“I am from the south of France, and after 4 years on the East Coast I needed sun, and the only place I identified for that was California. I applied to several bilingual schools in the Bay Area, and was selected by the Lycée Francais…this was 10 years ago and I never left CA. When I came first time to SF, I felt like I was going back home…Californians are close to the nature, opened to the world, and most important they are tolerant.
I don’t know if its related to the adventure of the Gold Rush, but Californians believe that anything is possible here.”
If my personal life was a bit challenged in these past years, I still believe in my Karma; I try to give positiveness to others as much as I can because this is my nature, it makes me feel good, like positive rays.”
Nathalie is a beautiful school teacher, always optimistics and this is very contagious. She is not afraid of the future anymore, she believes in the importance of the moment, in her Karma. On her left foot are tatooed her three kids initials: Valentin, Ambre and Elina…
Why do you think you are an artist Pierre?
“I imagine this is not really a choice, I was born like this, a pen in the hands and images in my head. This is the most reasonable way I found lo live.”
What do your art pieces represent, is there any message ?
“I see myself as a forest in the night, the wind blowing between the murmuring trees, with little animals walking through the roots. I am a very mystical person, I am contemplative. But these are very personal things, it’s a bit difficult for me to explain. My work is a way for me to share my vision, like a reverse autoportrait.”
What brought you to San Francisco?
“In my life I have always looked for the opportunity that would make things happen: a project, meeting someone…and this is what has happened with Jules when he started his art gallery in San Francisco last year, we have a lot in common, our trajectories are parallel, all this was probably “written in advance”, and we are just at the start of a long journey…”
The first time I met with Pierre he was in the Jules Maeght Gallery installing his drawing on the walls. I was fascinated by the black and white rain forest that reminded me my childhood in Brazil and my trips to Africa. When Pierre explained to me that his family was originally from the Caribbeans, I suddenly understood why this young Parisian artist started his career painting the rainforest on the walls of Paris!
” I can not stand seeing others suffer, so helping them to reduce their pain is also a way for me to reduce my own sensitivity. I worked in many different companies, but I soon realized that this was not my vocation, these were not the jobs I dreamed of. We moved here to the US as my husband was offered a great job opportunity, and this was a way to give to our kids the gift of speaking english. It is probably time now for me to do what I have always dreamed of, dedicate my time to people who need support and assistance.”
How do you like San Francisco? “It was not easy for me at the beginning as my level of english was rather low, but it’s improving every day. The first time we came to SF, I immediately felt at home here, I was not scared like if I was far from home, there is something special here that makes you feel good.”
Veronique is already a very dynamic mother of three children, but she still wants to try to dedicate the rest of her time helping whoever needs her. I could tell listening to her that this need to “give” is strongly anchored in her heart. Wishing this will bring Veronique the satisfaction and peace she is looking for, receive by giving…
“When I was 13 my parents did not want to pay me any electronic games, so I decided to create them by myself, on the Amstrad PC1512 they accepted to buy me; I was spending all my days and nights developing, coding, hacking, I created a little Packman in a labyrinth…till the school I was in decided to “invite me to go to another school”, my parents were so mad at me ! I developed and educative software at 16 with my cousin that we sold to an editor, and then after high school I studied IT and started my own business. I did not want to be a slave, I did not want to have a boss deciding on what is good or bad for me, I did not want to have to depend on someone else for the decisions I wanted to make in my life.”
And why did you decide to open a subsidiary in the USA?
“I love the US, here anything is possible, here in the Bay area people think so BIG, people are free to think BIG (unlike in most European countries), people are not afraid of tomorrow, people believe in their capacities to find another job, people are ready to sale shoes if they get laid off in the IT business…there is no shame, just because tomorrow can only be better than today!”
Eric is full of humor and knows how how not take things too seriously when we speak about him and his background. Just like a fish in the ocean, Eric goes his ways with the elements sliding on his skin, cool and relaxed. I ended asking him what he did not like in life and he had this response”I hate the noise, the noise of this microwave for example, or the music playing in the ski resorts at lunch time!”.
I love this blurry picture of Eric, laughing about this interview and me trying to capture a clear “portrait” for this post.
“I lived in San Francisco when I was a little girl, and the only thing I remember is that I went directly to an american school without speaking a single word of English. One day I saw all students jumping off of their chairs and rushing under their tables; I was the only one not moving from my chair, I saw the teacher terrified moving her hands all over…I did not realize there was an earthquake. My teacher thought I was completely crazy, for me it was terrible, I did not realize what was happening and I did not even feel the earhquake….”
Why did you decide to come to live in the US with your family?
After that experience I came back to the USA many times for my job in the printing industry, and I have always felt at home here. In this country people are so nice, so open minded to foreigners, but most amazing is the strong belief Americans have that tomorrow will be better than today, that not situation is never desperate nor lost, an amazing optimism I wanted my three children to acquire. Although I am confident by nature, I am not certain like my american friends that tomorrow WILL be better than today, I wish I would feel like that, but I am French…
When Sandrine was telling me that story of her childhood at school, she was imitating herself with the big smile on her face like on this picture. Although she considers herself as more “French” in her beliefs than Americans, Sandrine never gives up until she has finished what she has started.
“When I entered the military in Taiwan, I was ready to “get married” for four years, but after several months, I new it would be for me like getting married..to suffering my whole life.I left the army, studied finance and economics, and I moved to SF to become a businessman, to built my abilities, be my own boss. I moved to the Castro, the more open minded place in the city, here there is a high acceptance, diversity, people don’t juge you, you can be who you are.”
Do you know why you are gay?
“Do you know why you are straight ? Do you prefer eggs or chicken? The beauty of living in America is that people have the right to be who they want to be; for example my first boyfriend was from France, her Mom was half black half white, her Dad was Brazilian…that’s the most appealing thing about the U.S.A, the respect of differences!”