“I have always felt like a storyteller, in constant search of the appropriate tools to support my narrative."
Ara Starck has always been inspired by the idea of transcendence, literally and figuratively, and sees her choice of working in the medium of large formats as an essential driving force. Born in Paris in 1978, and after a short stint at the Ateliers de Sèvres and then the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, Starck studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art before completing her education at the Slade School of Fine Art, graduating in 2002. Working within the framework of traditional painting techniques such as oils, brushes and turpentine, Ara Starck creates works that are encounters. Her stated ambition is to create a third material, an alchemy of the canvas, unique to both artist and viewer.
In 2008, Starck painted the large canvas of the Hotel Meurice in Paris. A complex game in which the human is the central figure, where brown-sienna figures move in a phantasmagorical world of gold, the white ground speaks of the intangible, an invitation to dream. The work thus reflects the intense life of the interior redesigned by her father, Philippe Starck. For her first solo exhibition in 2008, Starck invited viewers into a diagonal world where argument and action reveal a mental space, where absence is richer than presence, and where Starck’s optical aberrations and distortions reveal a richness of ghostly movements. In 2009, as a continuation of the pictorial and technical research that led her to create “moving pictures”, Starck exhibited a series of works in charcoal on paper. Additionally in 2009, Starck was invited to work for the Palazzina Grassi Hotel in Venice, a space for which she created a multiplicity of poetic interventions that one surreptitiously discovers on their path.
In 2011, the French company Baccarat invited Starck to create a scenery to honor and celebrate the 170th anniversary of Harcourt glass. Black Checkers revisits the myth of the game of checkers in the form of an allegory. Additionally, in 2009, Starck worked with the passionate winemakers behind the project Terra 6840, for whom she sculpted an innovative and poetic bottle. Starck has also completed a monumental canvas for the Biljoke Muziekcentrum in Ghent, Belgium, taken part in a cultural and artistic project, Silk Me Back, which paid homage to the traditional Japanese art of the silk kimono, created a grand painting for the ceiling of the SLS Hotel in Miami and created murals for restaurants Kong and Stern, both in Paris, among other works. In 2013, her passion for ballet led Starck to collaborate with Nouvelle Affaire fashion designer Pascal Humbert on a narrative project on the ballerina. This intimate dialogue between Humbert and Starck generated a limited-edition ‘tutu’ dress, presented at the September 2013 Paris Fashion Week.
In addition to her painting career, Starck is also a founding member of the band, ‘THE TWO’ with David Jarre. In October 2014, Starck was invited by Lulu Gainsbourg to feature in his new album Lady Luck. Their collaboration has been crystallized in the song ‘It’s Always Something’, released in February 2015.
Starck is deeply involved with various different foundations and associations, such as UNICEF, La Source, the Watermill Foundation and Silk Me Back, annually creating paintings or objects for auction. She currently lives and works in New York.