A multidisciplinary artist from Martinique, Vieux Jeune Homme uses his art as a therapy, to help him understand, dissect and heal his traumas. He leaves his comfort zone of photography and writing, by making the experimental film “Anxiety”, published in June 2022 on his instagram. The result of a long research process, he articulates his artistic direction around the social perception of people prone to anxiety, and offers us a rich sensory experience.
This fashion film is an ode to anxiety, a salute to all those who have what is commonly known as anxiety. Anxiety, according to the dictionary, is a state of psychological disturbance caused by the fear of danger. It is therefore with great concern that I present Anxiety, a personification of my a personification of my anxieties.
This short film aims to plunge you into an anguishing, dark and anxiety-provoking universe, at a time when we are all talking about mental health, let’s not forget that from all this can emanate a form of beauty. And it is in this obvious darkness, in this devouring depression that he made us discover his song for the anguished of this world, those who do not do out of fear, a requiem called “Anxiety”.
⚠️This video is to be watched with headphones in order to be immersed in the universe and appreciate all its nuances.
C – From fashion photography to experimental film. Who is behind the pseudonym “Old Young Man”?
V – So, my name is Kévin Rapon, but like Dave in his feat with Wizkid, system : “Don’t call me by my government name”. I’m called “Old Man” most of the time, and “OldYoungMan” for others.
I’m a multidisciplinary artist who for some years now has had an obsession with photography, or at least with images in general, video or otherwise as well. I do art direction too, most of the time for my own projects. I took a long time to define myself as an artist, I waited for people I consider artists and admire to consider me as one, before defining myself as such.
I am currently a student in fashion school, and I also studied in a faculty in L1 Anthrophology ethnology and sociology specialising in art history, to learn research methodology. And I stopped there, since that’s what I was looking for. Because ethnologists and anthropologists have a particular way of researching and constructing their projects, and this is what I wanted to learn and acquire. I am still working on these methods, I am practising, I am applying this research approach in all my projects.
“I have a passion for light, chiaroscuro, in all my artistic mediums. Light was the essence of this film.”
C – We discover a new aspect of your art with your experimental film: Anxiety. How did the project come about?
V – So everything started from my anxieties, I created works in black and white, negative, quite experimental. It was a long process of research, of work, of writing: on my anxieties, sorrows, life, love. You should know that 90% of the works produced for this exhibition were created during an anxiety attack. Then came the video project.
I took over a school project of fashion film, with creatives from our school, to force myself to produce, and get out of my comfort zone (image, photography, writing). I created a kind of experimental film, which is a personification of my anguish.
The two characters dressed in black refer to the fact that society expects people with anxiety to be dark, morbid people, where depression is visible from the outside. It’s a cliché that when anxiety is represented in a dark way, we pay much more attention to this type of person, we take care of them.
Whereas for me, factually, we should be interested in the most smiling, pleasant, happy people, who don’t seem to be in pain, or anxious. They are represented by the character in white, who at the end of the video commits suicide.
“I worked on the soundtrack for 10 hours, to the point of having a headache, to the point of having anxiety attacks because of the sounds used. This film is an outlet, I literally threw up all my anxieties, this self that you don’t necessarily see every day and the way I feel about things. There is my whole soul and my being. Admittedly negative, but that continues to feed my artistic universe.”
C- How does your Caribbean background influence your creative process?
It’s not visible on this project. But 90% of my upcoming projects that I’ve been working on for the last 3-4 years are really about Martinique, and the Caribbean in general. There will be photographic documentaries, short films, experimental films, which will deal with subjects that have not been highlighted in the right way, in my opinion.
I was born and raised in Martinique until I was 20, I lived in France for 3 years. I can’t see myself creating anywhere else but at home. Everything inspires me there, everything influences my artistic approach. The place where I create best is there. The place where I feel best is there, where my projects take on their full meaning. It’s the nature, the people, the calm, and the night in Martinique. The places that are quite remote, with a flat calm. I can bring out the best in myself in those moments.
The young people I grew up with taught me that “débouya pa péchè” (Creole proverb), basically “you can do anything from nothing”. You don’t need much to go out and create something very sincere.
I often say that the essence of my work is to demarginalize the marginalized, and change the vision that one can have of a certain category of person. To show that art can be found in places where it is not expected through the reappropriation of the body and the spaces of life.
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