Artworks on paper
This new series of raw paintings by Dimitri Zoellin give us 15 new images of his main character. Every piece is a painting on paper, framed under glass—a first for Zoellin. These intimate works all exist in discussion with one another, giving us the artist’s thoughts on life and how to live it.
“Blue is the closest color to the truth”
mixed media on paper, framed with glass - 75x95cm
In this celebration of blue, Zoellin puts the color in contrast to the bold red background—a surprising choice that highlights the power of outsider art.
Blue, as the color of the sky that reflects on the surface of the ocean, is used here to express the infinite possibility and fundamental connection of existence. It is a message of transcendence and peace.
Mixed media on paper, framed with glass - 60x80cm
This painting is a departure from the rest of the series, dedicated to one of the favorite Zoellin’s French singers – France Gall. Making her name in the 1965 Luxembourg Eurovision Song Contest, she went on to be a defining voice in European pop music through the 70s.
Outsider artist Zoellin borrows lyrics from her songs to the pattern over a pleasing gradient. We see how music can transform us, as this music transforms the Charlie character, whose eyes have become sheet music.
mixed media on paper, framed with glass - 60x77 cm
Here, Zoellin dives into questions of love, that greatest of themes. Rather than introduce a second character to play off of, he focuses on the individual. The effects of a soulmate are all present—bubbling texture and chaotic thoughts that all focus around a single point outside the body.
And as with any strong swing of emotion, there are plenty of countervailing ideas mixed in, denials and doubts that haunt the image. Though we suspect love will win out.
“Live your life”
mixed media on paper, framed with glass - 47x59 cm
These raw paintings are an ode to all those who chose their own path, rather than committing to one laid out for them by others. This independent streak can be seen in the life of the outsider artist himself, giving the work a hint of autobiography.
The ocean is once again used to represent truth and freedom, with the color blue used to outline Charlie and even waves brought in for texture.
“We become what we think”
mixed media on paper, framed with glass - 60x74 cm
Working off common themes in these artworks on paper, Zoellin takes a moment to remind us that our minds are powerful, and they shape our lives. The good news? You can control your mind.
The deep colors are interrupted by the white and grey rectangles, almost like sheets for a schematic of life in the works. It seems the Charlie character is in a state of becoming, a process that begins with what we think.
“What appears to be a problem?”
mixed media on paper, framed with glass - 48x60 cm
Anxiety. Self-doubt. The creeping suspicions that crawl up from the back of our minds. In this fine art painting, Zoellin tackles all of this, asking us a simple question in the process.
In the end, we often create false problems out of whole cloth. These false problems then take on a life of their own, generating real issues in our lives when we give them free reign. This introspection is deftly illustrated in the chaotic textures within the character.
“If you were in my skin”
mixed media on paper, framed with glass - 47x54 cm
At first glance, this appears like other portraits of Zoellin’s character. The palette is cheerful, and the composition brings plenty of visual interest. But we are drawn to the black circle between the eyes, where some hidden pain is lurking.
The work reminds us that there are things we cannot know about each other. And what we see as happiness in others sometimes papers over darker truths.
“Master in the Art of living”
mixed media on paper, framed with glass - 71x95cm
This exuberant piece of wall art is a meditation on creativity, fully embracing the wonder that we are visited by the muses at all. The wild colors and playful deconstruction of the character give the painting an infectious joy.
The writing here even seems to be in a primordial form, just now coming into focus. This isn’t a creation, but a celebration of creation itself.
“I’ve got run away”
mixed media on paper, framed with glass - 60x78cm
While many raw paintings in this art series are positive messages, this piece brings in the hard truth: you can’t run away from who you are.
The Charlie character is covered in scribbles and drawings that mirror the art of children. This call back to all those long-held ideas about ourselves that have to be dealt with. You can spend a lifetime running away from them, but you carry them inside of you.
“I’m the Queen of my own life”
mixed media on paper, framed with glass - 58x74 cm
What does it mean to be sovereign? To be the queen? Zoellin asks us to take the throne of our own lives and practice leadership over ourselves. We are, after all, the ones responsible for the outcome.
The artist gives us a confident, gaudy version of the character. The image spurs us into action and asks us to wield self-control.
“Into the blue of the sea”
mixed media on paper, framed with glass - 63x77 cm
In this painting, Zoellin reconnects to one of his favorite subjects: the ocean. Blue is used to outline the character, showing the ocean’s influence on our lives and its ability to remake us.
For emphasis, Charlie’s body is crisscrossed by phrases—phrases that are odes to the water, which Zoellin has spent much of his life sailing across.
“You’re worth more than gold”
-mixed media on paper, framed with glass - 65x80cm
The words, “There’s nothing to worry about,” appear throughout the series, but in this painting, they take on a new luster. Zoellin asks us to remember that our self-worth is not in doubt. In light of that, how do we see ourselves?
One might imagine we’d see ourselves wreathed in gold, as Zoellin’s main character is in this painting.
mixed media on paper, framed with glass - 45x52 cm
This painting is dedicated to all Bali dogs who are an integral part of the island as waves, ceremonies, and spirits of freedom. This candy-colored painting upholds the spirit of the dogs on the island of the Gods.
We are reminded of those character traits of dogs that make them so important in our lives: loyalty, playfulness, courage, and warmth. But so many of them need our help, and these are some associations in Bali who do this necessary and important mission.
“Saat kita melihat”
-mixed media on paper, framed with glass - 47x51cm
The name of this painting means “when we see” in Indonesian. For many years, this country has become a home for the artist. Zoellin takes this phrase to launch into a discussion of perspective. We all have our own views—note the exaggerated difference in Charlie’s eyes.
The background is particularly striking, with strips of texture that make bold diagonal lines across the image.
mixed media on paper, framed with glass - 69x75 cm
In the year 913, there was a king unlike any other… so begins the story of this painting, which ties many of the themes in the series together. Ideas of love, self-control, and being your own person intertwine in this piece of outsider art.
The artist even allows the work to break out onto the matte border as if Charlie is ready to free himself and escape from the frame altogether.
This artwork completes the raw paintings series of Zoellin.