Born in Lisbon Portugal in 1965 Jean-Charles Cardoso´s love of art and craft started at a very young age, spending time with his father who was a stone engraver. This early fascination for creative ideas led him to study art and architecture producing a constant desire to create, and bring to life his passion for sculpture.

Jean-Charles Cardoso
Jean-Charles Cardoso

Having the opportunity to obtain an apprenticeship with the master craftsman Maurice Augier he was taught the principles of ancient techniques and skills in the craft of stone engraving and the importance of leaving his imprint engraved in stone. Now a committed and driven artist and craftsman he moved to France in 1984 where he obtained his diploma achieved his dream of becoming a stone engraver.

A successful creative career soon followed and in 1993 he was commissioned to create a Fresco in Saudi Arabia for the King Fahd Abdul-Aziz Al Saud and in 2000 he was awarded the prize for Best Craftsman of France under the category of Marble works. Later in 2003 that he received the diploma and the gold medal of the Academic Society.

Artist, craftsman and now lauded Academician Jean-Charles is a perfectionist of his art form with work that leads us into his incredible world of animals and nature using his seemingly limitless talent. Today Jean-Charles Cardoso is a sought after artist with a world-wide audience and QCEG had the privilege to interview this exceptional artist.


Please tell us how you understood you wanted to become an artist ?

always been attracted to artistic creation, whether in architecture, decoration or ornamental. My desire to create from a raw material came very early, I felt like an artist from a very young age without being able to really express it with words.

Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your path as an artist ?

As soon as my training was completed with my mentor Mr Maurice Augier I became aware of being able to ‘read’ the stone, to see it as a work to be done. There was not, strictly speaking, a pivotal moment, but rather a concentration of what I’d felt for a long time.

Tell us about your work !

For me, art represents freedom, freedom from rules and norms. That is why; by giving free rein to my imagination everything becomes possible. I look at the rock and visualise my creation; it is the work that comes to me: I remove the material to reveal my vision, my subject of sculpture. I let my mind guide my hands. I always want to explore new challenges such as working with new materials.

Can you tell us about the process of making your work ?

First of all, when an artistic subject comes to me, I research it : its intrinsic characteristics, its origin, its image, what it represents… then, I set out to find the most suitable rock, sometimes waiting for weeks, even months in the quarries to find, cut after cut, the block that will suit better : its density, its veining, etc. Finally, as already mentioned, I remove the material that hides my subject and end up with the proper polishing. Every step is different and requires focus and concentration. One mistake and it’s over - you’re done !

Why have you chosen to work with sculpture, amongst other media ?

As I told you the sculpture imposed itself on me, I did not choose it: I tend to say that it is she who chose me. In addition, I like the difficulty of working the stone where no error is repairable because when the material is removed it cannot be replaced. It is each time a challenge that fascinates me, that takes me away. I love art in general but sculpture seems to me to be the most demanding.

What are some of your inspirations? Who would you say has influenced your practice ?

Renowned sculptors such as Rodin of course, but also Brâncuși, Bartholdi, Cellini and many others… I never really wanted to be inspired by other sculptor artists even if it is very likely that their works have unconsciously fed me, nor let me be influenced. Since my beginnings I wish to follow my own path.

Do you have a favourite sculpture artist, who inspires you ?

 I would say no because everybody has his own style and I always wanted to be different and create mine.

What do you try to express in your work ?

 The forces and beauties of nature inspire me. I like to reveal these characteristics in my works to express both strength and beauty, to demonstrate that, in nature, brutal force is inseparable from beauty. This is why I create monumental works balancing the impressive mass and finesse, the softness of the forms, the beauty of the subject. 

What is your greatest indulgence in life ?

 To complete a work, for any artist, it is a fulfilment both professional and personal. We progress technically with each achievement and we live the passion without restraint. So much so that once the work is finished, I feel empty and have only one desire: to start again.

 In your opinion, what is the most difficult thing in being an artist ?

The major difficulty in my opinion is to speak about yourself in order to do your own publicity because you have to take a step back and be clear-headed with yourself and your artwork. It is often difficult for an artist to be visible, in my case my works have restrictive dimensions and weight, it is difficult to expose easily and my creations emerge when we see them, it is a paradox that I am confronted with.

What was your biggest challenge in sculpture so far ? What are you most proud of ?

My biggest challenge was the realisation of the panther head in view of the dimensions of the work as well as the different materials used - such as jade for example. My greatest pride was to win the competition of the best French craftsperson of the year in 2000 with the Ramose murex. This contest was an important challenge for me, especially since the subject was imposed on me which accentuated the difficulty.

What have been the challenges of your career? Hardest jobs or most difficult clients ?

One of the most demanding challenges for me was to work at a height of 8m in Saudi Arabia for King Fahd in 1993 in order to realise a mural fresco. I was not easy at all but I managed to finish it earlier than scheduled.

Throughout my career I mainly retain 2 very demanding clients: the first was the Sultan of Brunei with the creation of a malachite table with geometric assemblies and then the Emir of Qatar with the creation of eight bathrooms in his personal apartment on the Rue de Rivoli (architect Jacques Garcia) renowned for his tailor-made work.

 Can you please tell us about your collaboration with Victor Spahn and Ferrari ?

It is above all an artistic encounter. Victor Spahn and I share the same passion for realism leading to impressionism. His ability to give movement and my ability to represent strength was the trigger for collaboration. Both passionate about motorsport, especially Formula 1, we decided to carry out a joint project in this direction. And who better than Ferrari, avant-garde, highly technical, and who could customise the Formula 1? The chosen model, the SF70H, is the 70th single-seater in line at the F1 World Championship; it was an opportunity for us to pay tribute.

What is your definition of success ?

Success means to live your dream for me you have to take an idea and to live with it no matter what happen because it will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. With each step you take your learn something and get better to follow excellence.

Which piece of your artwork would you like to be remembered for ?

For La Féline of course. This is my masterpiece, my signature work. The one that took me the longest to achieve, that brought me the most technical challenges… and that fulfilled me the most.


Where would you hold your dream exhibition ?

already exhibited in prestigious places (Carrousel du Louvre, Bal de la Rose in Monaco but also Verrone, Colmar, at the Ministry of Labour) but I would stick with an exhibition in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. Football has always been a passion for me and the World Cup is one the most prestigious sporting events in the world. I also like the idea of a fashion luxury event with Philipp Plein because of its unique universe and personality.

What is your next project ?

I would like to create a monumental scorpion and a painting on music.






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