jean scuderi portrait mask

A few months ago I did an interview with Jean Scuderi, a wildly creative artist, painter, and photographer. We first met on set of a commercial, and he invited me to be a model in his Mask portrait series. As I did the shoot with him, we had an interesting philosophical conversation on the meaning behind the mask we all wear (our face), which prompted this interview.

I was excited to discover the rest of his many talents, and only hit the tip of the iceberg choosing my favorites for this post. I hope you enjoy his work as much as I do, and check out his collection on his fb page!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (your background/short bio) and what you do?

I do visual art.

drawing, photo, painting … graphic design… video.

jean scuderi kuo article 1 val from russia

Model: Val from Russia

“Article 1”

I‘m freelance creative.

also teach French after arrived in Taiwan.

lived 30 years in France and 5 years in Taipei.

jean scuderi paris effel tower


born and grew up in the North of France, Lorraine, where my father and grandfather, from Sicily, worked as laborers since about 10 years after WWII.

began a little career at 16 with first paid illustration. did some graffitis but not really into it.

in fact not really into any dogma. Abandoned studies in faculty and did little crappy jobs..

jean scuderi mask daniel

Model: Daniel from USA

“The web of domination has become the web of Reason itself, and this society is fatally entangled in it.”
Herbert Marcuse

have a daughter’s almost 15. This event changed my life somehow.

started to study photo with a pro photographer of my town, passed the exam of Fine Arts school in the region, met a lot of other artists and a few encouraging teachers. .

not easy, not too difficult life

had a few troubles but continued to get by.

moved to the East, moved to the South

and why Taiwan? like they often ask… why not?

jean scuderi taipei taiwan original artwork


I like Asia and Taiwan is like Sicily in the Mediterranean.

What’s your philosophy behind your art?

Behind is a belief or a necessity to believe.

I want to believe that I exist or something exists. I consider art as a way of life like religion. For me, it is what I am. It is what I do, see, imagine. It’s also the only possible way to infinite freedom.

jean scuderi 07 original painting

Because art is music, literature, poetry, architecture, painting…

Younger, I read “the society of spectacle” by Guy Debord and some other books that influenced my mind. I think that we are prisoners of appearances.

jean scuderi mask daniel russia surreal face

“The monsters are in your own head.” 
Paula Cole

Model: Daniel from Russia

But we are also projecting these images we see. We are schizophrenics and egoists dreamers.

jean scuderi the mask gilbertha gil caribbean

Model: Gilbertha from Caribbean

“I asked the Zebra, 
are you black with white stripes? 
Or white with black stripes? 
And the zebra asked me, 
Are you good with bad habits?

Or are you bad with good habits?
Are you noisy with quiet times? 
Or are you quiet with noisy times? 
Are you happy with some sad days? 
Or are you sad with some happy days? 
Are you neat with some sloppy ways? 
Or are you sloppy with some neat ways? 
And on and on and on and on and on and on he went.
I’ll never ask a zebra about stripes…again.”
-Shel Silverstein

we live in an universal consciousness / unconsciousness. language of slogans & images

which are everywhere like in “Brave a New World” and some people are trying to take the control of it in order to divide and dominate. I want to fight back with my own creation.

My art is questioning the reality.

jean scuderi 07 person in white circle painting artwork

Can you tell us about “The Mask” series?

I started to work on portraits less than two years ago. Before that, I didn’t realize many portraits with a “professional” camera. I was not really interested in making studio photo-shootings. But after a few experiences as model in Paris and my sister asked me to photograph her to immortalize her pregnancy, I started to enjoy it. Because I simply wanted to continue to do it I began to look for models. At first I took random pictures with no purpose but I had a reflection about it.

jean scuderi emilie hair fling water

Model: Emilie

Why I was wasting these canvases painting like an idiot? Would I make another exhibition? Definitely not. Why I was taking this photos of people I don’t know ? To make a portrait of them. Absolutely not.

How could I pretend that trying to record the reflection of light on someone’s face would catch the soul of it ?… and I’m not good in competitions if it’s about the best light, the best lines, the best camera….. I remember Picasso’s quote, art is a lie that makes us realize the truth…

jean scuderi muyisi

Model: Muyisi

Then I started to paint masks like the Ancients, like opera, theatre, like fashion, like Zulu.

jean scuderi mask thomas skaraoke

Model: Thomas from Taiwan, band member of Skaraoke

“Some Warriors look fierce, but are mild. Some seem timid, but are vicious. Look beyond appearances; position yourself for the advantage.” 
Deng Ming-Dao

Everyone wears a mask, or more, at least one. The one that you can’t take off, that you time to time forget and somebody reminds you. So we do put masks often, not to hide, but to show who we are. We disguise to reveal.

jean scuderi mask lily

Model: Lily from Caribbean

“Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.”
Winston Churchill 

jean scuderi mask andrea

“I’m Mickey Mouse. They don’t know who’s inside the suit.”
Keanu Reeves

Model: Andrea from Paraguay

Click to see the complete mask series of 99 photos

What inspires you?

everything in life from the perspective of a spectator:

I’m a child of Google and YouTube now… you know medias, news, movies, people, mad politicians, philosophers, believers and nonbelievers, in the nature too, animals, sky, trees, near and far,

but what inspires me most of all is the conflict. In art, I admire some surrealist artists, I like New Realism, Expressionism and urban culture. As a person, photographer Oliviero Toscani and also some painters, writers, or advertisers who wrote books and made me understand the power of the images on our consciousness.

jean scuderi double headed zebra

What projects are you currently working on?

Working as creative director and photograph on different campaigns for various local brands.

Just finished a music video for a French singer in Paris in which I did many face-paintings like in my personal work.

jean scuderi james delleck music video

James Delleck

Did a few photo-reports recently but it was just for fun and passion towards photo.

What past project are you most proud of?

I was a member of a very cool experimental video-music-art-dance and laboratory about 10 years ago ! ! ! ah-ah !

I worked in so many little projects and most are already forgotten. Projects are just a pretext to move on to look forward but there’s actually no other project but the experience.

I did video – jaying
drawing performance and photo projections
in this theatre mime in Macau in the end of 2011:

jean scuderi the butcher museum 2011

The MUSEUM museum 2011 (See the whole set here)

Have you shown any of your work in a gallery?

Galleries… Yes I did a few. but from my point of view galleries are temples.

Streets are also galleries and now is the web. Art is everywhere.

*Ed– Most recently he did an exhibition in Hong Kong at The Asia Contemporary Art Show

I have my little gallery on Facebook !

Do you have any upcoming projects?

Will maybe show old photos from Morocco in a friend’s restaurant soon.

jean scuderi camel morocco

Morocco Photo Set here

Thinking about restart V-Jaying with musicians …

Go to another country / continent and live there several years like I did here.

Solve the financial crisis… Create a New World Order, fly to the Moon…

*Ed – Some of his photos just appeared in Taiwan’s SNAPPP magazine

What direction do you want to take your art? Are there any mediums you are interested in exploring that you haven’t yet?

Cinema or Animation for sure. But I don’t have many connections yet !

YouTube Preview Image

Do you sell your prints or paintings? Where can I buy it?

I do sometimes, when I have exhibitions. ..

But, concretely, you have two options: you can command me a painting or a portrait writing to me directly or you can copy and paste the works I regularly publish on the internet. Internet is the next human universal consciousness.

jean scuderi cafard

Visit his website and fb page:

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