Lanthier has been profiled in numerous publications including
Florida Design, Art Business News, Palm Beach Illustrated, Boca
Raton News and named one of the World’s Best Trompe L’Oeil
He is an expert
in Trompe L’Oeil Domes, Ceiling and Murals, his artwork and design
have won multiple awards and he is recognized by
the art industry as one of the leading original Artists.
December 2004, "The art of Trompe L'Oeil murals" a
book about his life and most prominent work was published by
F&W Publication. Now available at any major book store or
autographed personally by the artist from this website!
Yves started teaching his workshop "The Art of trompe
L'Oeil murals" in several school, (See
2007 he produced several DVD's workshops, teaching some of
his elaborated original designs.
now exhibit his oil's painting in multiple country around
the world. (See
more info) and continue creating Trompe L'Oeil projects for
special clients around the world.
by Ruth Blake.
l'oeil literally translates
from French to mean "fools the eye." One of the most
difficult of all artistic effects to achieve, trompe l'oeil demands
a meticulous attention to detail by the artist. Nuances
of light, gradations of color and correct sizing must be
skillfully incorporated so as to make the
two-dimensional work seem to be three-dimensional.
The journey that led Yves Lanthier to become a master of this
style of painting began in St. Jerome, Quebec and continued with
his travels to India
and the Himalayas in the early 1970's, through
Munich, Amsterdam, Paris and Italy, before returning to North
America in the 1980's. This vagabond existence helped to shape
the artist he has become today. "Everywhere I went, I
saw the world as a painter would see it," Yves explains in
his soft, French-accented English. As he traveled and each new
scene unfolded, he would meditate about how he would
transfer that vision to canvas- how colors would be mixed, or the
lights and shadows would fall or lines of perspective be placed
to bring those visions alive again.
Yves is a completely self-taught artist, who discovered his
gift at a very young age. "It all started in the first
grade," he says. During a drawing class, an assignment was
given to sketch a person that the students liked. "Without
any thought, I moved to the front of the class and started
drawing my teacher, portrait style (I must admit I had a little
boy crush on her, so this seemed natural!). I was so involved,
and when I woke out of my trance, to my surprise almost the
entire class was surrounding me, admiring my sketch."
Throughout his school years, Yves continued to draw and
experiment with painting techniques, poring over illustrated
books and studying the works and individual styles of the great
Renaissance masters late into the night. "Sometimes I
almost felt as if the masters themselves were there, teaching
and guiding me. I foresaw myself, through the stages of my life,
traveling to different parts of the world- living free and
fulfilling my deepest desires and passions."
By day, exhausted, he would often sleep through his classes,
though he maintained top grades. When he was 17,
his parents, sensing his lack of interest in more traditional
careers, sent him to India to visit his aunt, a missionary in
the Tamil Nadu district. The experience moved him deeply.
"I was introduced to Yoga, which I still practice to this
day, and I was taught to play the bamboo flute by Indian
musicians," he recalls. In Venares, he attended an annual
music festival which was held in large temples and ancient
buildings, creating a magical surrounding for the event.
"Everyone was sitting on the floor, with musicians on a
center stage raging through the night with their instruments. I
could not believe the marvelous and enchanted music, this
incredible hidden talent appearing right before me. The energy
and strong emotion, the constant change of rhythm in an
intricate composition, would keep everyone awake and alert
through the night, as the full moon and the lanterns revealed
strong shadows of the carved stone details, statues and
That first enthralling trip lasted for a year. After a
short-lived return to Canada, he ventured abroad once more,
traveling through Paris, Amsterdam and Europe before returning
to India and the Himalayas where he stayed for most of the
next fifteen years. In addition to French and English,
Lanthier learned to speak Hindi, Urdu, a bit of Sanskrit,
Hiking through the mountains, carrying a little flute that he
would play sometimes, he would come upon remote villages,
some rarely if ever visited by outsiders. At 6'4",
towering over the people living there but speaking their
language, he would be greeted and revered as a holy
man or even as a god. The villagers would welcome him into
their homes and he became their link to news of the outside
world. Eventually, he discovered a place called "Manali",
or "Valley of God". It was beautiful with fruit trees
that the British had planted nearly a century before. "Here
the earth was so rich, the water so pure and the local fruits
and vegetables so unbelievable, I felt as if I had never tasted
real food before." Yves rented a large house and, to earn a
little money, took in European and American tourists as
paying guests, leading them on expeditions into the mountains. He
also sketched and continued to study art. In
those days, traditional painting supplies were hard to come by,
so he worked with what he had, thinning the oil paints with
motor oil instead of the usual linseed. "I only have a few
of those paintings in my possession now, but those have darkened
considerably over the years," he says with a laugh.
