing out his bedroom window in awe of the aircrafts soaring through the sky. As the son of Jean-Loup Chrétien, a test pilot and the first French astronaut, hangars filled with prototype jet planes were his playground. He developed his passion for aviation early on in his life, though this was not expressed publicly until later.
“I was inspired by the powerful aesthetic imagery of the planes, the passion and risk involved, and the developing technology. I think there is a strong link between air and art. My father is an artist; his very first dream was to trace the skies with pure curves, creating instant drawings or paintings with a ‘bird pen.’ The purity of line and movement is as important in the air as it is in art.”
Chrétien’s university education began in the south of France studying aeronautical engineering, though he dropped out after a quick three months to pursue his love of windsurfing. Deciding to continue his studies in Paris at the prestigious Olivier de Serres School of Applied Arts, Chrétien discovered a passion and talent for materials and graphic design. He established a sport-centric graphic design business in Paris in 1991 before eventually moving to Rouen, France.
In tandem with his graphic design work, Chrétien rediscovered the fervour for painting and photography originally ignited by his father and grandmother.
“My grandma was an excellent photographer and she showed me at a very young age how to use a Minox camera, starting with taking pictures of old fishing boats on the Brittany coast.”
Currently, Chrétien and the love of his life, Céline, run a successful graphic design business and create captivating artwork from a sun-drenched studio in Blois, a picturesque city overlooking the Loire River. Chrétien’s impressive artwork is represented across the globe in galleries from Paris and Montreal to Singapore and London.