Christophe Vacher

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Christophe Vacher

 
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Christophe Vacher is a French artist who has provided backgrounds, visual development and art direction for Disney, Dreamworks, Universal Studios and the animation industry since 1989. He worked in many small animation studios before joining Disney's Paris-based animation unit for three years, where he painted backgrounds for such animated films as "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", "Runaway Brain" and served as head of background for the 1995 feature, "A Goofy Movie".
Relocating to California in 1996, he continued his association with Disney, where his credits have included painting backgrounds and concept artwork for "Dinosaur", "Hercules," "Tarzan", the Stravinsky Firebird finale for "Fantasia 2000" and "Treasure Planet". He also worked on Dreamworks' "Shark Tale" doing concept Artwork and paintings.

In 2004, he became Art Director, first on a CG animated short movie for Studio Arts in Los Angeles, then for the animated segment of Disney's live action movie "Enchanted", and eventually for the CG feature film "9", produced by Tim Burton and directed by Shane Acker. He now shares his time between personal artwork for galleries, covers for books, cds and video game, and movie studios work.

He lives in Toluca Lake, California and frequently travels all over the world.

On his personal work:

"It is hard for me to discuss my own work; like your own handwriting, it is something that, at this point, is simply a part of me. People often ask me: 'What inspires you to paint?' or 'What's the meaning of your paintings?' Well, my work is mostly inspired by music, travel and personal experiences. Each painting can either put you in another world, in the middle of a book story or simply be the expression in symbols of my inner feelings. "The Messengers", for instance, was painted after my first trip to Ireland in 1995.

"The Rebirth" was partly inspired by my moving to the USA in 1996. Pieces like "The Canyon", "The Legacy" or "Mount of the Immortals" are more abstract in their meaning and express more personal reflections.

In terms of technique, I generally work on canvas prepared with two coats of gesso. I do a pencil sketch on paper, then on the canvas before I start painting with oils and alkyds or acrylic.

Even though animation has helped me a lot in practicing my skills, my personal style is influenced by old schools like the Hudson River School, The Romantics and the European Symbolists for their grandiose, theatrical scenery; my style has also been shaped by contemporary artists like Sandorfi, Beksinski, Ugarte and The Visionaries (Les Visionnaires) in France. All of these I credit for their striking visions."

Here, you will find what my other activities are when I'm not painting on canvas or on the computer or traveling.

MARTIAL ARTS

This is the flip of the coin, my parallel universe: since the age of 13, I have been living in the world of martial arts. I trained in Judo, Vietnamese and Chinese Kung Fu, Japanese Karate, Savate, Yoseikan Budo, Taekwondo, English boxing, Kick boxing, Thai boxing, Jeet Kune Do, Shoot fighting, Hapkido, Brazilian Ju Jitsu and Filipino sticks/knives fighting with all types of teachers, from bouncers to cops to military personel.

I am a certified 3rd degree Black Belt instructor under the Dohyun International Hapkido Federation in Seoul, Korea. I also have a 1st degree Black Belt in Japanese Karate, and continue to practice regularly Hapkido, Brazilian Ju Jitsu, Filipino sticks/Knives fighting, and occasionally Thai boxing. To me, it doesn't matter what martial art you practice or what belt you wear. The main point is: make sure your techniques can work in the street, and train hard.

FITNESS TRAINING

Although I had always been into martial arts since a young age, my focus had been primarily on technique, not necessarily on fitness. After decades of practice, my body had been through multiple injuries and my metabolism was changing. The quality of my training was getting weaker and I was slowly but surely gaining witght. At that point, I decided to shake things up. Gathering years of experience in the fileds of sports and martial arts, I put together a personal system that is aimed more towards health, fitness and conditioning. It can be used separately or as a complement for pure martial arts training.

The program is based on a mix of cardio exercises (eliptical machine, jump rope, running, intense martial arts, or anything that can raise and maintain moderate to high cardio vascular levels) and muscle resistance (weights or any kind of anaerobic training), along with proper diet (what and when to eat) and stretching. In order to reverse the downhill process my body had been going through, I started to train everyday (instead of 3 or 4 times a week) and modified my eating habits.

Within a few months, I dropped 18 pounds and gained muscle. I am now slimer, leaner, stronger, faster and more flexible than when I was 20. I feel better than I've ever felt. The system worked so well that people now ask me for advice and coaching. It is also a system that can be adapted to anyone's likes or needs, no matter what age or physical condition, as long as you understand the basic principles. It changed my life in many ways, and I believe it can do the same for anybody, provided, of course, that you dedicate yourself to it completely for at least the 3 first months (the hardest ones). After that, it is mostly maintenance.

OTHER STUFF

My other interests are varied. I have been a Swing dancer for a long time, although I spend most of my dancing time with Salsa now. I also took horseback riding lessons for 3 years, but seldom have the time to practice anymore. You can't do everything.

Finally, last but not least, I cook. Mostly French, of course, but I like to try other things and am very open to exploration. I try to never forget that eating is one of the very first pleasure of life, and cooking for yourfriends is one of the best ways to show how you appreciate them.

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