In 1985, Lanthier left India, determined to pursue
his dream of becoming an artist. He followed one of the ancient
trade routes from the Middle East to Europe, traveling through
Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey, then Greece, where he stayed
for a few months, painting the vibrant Mediterranean village
scenes. After a brief sojourn in Europe, he made his
way back to Canada. At the time, his mother, a professional
caterer and business woman, was opening a disco. "This
is where I painted my first mural," Yves describes. It was
a woman's face, with her hair running along the back walls-
"a bit visionary and modern, but a mural nonetheless!"
After that, used to the warmer climates of south Asia, Yves
decided to follow his sister and brother to Florida. "I
started a little painting business," he says. "I would
wake up around 4 o'clock in the morning, work on my own painting
until eight or nine, then go to work painting the insides of
apartments." One day he answered a newspaper ad and was
hired by a group of French artists working on a Palm Beach
mansion. Initially he worked on areas already started by the
other artists, but soon he was assigned to create new designs.
He worked on that project for a year, painting trompe
l'oeil doors and ceiling designs, and embellishing architectural
elements of the home with intricate details. He also learned
that for an artist to be successful commercially, it was
important to be able to work with speed, choosing larger brushes
and laying in the details quickly.
Later, a lucky encounter at the local library with an
architect who was developing several large homes in Boca Raton
led to more commissions to create trompe l'oeil domes, rotundas
and murals. Each project took a minimum of four to six
weeks to complete, while the biggest dome took six months.
In 1998, he was hired to create exquisite trellis work,
faux stone and trompe l'oeil scenes for Celine Dion's new
Jupiter Island estate. His murals began to adorn the
East Coast mansions and estates of the super-wealthy, as
well as the interiors of large yachts.
As Yves completed designs and built his portfolio, he kept
meticulous photographic records of his work. "I always had
it in mind to do a book when I had enough material," he
explains. In 2003, he pitched the idea to North Light Books, a
prestigious publisher of art and art instruction books. The
editors were intrigued and promptly gave Lanthier a contract.
"The Art of Trompe L'Oeil Murals" was published in
December of 2004 to critical acclaim (it has a five-star rating
on Amazon.com). A lovely, full color "coffee-table
sized" book, it showcases some of Lanthier's best work and
includes step-by step demonstrations to help the aspiring artist learn
a few of the techniques that Lanthier has developed.
"The hardest part for an artist is sometimes just to
begin," Lanthier says. "taking the dirty tubes,
spreading out the materials...but then the inspiration starts-
like a song, it flows by itself- and then you come up with
Besides the classical realism of trompe l'oeil, Yves has
worked in the surrealistic style for some years, covering
large canvases with mystical scenes inspired by his world
travels. These paintings often incorporate fantastical and
mysterious characters on desert landscapes against vivid
cerulean blue skies. Lanthier will not give an explanation of
these paintings to the observer. "I
feel it was from my time in India that I gained many of the
ideas I have now. I believe I have something to say. It is
up to the viewer to decide what it means."
In the 1990's Yves began experimenting with Corel Draw as a
new medium, ultimately winning awards for some of the art that
he created with this computer program. He dismisses the
idea that computer generated art is not "real" art, noting
that the artist works with an electronic tablet and pen,
transferring colors on the screen. "It is just another
tool," he points out, "like Jimi Hendrix's
guitar." Asked if there are any other mediums that he would
yet like to experiment with, Lanthier laughs. "If you gave
me a studio with all the tools, I'd probably hammer some
Most recently, Yves has begun teaching trompe l'oeil seminars
in North America and in Europe. During intensive, five day
workshops, beginning and experienced artists complete an actual trompe
l'oeil painting on canvas, learning the secret techniques of
the master muralist that Lanthier has developed. He is
eager to pass on the knowledge he has acquired. "I
think it is important to leave some type of legacy to the
upcoming generation- that is becoming more and more rare,"
he emphasizes. Over the next year, workshops, which
include all the materials needed to finish the painting, are
being held in the Baltimore area, Mount Dora, Florida, Paris and
Italy (more information can be found at www.yvesart.com-
click on "seminars").
Lanthier paints as the mood strikes him,
with periods of intense creative activity which he describes
as "just going with the flow...like falling in love."
Currently, his work is sold online through his website, www.yvesart.com.
Art lovers can commission custom trompe l'oeil murals, purchase
original paintings, or choose any of Yves' designs and have them
printed to size on canvas (the Giclée process of color transfer
and reproduction makes owning a "painting" affordable
for all). The canvas can be hung as art, or combined with
architectural elements in the home, mimicking the look of an
authentic, hand painted mural.
What does the future hold for this gentle and soft-spoken
artist? "I am still developing as an artist and making a
name for myself," he affirms. "Greatness comes with
compassion, and an understanding of the unknown." He would
like to work on several more books that would incorporate his
art with his travel memoirs and the spiritual insights that he
has gained through his experiences. "And then I would like
to travel again," he says "back to India...South
America....Europe....it is all inspirational for my art!"