“It is the feminine beauty of Saigon that gives me new ideas, so that I can compose stories that blend the past and the present”.
The first time I came to Vietnam was 9 years ago. I was really touched by the smiles of the people, the beauty and colors of the culture and landscape here,” shared Jérôme Peschard.
Jérôme Peschard is an artist who works on oil paintings, digital paintings without formal education. At the age of 15, he decided to leave school permanently and began to self-study drawing. He used to do a lot of different jobs, such as graphic design, comic book design, video game designs, teaching in an international private art school, to name a few. One thing in common: all of his works are related more or less to art.
Experience built skills for Jérôme Peschard, provided him with a wealth of ideas, a deep understanding of painting structure and concepts. It is also that passion that has brought the French artist to live and work in Saigon, Vietnam as for now.
An unexpected fate with Saigon
Jérôme Peschard served as CEO and Creative Director for Ankama Group subsidiary in Roubaix, France for 10 years. In charge of Dofus, a massively popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) in the world, Jérôme travelled the world setting up, selling, and creating product lines for that universe.
Coming to Saigon 9 years ago to find a factory that produces board games, collectibles, books, figures, etc. for the game Dofus, Jérôme Peschard witnessed the city’s amazing urbanization speed. “Vietnam hasn’t changed much, but Ho Chi Minh City is growing at a very fast rate every year… My only regret is that this wonderful city is slowly losing its architectural heritage. But I love Saigon, it gives me a lot of creative inspiration”, the artist confided.
Pop art style and a vintage inspiration
Jérôme Peschard’s inspiration is multinational culture. In his paintings, the most obvious is the presence of an old Saigon with old cars, or the central buildings of District 1 built in the French architectural style of the past. Jérôme Peschard interprets these images in the style of Pop Art – the art form popular in Europe and America. Therefore, his paintings are both modern from the capitalist countries and full of beauty and sophistication from the Asian context.
For example, in the corner painting of Ben Thanh – Le Loi market, Jérôme depicts the streets of Saigon with cyclos, retro billboards, a busy flow of workers, and a glimpse of a figure, haughty, mysterious woman. The realistic layout painted by him on the novel material is rusted corrugated iron, bringing a modern, dynamic sound but very nostalgic for an old Saigon.
The unique feature of his paintings in Vietnam lies in the materials. He painted oil paintings on carefully treated rusty corrugated iron sheets. According to him, these scraps are what is left after construction works are completed. High-rise buildings participate in the transformation of the city, demonstrating the massive development of Saigon.
Jérôme Peschard: A life as an artist
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone’s lives, no difference for Jérôme Peschard. For him, the past 6 months have been really difficult, to the point that one day his whole family was threatened with eviction because they owed a month’s rent.
Fortunately, a British customer arrived in time with an order for some paintings. “That is the life of an artist. Luck smiles on you at the critical time, which only artistic life can show and believe,” he said.
In the near future, he will sell luxury fashion items. Such as T-shirts, accessories, hats, leather bags, leather masks, cigar boxes, sculptures, and his art. Jérôme will open a large solo exhibition of 20 oil paintings after the Tet season in 2022 in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
When I asked what it is that the artist is searching for in life, Jérôme Peschard laughed. He replied: “I am a very simple artist. I painted, explored many things in the artwork for 40 years. And I wish I was lucky enough to be able to continue drawing and live to old age with my loved ones.”
You can order Jérôme Peschard’s paintings at www.facebook.com/artsofJp
Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam