Olivier's fascination with Face Painting began when he was about 14, and he attended a Mike Oldfield concert with friends. They painted their faces with black & white patterns & Olivier was fascinated not only by how it changed the face visually, but also by the 'emotions' elicited by it. His next foray came about a year later when his pottery teacher encouraged him to assist her on her Face Painting jobs.
During his later teens he travelled throughout Europe painting in the street & at fairs to earn the money to continue his travels. In 1988 he entered the Body Painting section of the International Film & Fantasy Festival, a competition held annually in Brussels & sponsored by Fardel. In 1988 he achieved a 2nd place & in 1989 won it. He then joined Les Quatre Bulles, one of the first face painting troupes to consider face painting as an art form and who were also based in Brussels. The troupe travelled all over the world painting at festivals and it was through them that he fell in love with Montreal when he was there with them to paint at the Montreal Jazz Festival.
In 1993 he moved to Montreal & created a Canadian branch of Les Quatre Bulles, where he was keen to work on the exchange of ideas & painters between Canada & Belgium, initially just working with his wife, Cecile. He then met Chloe Lefebvre & Clelia Marsadie and taught them to face paint. These four were the basis of Les Quatre Bulles in Montreal, but as the work increased into the English speaking parts of North America the name proved to be troublesome, so they changed it to Facination.
In 1995 he returned to Belgium leaving Clelia to head Facination, and soon linked up with Tableaux Vivant, a French based troupe headed by Claude Giordano and worked with them on & off for about 2 years.
He created Body Art Belgium in the same year and continued to spend his time painting & teaching throughout Europe. His close links with Fardel were born about this time and he was employed to travel, demonstrating & promoting the brand throughout Europe and the US. His close links with Fardel remain, and he still travels extensively with them.
In 2001 Marcela Murad called 'out of the blue' saying that she was creating the FPI magazine & would he like to be the subject of an article? From then, with the Snazaroo internet discussion list allowing easy international communication, the travel & teaching blossomed further, with him now coming twice a year to teach in England, demonstrating at numerous conventions & regular teaching tours of the US and Canada.
Olivier is a wonderfully creative artist, pulling inspiration from all around him. His use of the face is carefully considered with each new painting. The understanding of the features allows him to effortlessly create hideous monsters from beautiful girls & ferocious tigers from quiet boys!
Olivier also has a great sense of what face painting is about. His aim is to allow children to fulfil their fantasies, to allow the children to let their imaginations run riot and he considers it an honour to be the one to help them realise it. Each painting is a chance to investigate and as he does not work from pattern books his paintings & style are continuously evolving creations.
Other than painting, his particular loves are his daughter, Oziana, Japanese food and Bicolline - a grand 'medieval fantasy' role-play game, based in Montreal. Paula Southern