Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Bonjour tout le monde! Well, the trip to Paris turned out to be a wonderful all-around experience for my wife and me. The exhibition at Galerie Maghen went well. The staff were extremely hospitable and helpful and the reception - or vernissage as they call it over there - was a lot of fun. And of course, a trip to Paris just wouldn't be a trip to Paris without some fantastic sightseeing. And my eyes weren't the only one of my senses bombarded with adventure. Paris has plenty of unique and delightful sounds, smells, textures, and TASTES to explore as well! Below are a few pictures from the trip.

And if anyone is still interested in an original piece of Daily Zoo art but thought you had missed your chance, there are still a few pieces available at the Galerie's website.

The journey begins! (Taking the train from Charles de Gaulle airport into the heart of Paris.)

Galerie Daniel Maghen, located conveniently and beautifully on the Seine within view of Notre Dame in one direction and the Louvre in the other. I had the honor of exhibiting with the talented Joe Weatherly.

Yes, I know. With all the fantastic architecture, sculpture, and monuments around, what do I decide to focus my lens on? A seagull enjoying the sunset at the frozen fountain in le Jardin du Luxembourg (the Luxembourg Gardens, which contain Luxembourg Palace, home of the French Senate).

Better...but it's still an animal!

Notre Dame. Didn't see any hunchbacks, though.

After getting settled, my wife Thasja and I tagged along with Anabelle from the Galerie as she delivered posters advertising the exhibition and vernissage to local comics and art shops (of which there seem to be many!)

It just so happened that a good friend of ours was also in Paris at the same time, working for LA fashion designer Greg Lauren who was in Paris for an exhibition of his own. In addition to making clothes out of cloth, he's done some amazing pieces out of...paper!

The Eiffel in the fog.
Back at the Jardin du Luxembourg. I don't think I've ever seen someone NOT enjoy a carousel ride this much before, though I don't blame her - if I ended up in a cart rather than on a horse, I'd be bummed too.

At Jardin du Luxembourg we also took in a puppet show, Le Chat Botte (Puss in Boots). Sketchbook and pen always along for the ride, I just had to draw one of the puppets.
I ended up having a total of 58 pieces on display for the exhibition. All but five were Daily Zoo sketches (my one-per-day animal drawings that I started a year after being diagnosed with acute leukemia).
Typical of the Daily Zoo, the pieces were done in various styles and with various media; some were looser and some were more finished.
"Bring It On"
(I wasn't sure how the Thanksgiving theme of this piece would translate to a French audience, but as it turned out it was bought by an American.)

In the past a few lucky souls (well, I hope they view themselves as lucky) have received original Daily Zoo sketches as gifts, but this was the first time I had offered any of them for purchase. I was pleasantly surprised at how many actually sold.


"Herlock the Hound Is On The Case"
"Le Penseur"
(With sincere apologies to Rodin.)

Me and fellow exhibitor, Joe Weatherly, at the vernissage.
Like I mentioned earlier, the vernissage was quite a good time. In addition to seeing some old friends, I had the chance to finally meet in person some folks who previously I had only corresponded with through email. I also had the pleasure of meeting many friendly new faces as well such as Alantar Cent, who worked on Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame.

The very talented sculptor, Angela Smaldone. She and I collaborated on a maquette for the exhibition (which I'll show in an upcoming post).

One of Joe Weatherly's fine pieces.
Sarah P. and my wife Thasja humor me by kindly laughing at my joke. Merci beaucoup!

New acquaintance Olivier, who has a passion for frogs, ended up being the proud owner of "Marsh Mellow."
After the reception, the Galerie treated us to an exquisite dinner at L'Epi Dupin. After dinner, Joe and I were invited to partake in the tradition of visiting artists adding something in the chef's sketchbook.

Despite the late night after the reception and dinner, it was back to the gallery the next morning for a short tv interview.

In addition to the exhibiting artists, Galerie Maghen has an extensive collection of original works by many top fantasy, concept, and comic book artists such as this Claire Wendling sketch. Oh, if I were a rich man!

While in Paris we visited many of the great comic and book shops, including Pulp's Art run by my friend the ever-eloquent Nick Parry-Jones, and I came close to reaching our checked luggage weight limit with new additions to my library.

The family!

My dad opens one of his hand-carved fan-style flying birds for the Galerie staff.

Très bien!

I learned that Olivier Souille, the Galerie employee who had originally contacted me years ago about the possibility of doing a show with them, had celebrated his birthday the day before we had arrived so I quickly whipped up a belated birthday card.

I have to admit that I was quite surprised to come across a taxidermied pangolin while strolling the streets of Paris.

And not just one, but TWO taxidermied pangolins!


Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, Basilica of the Sacred Heart, in Montmartre, overlooking the city.

Inside Notre Dame.

Back off, Monsieur! This is MY baguette!!!

A detail of the Arc de Triomphe.

Our sightseeing entourage expanded by one for a day and a half when my wife's longtime friend, Adrienne, joined us from Glasgow.

I can't think of many other places that are as tranquil and as surreal as the courtyard of the Louvre at night.

The Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opera.

Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, the largest cemetery in Paris. What a interesting environment...basically a "city of the dead" with blocks and "avenues" and "streetsigns."

Hmmmm...I always thought she was in color!

"Layers of the Louvre"
We just happened to be at the Louvre the night they were doing performance art in the galleries.
Mona's many fans.
A perfect venue for when you're having a dinner party of 57.

Thasja and I beneath la Pyramide.
My dear Paris, you dazzling City of Lights, until we meet again...


Kendra Melton said...

Ooo I'm happy. LOTS of photos. What a beautiful trip. And yup... I am no less jealous now of your trip, than i was when you left :P
Hope all is well back at home. One of these days you need to come back out and sketch with us though :]

Chris Ayers said...

Happy to oblige, Kendra. Thanks for checking them out. It WAS a great trip. Yes, my pencils are itching for some communal sketchin'! Hope things are good on your end.

Marcelo Vignali said...

Oui-oui! You must come and sketch with us, so you may regale us with tales from your wondrous journey!

g1toons said...

nice, looks like fun

Jay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ethan said...

Wow that is one strong looking tiger!


barba papa3 said...

Je suis en photo ! whaouwooo !
Merci beaucoup.