Whilst Stef - L’Ecurie de Marcelo
Whilst Stef is Belgian by birth, but he is international in appeal. Art is most definitely not defined by where you come from, but by the sentiments it evokes within you. With Stef’s work, that is quite simply a wonderful and welcome kaleidoscope of emotions, from joy to awe and everything in between.
Color, one of the most evocative of all the pillars when it comes to art, is central to Stef’s work and his unique technique brings that pillar to life. In his own words, “I paint layer over layer of color in a somewhat uncontrollable way, but which in turn brings a harmonious chaos of color.”
Born into a 100-year heritage of printers, Stef learnt about color from an early age. He took his apprenticeship and adapted it into his own exceptional interpretation of color and form, which today manifests in the positive fantasies of his colorful works.
And so, the fantasy world of L’Ecurie de Marcelo was born early one morning, about a year ago - an unusual equine form, painted with Stef’s characteristic flair ... unique in every sense.
Instead of emerging from a womb, the first born of L’Ecurie de Marcelo evolved from a mould, the design of which was a collaboration between Stef and an Argentine sculptor.
Once in the studio, nature and nurture combined, as layer upon layer of acrylic paint was applied. With each application of spot coloring the horse’s nature was determined and its character developed, until there she was, a fully-fledged mare, with a character and life of her own.
“I never wanted to create a sculpture, I never saw it as one,” said Stef. “It had to be another fantasy, a story.” But maybe Stef’s imagination had given wings to Pegasus ... once the concept had wings, it was destined to fly.
One horse became two, they both got names, and then these beautiful creations became the founders of a family tree who would one day have foals.
L’Ecurie de Marcelo was born that moment as a make belief stable with a real book of pedigrees and a breeding programme. But it was more than that - It was a moment that sculpture - an innate object - turned into a realistic fantasy. An oxymoron it may seem, can fantasy and realism come together?
Of course, it can. It depends on whether your imagination will allow it.
There is something in the form of a horse, be it Andalucian, Arabian, Lusitano et al that is awe inspiring. You don’t have to love horses, you don’t even have to like them, but not to appreciate what a horse represents is to not appreciate life and that is exactly what L’Ecurie de Marcelo does ... it is not sculpture, it’s not art, it’s the embodiment of all of it. It is art coming to life.
Just as you might “aaah” and “oooh” when a baby is born, so you can when an L’Ecurie de Marcelo foal is born. With each foal, the pedigree is set and each lineage is created in a unique color formation.
The first seven foals are now on display. Why seven? Because it is the lucky number for so many and art can hold so many lucky resonances for people.
Asked where his inspiration comes from, Stef said, “Our main mares and stallions come from different backgrounds, from different continents, each one of them is fed and led by a different stroke of color which make them come to life.”
“Each one of them is a mother or father to their specific pedigree. Every pedigree or even family tree has specific characteristics as a visualization of their own bloodline.”
“Every piece is unique. The process and structure that is specific to our work makes it impossible to copy. So, as in life, every horse we create is a one of a kind. An identical one is impossible to make. The foals do have characteristics of their ancestors but are distinctive in their coloring and structure. They get a name and a place in the family tree, and we only make a few horses.”
“Every horse has a place in the Marcelo Book of Pedigrees. The Book provides proof of birth and the existence of each horse. If it’s not in the book, it’s not real! Accidents can happen and if a horse gets damaged and needs mending, we will document the changes made and add them to The Book. Damage doesn’t mean loss of value. It’s a reflection of experience and wisdom, just a scar as a token of being alive.”
What makes horses from the L’Ecurie de Marcelo stables even more rare are that they are the first ever pieces of art that can’t be stolen. Whilst, of course, a horse can be taken from its owner, but it would simply stop existing. It would disappear from the Book of Pedigrees and lose all it’s value.
Spontaneously, a community has sprung up around existing and new owners, with people eager to be invited to the revealing / the birth of new foals. There is a natural curiosity around who will be lucky enough to own the next in line of a pedigree. Once again, it is art imitating life, just as owners have tended to give their sculptures a name. It is truly art coming alive.
Soon there will be new blood in the stables. A real polo bloodline that Stef has created together with Scapa, the fashion brand - a glamorous painted horse family tree with a royal twist will be presented in Paris in the near future. In addition, Arabians and Far East horses are currently preparing to leave the stables. As you would expect, their launch into the big, wide world will be by invitation only.