After an in-depth study of western Tarot lore and related
traditional symbolism, Sébastien Etievant started to grasp the
incredible power of colors and their tight relationship to the
realm of the psyche. He quickly started creating his own
Tarot Trump based acrylic canvases, deeply rooted in
Jung's Tiefenpsychologie as well as in some of Aleister
Crowley's teachings, step by step building his personal
universe and unique acrylic technique. Most of these esoteric and sometimes
morbid canvases were displayed in Paris in 2012, as part of the Attentat
In 2010, Sébastien Etiévant had already undertaken a series of long visits in Japan, which he describes as "The Country of Ghosts". He gathered a lot of inspiration from powerspots like Osorezan - 恐山 (Mountain of terror), sleep paralysis induced visions, urban legends and folk tales he collected, especially in Northern Japan (Kitatouhoku region)...
This resulted in 2014 in a shift towards an apparently
less psychology inspired and more purely spiritual form
of art he named "Goryo Shinko Painting", and which could be
trace back its roots to an ancient religion called Goryô Shinkô (御霊信仰-ごりょうしんこう),
the religion of ghosts : Japanese people from the Heian
period indeed used to believe that when properly
worshipped, vengeful spirits can turn into benevolent
Every ghost illustration needs a preliminary study, that consists of dozens of different sketches and paintings, before the ultimate canvas can be achieved... Only a painting which has succeeded in capturing faithfully enough the spirit's essence can considered by the artist as a valuable offering to the Otherworld and thus be labelled as "final".
This series of paintings also demonstrates a strong Christian influence, which can be related to the ancient Maria Kannon cult. In the same way that the mid-17th century outlawed Christians worshipped Kannon statues as symbols of Maria, the "Snow Witch" that Sébastien Etiévant relentlessly depicts in his paintings might be understood as symbols not only of Nature, but also of the sadness, benevolence and purity of Mary, mother of Christ.