By leaving…he must have thought he could get rid of his past, that with no past, no history, and thus no shame, he could try on all the styles and poses we secretly want to try but deny ourselves, he could have followed every crazy urge we dream of but suppress, whether it’s dyeing our hair, walking differently, laughing differently, getting a tattoo, whatever urge we silently dismiss for fear we’ll be put in our place.
For decades I have been trying to put into words why I’ve been drawn to travel and spending time abroad and this passage, from French writer Édouard Louis’s autobiographical novel “History of Violence,” does it pretty perfectly. When I first read it I got goose bumps. I read it over and over, thinking how it relates to surfing, and how travel is such a big part of what it means to be a surfer. And while it’s typically the chasing of waves that gets us on that plane, it’s the stuff that Louis describes above that transpires—and feels so damn liberating!
Jules de Balincourt is a Brooklyn-based painter by way of So Cal. A regular foot with a swift frontside off the top, we used to surf Malibu together in the late ‘80s. Then he went off to California College of the Arts in the Bay Area, then Hunter College in New York, then Jeffrey Deitch loved his senior work and invited him to do a show at Deitch Projects, and so began his formidable career that includes exhibitions in prominent galleries and museums worldwide.
I’ve long been a fan. And if Louis’s words nail that unshackled, anything-is-possible feeling of being abroad, de Balincourt’s paintings nail it visually. It goes without saying that he is a frequent traveler. Lots of France, lots of Costa Rica, lots of long stints in far-flung locales.
Here are a few of my favorites—
For more of Jules de Balincourt go HERE: