T h o m a s B a r b è y
The Artist's Biography
Thomas Barbèy was born in Connecticut in 1957, and was taken to Europe by his parents when he was six months old. After Italy and Germany, came Switzerland where he lived for 17 years. All his schooling was in French. He left the University of Geneva after one semester to pursue a career in the music business. After entering the Italian music charts, he moved to Italy and stayed there for 15 years. He successfully pursued the music business to pay for all his bills and kept photography as an expensive hobby. He then owned a full blown photographic studio for Fashion photography in the early 90s and finally moved back to America in 95. Today he lives and teamed up with his wife Suzanne who is also a photographer in Southern California where they work on black and white surrealistic images that they like to call "photomixage".
Thomas Barbèy Artworks, L.L.P. was formed in 1999 by Thomas Barbèy and his wife Suzanne Barbèy, a former model who decided to venture on the other side of the camera. Our inspirations for our work come from many years of traveling all over the world, everyday life and from some of our favorite artists, such as René Magritte, M.C. Escher or Roger Dean. We bring our Mamiya RB 67 or several old Canon AE-1s wherever we go to shoot our photographs. The process of the montage starts with concept. It is then followed by the exposure and selection of the negatives. The design is then created by carefully choosing printing procedures as combination printing; sandwiching negatives together; thereby printing them simultaneously; pre-planned double exposure in the camera; the re-photographing of collaged photographs; and/or a combination of the above. We finish off the process by touching it up on the computer at the very end. The pictures can be appreciated without knowledge of their technical virtuosity. Photographers run deep in our family. Now and then we will take old negatives out of the family archives and use them in our work. We hope you appreciate them as much as we do.
My wife and I work together as a team. We go to many art galleries and find that only a very small percentage of the work, we find to be inspiring. Contrary to many other artists, we both have a strong belief that imagination plays a tremendous role in our body of work. While most photographers catch a glimpse or a moment at the right time and turn it into something by cropping or bringing out the beauty in the world around us, and some manage to do this extremely well, we on the other hand create images that don’t even exist or are impossible.
Every single one of our images has to pass what we like to call the “so what?” test. If a combination of two or more negatives put together doesn’t touch us or have any particular meaning, we toss it. We try to combine images and sometimes the results can be disappointing. A giant clock in the middle of the ocean can be an unusual image but if we look at it and say to ourselves: “So what?” This means it isn’t good enough. If instead, an ocean liner is going down a “funnel-type” hole and we entitle it “Shortcut to China,” it takes on a whole new meaning. The picture takes you into an imaginary world where you can see the captain telling the passengers to fasten their safety belts and get prepared for the descent, and so on.
At times we come up with ideas beforehand, try to materialize them and it works. At other times, it is an accident and the ideas come afterwards, when the image is already finished and the concept has yet to be understood. It is almost as if we are learning constantly through the process of creation.
We travel a lot to take photographs of different things and places. Sometimes we use an image several years later, but only when it fits, like the perfect piece in a puzzle, and completes our latest project. Some images are composed of negatives that are separated by a decade in the actual time that we had taken them and only come to life when they found their perfect match. It’s the combination of two or more negatives that give birth to a completely unusual vision, but most of all, the title we give the final image is the glue and the substance of the piece.
Show Schedule For 2002
12- 13rth Art in the Park, Palm Springs
17-18-19-20 California Gift Show, L.A. Convention Center
26-27th Frances Stevens Park, Palms Springs
9-10 Fine Arts Festival, Cathedral City
16-17-18th Festival of the Arts, Palm Springs
2-3rd Art in the Park, Palm Springs
22-23-24rth 4rth Ave Art Fest, Tucson, AZ
13-14 Fine Arts Festival, Cathedral City, CA
28th Art Fest, Brentwood, CA
4-5 Orange County Fine Arts Festival, Brea
18-19 Festival of the Arts, Mountain View, CA
25-26-27 Fiesta Hermosa, Hermosa Beach, CA
1-2 Union Street Art Festival, San Francisco
14-15-16 Artwalk, Pasadena, CA
6-7 Fillmore Jazz & Art, San Francisco
13-14 Los Altos Art Festival, Los Altos, CA
27-28th Fremont Festival of the Arts, Fremont, CA
3-4 San Bruno Art Fest, San Bruno, CA
10-11 Fiesta de Artes, Los Gatos, CA
17-18 Art by the Sea, Newport Beach, CA
31-1-2 Labor Day Art Festival, Hermosa Beach
7-8 Art & Wine Festival, Mountain View, CA
14-15 Jazz & Art Festival, Burlingame, CA
22 Art walk, Brentwood, CA
29th Abbot Kinney Festival, Venice, CA
5-6th Hometown Art Fair, Manhattan Beach,CA
12-13 Art Festival in San Carlos, CA
19-20 Affaire in the Gardens, Beverly Hills, CA Booth # 174
29-30 Art in the Park, Palm Springs, CA
2-3 Festival of Fine Arts, Sacramento, CA
9-10 Festival of the Arts, Woodland Hills, CA
29-30 Art in the Park, Palm Springs, CA
6-7-8 Festival of the Arts, Tempe, AZ
14-15 Art in the Park, Palm Springs, CA