Francis Essoua Kalu – Africa

Francis Essoua Kalu, ‘Allo Maman, c’est coucou,’ 2021, Private collection.

  • How would you describe the lines in this artwork?
  • Describe are the different types of lines. thick, thin, short, long straight, curved
  • What shapes do the lines form?
  • Name some of the different shapes?
  • What colours do you see in the artwork?
  • Are the colours bold or muted?
  • Is the artwork dark or light? Explain what you think.
  • Is this a landscape or portrait?

Cameroon, Africa

Language (painting)

runny, thick, watery, sticky, liquid, dribble, dab, trail, drip, scrape, splatter, red, blue, yellow, orange, green ,purple, primary, secondary, dots, dashes, zigzags, swirls, strips, curly, broken, loopy, regular, horizontal, circular, huge, tiny, delicate, chunky

Francis Essoua Kalu is a young Cameroonian artist who lives and works in Paris. Cameroon inspired him from a tender age, with mystical colours and creativity. Having been brought up with Hip Hop rocking him to sleep, his body soon found its movement. When he arrived in Paris at the age of 10 he kept dancing, and he still dances every day. His passion has become a means of expression. In each of his paintings you find a tale, a poem or a colourful adventure embodying the fantasy of his ideal. Enfant Précoce paints and expresses himself in complete freedom.

1. You have a lovely first name, why did you choose the pseudonym Enfant Précoce?

‘Enfant’ (child) for my childlike brushstroke and ‘précoce’ (early) for my entirely self-taught profile.

2. We really liked your ‘Exhibit me’ approach, could you tell us a little more about it?

The art market is not open to young artists who want to exhibit, so, with the help of my friends from the clothing brand Walk in Paris that I’m the muse of, we took the initiative to communicate with my paintings by exhibiting them in iconic places in Paris such as the Louvre, the Champs Elysées and Montmartre… We then shot a video to reference these spontaneous exhibitions where I’m seen walking with my paintings around Paris, kitted out in a pink ‘solidorion’ set from Walk in Paris, my clogs and with an ‘Exposez-moi’ (exhibit me) sign.

3. Your paintings are colourful and full of energy, do you know where your inspiration comes from?

Inspiration is constantly around and within us. You only have to open your eyes. Life inspires me; encounters; little stories… or big ones. 

4. Do you have any major artists that influence you?

Yes: Spike Lee, Pablo Picasso, Wes Anderson, Benjamin André, Cheiky Anta Diop, Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr, Matisse and Malam.

5. What are your favourite cultural places in Paris?

The Galerie André Magnin, the Louis Vuitton Foundation and the Centre Pompidou.

6. You and your friends at Walk in Paris are very active on social media: do you think that it is a tool for artists today?

Yes, it allows a faster connection with today’s society that consumes many more images online than in a museum or a gallery. So as a result Instagram has become a virtual gallery.

7. Do you have any advice for young artists?

Believe in yourself and aim for the impossible: it’s not easy but the path is full of wonderful adventures.

8. Finally, what are your future projects?

A new exhibition soon. In the meantime, lots of love.