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Mural Paintings at Bistro Aix, London by Genya Gritchin

Bistro Aix Mural Paintings by Genya Gritchin, an Interview

I was recently interviewed by Bistro Aix regarding the mural paintings I completed in 2018 for them. Bistro Aix located in Crouch End, London has almost twenty years in business and offers tasty, authentic French cuisine, quality, well-sourced ingredients , attentive, personalized service, and a charming artful atmosphere. Whenever I am in London it is always a pleasure to dine here because of the attention to detail and freshness of ingredients.

Here is the interview conducted in November2023. Enjoy and if you have any questions regarding this or other works please leave a comment below.

So Genya, what is the painting about?

There are 4 paintings in the main room, 2 small and 2 big ones. The small ones are considered sketches for the bigger ones. They describe an artistic out of time fantasy about restaurants. I didn’t tie myself to a particular time period. On the contrary I painted an imaginary place with imaginary characters who are dressed in long overcoats.

I was trying to avoid uninteresting contemporary fashion which we are witness to daily.

In my painting I removed the walls dividing the kitchen from the restaurant in order to show this daily mystery that we can experience when we go to a restaurant. This is why on the background I depicted kitchen chefs and cooks in an exaggerated manneristic posture.

I see my paintings as a silent pantomime, a sort of silent movie.

Where does the inspiration come from?

I was inspired by the 16th century Italian Renaissance painter Paolo Veronese whose complex compositions incorporated numerous figures.

What is the connection between the different centuries?

The subject of the painting is timeless therefore there are no different centuries.

Who is in the paintings? Some look like known people, or what will be the inspiration behind?

There are numerous self portraits. I have a collection of images I’ve gathered over the years and whenever I need them I use them. These characters came from my collection of characters that I’ve collected for many years. Whenever I make a composition I go through this collection of images to create a painting.

Could you explain the meaning of the owl?

Where do I begin? The owl is considered by many as a symbol of wisdom. Metaphorically it is also able to see in the dark. It is a silent observer of the daily mystery.

Would it be possible to translate the Latin words?

Yes, they are from the 4th eclogue from Virgil:

“Now the last age of the Cumaean prophecy begins:

the great roll-call of the centuries is born anew:

now Virgin Justice returns, and Saturn’s reign”

Each character has a significant role - how would you describe them?

There are numerous characters, could you be more specific about which ones you would like to know.

What's your favourite moment in the painting?

When the man is sitting at the table with his back towards us and is putting his fingers to his mouth gesturing to keep silence.

Could you please explain the number 6 and the pyramide - what esoteric connection is?

Each symbol has 3 aspects of definition: literal understanding and the remaining 2 are esoteric. Number 6 is one of the sacred numbers in esotericism. In esoteric schools there is another explanation of sacred numbers for the inner circle of people.

In the UK we cannot touch the swan as they all belong to the queen - so is there any meaning behind the swan?

In this case, the swan is the body of Christ. One of the cooks represents Doubting Thomas who is putting 2 fingers inside the body of the swan.

How long did it take you?

These paintings took me 7 months to complete.

It was a pleasure to answer your questions and thank you for taking the time to interview me. If you have any questions regarding this or other works please leave a comment below.

Lynne Saunders, owner of Bistro Aix with Genya Gritchin in front of one of the restaurant's murals.

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