My name is Jean Diorama, I am French but that's irrevelant, I was born in 1970, I speak English and a little German and always liked to be on my own.
I created my first true diorama one day of September 1979 with some Airfix 1/72 soft plastic figs and a cardboard made British Churchill tank complete with static grass used for railway modelling. This started a long series of mostly world war two 1/72 dioramas that ended up when I found out that this kind of warlike hobby was really unfashionable with girls, so I wisely slipped to Science fiction stuff, I was still probably seen as being a creep but at least not a dangerous one anymore.
I built my Games Workshop figs and dioramas for quite some time, but then around University I started to really slip from conventional scenes to more abstract stuff using some Prince August Middle Earth figs. I eventually found out that I could empty my mind and express a lot of feelings in my dioramas, and I started to literary pour my life into these.
From purely historic or movies inspiration, my ideas I found while listening to music. From 1/72 or 1/48, I finally switched to the 1/35 scale when I realized that it was the perfect scale for human drama.
I then realized I wanted a complete freedom with my dioramas; relativize the whole idea of "accuracy" and generally speaking suffer no artificial limitation in my hobby.
Back after the military service, I started to build dioramas in 1/35. The mood of my dioramas had significantly lifted during those years but a rather chaotic life led me to cast a dark shadow over my work which quite a few years later is still there even though I run a rather happy life these days.
At one point (after Abbey, Untitled 3 and the subsequent one that I still didn't photographed) I fell I was reaching a dead end and the quality of my work plummeted. So much indeed that I put the 2 last of the series to the dustbin. Then I stopped modelling.
This was fortunate as I had met my wife, changed town and learned stuff in order to pay the rent in a better way than before.
Though the pause ran for 5 years from 2000 to 2005, I never really stop to model in my head, so when i started back again the new ideas were there, there was new tricks I had devised and my will was further fed with a lot of revenge.
My ideas had evolve. Indeed I tried to get more subtle about those. I realized I didn't like any more being tagged "SF" or "ships" or or whatever, my new world was to be set in some historical past but slightly warped. Guys into SF would like my stuff because of the otherworldly moods, guys into boats or whatever would like the dioramas because I am dead accurate. In the meantime I started a process which would lead me at some point to stop completely relying on products available on the market models or figures.
These days my main goal is to completely evade from the traditional modelling schemes. I don't evne care anymore to tell stories with my dioramas. I am now into moods, I want those to be strong enough that my dioramas could appeal to a much wider public than the modelling world.
As for today, my views toward my hobby can be summed up in 10 propositions :
1 -The diorama is everything modelling is about, it's the meeting point of the manufactured object that is the model and the human input, you can and have to- tell stories with dioramas.
2 -When doing your diorama you should not be influenced by any trend or by any fellow modeller for you will only reproduce pale copies of originals.
3 -You should instead be influenced by EVERYTHING; a trip in nature, archive footages, paintings, music you should never consider this list to be closed.
4 - tuez pour l'ambiance. If nothing shines from your diorama, you miss your point and just picture an assortment of junk and people.
5 -You should remember that a diorama is a 3D thing whose advantage is that you can turn it around and get different perspectives of the same scene. You will therefore make an effort to not close the view of any part of it.
6 -You should remember that the nature surrounding a panzer is equally as important as the panzer.
7 -Make your point short and clean, don't loose time detailing stuff that nobody will see afterwards for you want to show a project in its globality, don't scatter the scene in sub scenes which will only destroy the focus on what you want to truly show.
8 -Whenever dealing with war you should treat it with conscience: you should remember it's a sad thing that destroys a man, even if he survives it. Avoid above all any temptation for historical revisionism -even slight.
9 -Never use anything out of the box, this being a product or a technical trick somebody else got.
10-You should try to do something you can be proud of and remember that a diorama may be seen as some piece of art if your input in it is strong enough.
About my presence to shows and exhibition
For years I didn't went to exhibitions because I didn't feel in the mood. But then I changed my mind lately and am more open to the proposition.
The thing is, I have no budget at all to pack my dioramas and go at any place, I don't like leaving my wife taking care of the boys alone and I can't even drive. So don't wait for me at any shows that would be beyond my walking abilities, which are roughly 20 kms around Lyon 05 on a good day.
In short, I can travel with my dioramas, but you have to invite me. I can do nice "let's do water in scale" shows.
Where to find me
In Lyon, giving computer programming courses. I also "expose" when I feel in the mood at the Lugdunum which a figure orientated show in the 8th arrondissement every year in february.
Yes I can do the water for your ditched plane, or the terrain for your tank.
Dioramas for sale
Yes they are. I don't want to build my own museum around me. They don't have any price tag on them so please make an offer.
Jean-Bernard André, winter 2013