Julien Sitruk: A rising painter in the Parisian underground

by Diane Pernet

“For me, the age means nothing—art does not have an age. If we are an old man or a young person, it does not modify the artistic language at all—the importance is to know what we want to make.”
The screening of the film The Material Boy (2015) by Luizo Vega had just finished on the final day of ASVOFF 8, held at Centre Pompidou, when a tall blonde boy with long flowing hair and the face of an angel approached me. He introduced himself as Julien Sitruk—the artist behind the film’s poster. I was delighted to meet him as I was aware of his work, and what impressed me enormously was the fact that even though he was just sixteen years old, he had already had a solo painting exhibition and coverage in art magazines. He is now seventeen and may still be in high school but is already becoming known as a photographer, designer, stylist, make-up artist… and I think he also sings.

Sitruk started painting at the age of ten and has since been an avid fan of fashion, art, and foreign cultures—naturally drawn to strong, iconic figures, such as Rick Owens, Michèle Lamy, Luizo Vega, Andy Warhol, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. As a matter of fact, when I first saw his work I was immediately reminded of the spontaneity of Jean-Michel Basquiat, and his talent is as prodigious.

It speaks volumes that his first solo show was at the Carré Doré Art Gallery in Monaco when he was just 13 years old, and that prior to that he had a long article in AZART after the Editor-in-Chief saw his work and simply could not believe that a 12-year-old boy could have created it. The article came out on his birthday. “It was a big present for me, at my young age,” says the young multi-disciplinarian. “For me, the age means nothing—art does not have an age. If we are an old man or a young person, it does not modify the artistic language at all—the importance is to know what we want to make.”

Sitruk is fascinated by the underground world of art and fashion and the different types of characters that inhabit that world, and all his work is a means of radical self-expression. “I am young, I am shy, and art is for me a means to express a fury and also sweetness that hides in me,” he states. Given his sharp acuity, it’s unsurprising that rather than work with people his own age, Sitruk prefers the company of adults, particularly those with strong identities. “I adore Rick Owens and Michèle Lamy’s universe! I like their lifestyle because it is fascinating, uncluttered, discreet,” he says. “I painted Michèle in a period when I was completely in the universe of Rick Owens—she has an incredible identity.”

More than anything, Sitruk is an artist, but he also has tried his hand at designing clothes and will soon make his debut as an actor in Luizo Vega’s 2016 film Dracula Is Not Dead. What Sitruk admires in Vega is a complete artist that touches on all creative categories, and when Luizo called Sitruk, and asked him to paint his poster he immediately said yes—which, cliché or not, sets him apart in France, because the stock response in France is non, whereas Sitruk has a positivity that aligns him more with Los Angeles—after all, he did not know Luizo at that time nor had he seen the film.

Sitruk has just one more year of high school before he will have to decide which way he wants to go, whether to continue his studies or to go out and do his work. The most important thing for Sitruk is that there is an open door which he can pass through.

TAGS