By MICHAEL AUSHENKER | Contributing Writer
High atop the second level of Caruso’s Palisades Village, the Coast Lounge became the scene of a lively private art reception for Monte Carlo-adjacent artist Marc Ferrero, who, with family in tow, unveiled his latest creations, including giant hand-painted square canvases from his “Postcards from Monaco” series and a pair of $10,000 Hublot wristwatches.
Surrounded by his colorful, oversized oil and acrylic canvases featuring female-laden, comic book-and-sci-fi-tinged explorations of status and culture, Ferrero, himself colorfully dressed in oversized thick-framed specs and bicentennial spats, proved himself the charismatic core of the April 14 art show, which attracted a good grouping of Palisadian art-lovers and collectors.
The reason Ferrero, 50, was visiting Pacific Palisades: because that is where many of his friends and clientele live.
“He’s so cutting edge,” said Palisadian Kevin Barnes, who, with wife Annie, own 15 Ferrero pieces. “There’s nothing like his art. He’s ahead of his time.”
The Barneses, along with fellow Palisadians Kelly and Mark Holscher, hosted the Coast Lounge art show for Ferrero, who has some 8,000 pieces in private collections worldwide. Owners of his work include residents of neighboring Brentwood and Malibu.
The pop art pop-up was part of a loose tour Ferrero and his family had embarked on to promote the release of a pair of watches he had designed for Hublot: one in pink, the other, baby blue.
The night before, Ferrero had done some live painting at the Swiss brand’s Beverly Hills shop, and his family was next headed to Tokyo to promote the Ferrero watches at the Japanese Hublot outlet. Hublot stores in Miami and Las Vegas are next on their radar, according to wife Sabine.
Ferrero told the Palisadian-Post that, while he was surrounded by such influences as Picasso and Dali growing up in Toulons, France, “It was too complicated, so we were reading comics.”
Among the cartoonists the artist said he enjoyed the most: Hugo Pratt and “Tintin” creator Hergé.
Unabashed about the influence of bande dessinee on his current work, Ferrero said that indeed his paintings do have a subliminal narrative running through them as they are part of the “storytelling arts.”
“My characters fight against the world of acceleration,” Ferrero said of his current series, which mostly feature young female visages. He described his style as “a blend of surrealism, cubism and expressionism, but always with a touch of figurative art.”
His three aesthetic goals are to create fictional characters and situations, multiplication of framing, and the fusion of different graphics.
“I use different effects to tell a story,” the painter said.
If his images seem to have a touch of something out of a Moebius comic or Metal Hurlant (the French predecessor of American counterpart Heavy Metal magazine), Ferrero is quick to note that, in fact, some of his biggest influences include stylish mod-era British and American TV shows such as “The Prisoner,” “The Avengers” (with Diana Rigg) and “The Fugitive.”
Since 1998, Ferrero and wife Sabine have lived in Eze, France, a small village outside Monaco and near Nice, where Sabine’s father had served as the city’s mayor until his 2012 passing.
In Eze, Ferrero runs a small gallery out of his studio.
“My studio is my villa,” Ferrero said. “I work like Picasso and Chagall worked in the 1950s.”
The Hublot deal, which led to a pair of watches based on a 2015 painting, resulted after a half-hour discussion between company representatives and Ferrero’s agent, the artist said.
The artist’s wife said her husband wakes up every day at 4 a.m. to start his painting routine.
“Most of the time he’s alone,” Sabine said of her husband’s artistic process. “But he’s also very good when he’s in public. He loves people.”
Sabine, who worked in fashion in Dauphine for more than 20 years, said that her husband had proposed to her two hours after they met … and she said “yes.”
“We are a very good team for 22 years,” she said.