John DuPret // UK
John DuPret was born in Portsmouth, England and began taking photographs and painting when he was 12. An example of his early illustrative work won an Art Award and was exhibited alongside the work of John Piper in an exhibition in Portsmouth City Art Gallery. At 16 he won a place in the Portsmouth college of Art but was unable to take it because of straitened family circumstances so is largely self-taught.
He works nowadays in “erotic” art in his home/studio near Brighton, England, where he lives with his wife. Over the past 20 years he’s lived in New Zealand, Australia and France, and his work has been widely exhibited. In NZ his work was regularly hung in the Academy of Fine Arts, and he was considered one of the Antipodes leading contemporary artists. He has also designed trophies for 2 major fashion awards, in Australia and New Zealand.
DuPret is also known for his erotic photographic work, which has been widely published in books and magazines over the past 10 years. (See the book “Sirens”).
He is a self-confessed voyeur, which he says is the best reason he can think of for being a creator of fetish, perverse and erotic imagery. He’s also a lover of early erotic photography, and with his wife has collected a large and well known archive spanning the period 1850 – 1938. (See the book “Dark Sex”).
Many of the early photographers are known – the fetish imagery of Biederer or the salacious lewdity of Grunworth for instance, whilst others are anonymous. We do know that some of the brothels in the infamous Rue Lepic in the Montmartre region of Paris offered perverse “scenarios” for clients to watch, and take part in. DuPrets Rue-Lepic series is based on photographs created by the brothels themselves, to arouse clients, to offer choices or to sell to clients as souvenirs. In fact, many explicit photographs were created by brothels to sell as souvenirs.
Explicit, perverse and pornographic photographs like these were created as far back as 1840, and DuPret uses his archive to recreate the eroticism of these early images, using watercolour, gouache, pen and ink, adding his own intensely intricate details – wallpapers, fabrics, furniture and fittings, creating exquisite “miniatures” which give an exquisitely voyeuristic feeling.
As well as selling original artwork, he now offers limited edition Archival Chromogenic Prints.
(Note: Modern Archival Chromogenic inks are superior to the Giclee process, as they are made of pigment not dye, so the final result can be nearly identical to the original, with a similar lifespan.)