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Michel Perry’s Passion for Painting

Michel Perry’s portraits and nudes in oil reflect a lifetime love of the art form.

The self-taught luxury footwear designer and artist was attracted to the canvas from an early age. “I have always loved painting and drawing,” he said. “I had a talent for it, [but] I stopped doing it when I started working.”

In 2000, the designer joined an art studio in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris, which led him to take up the hobby again. Since then, Perry has been taking classes at Ecole des Beaux Arts every Tuesday.

“[The best experience is] when I can capture the expression of someone’s face with just a few brushstrokes,” he said. “It’s an intense feeling of satisfaction when the person sees the likeness to their own portrait.”

And when Perry needs to find inspiration, he doesn’t have to go far. The designer spends several hours a week in his studio in his chateau in Burgundy, France. He also regularly visits museums. “Every time I visit a museum or an exhibition, I can meditate in front of my masters: Turner, Cezanne, Fragonard, de Staël or Rembrandt,” Perry said. “It’s almost a metaphysical emotion.”

The designer noted the process is similar when it comes to creating styles for his eponymous footwear brand, which includes sleek nubuck boots and animal-print platforms. “Painting is a way to recharge my batteries,” Perry said. “That way I feel calm when I start working on my collections. In both cases, I fuel myself constantly, and I internalize [things] so that when it comes to creating, the expression is frank and outspoken.”

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