By  on September 14, 2005

Who says failure can't be a recipe for success? Certainly not Alexandre Charriol, 26, the younger brother of Coralie Charriol Paul and son of the famed watchmaker, whose latest show opens this evening at the Upper East Side Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery. The budding artist, who grew up in Hong Kong and London before coming to the U.S. for college, actually flunked a class at Parsons School of Design. "They kicked me out because I failed painting," explained Charriol from his Chelsea studio-cum-apartment. "I didn't meet their standard. I didn't fulfill their requirements. They asked me to copy a Cézanne and I just couldn't do it — it's not my style."

No matter. His aesthetic, which features colorful, figurative works, has caught on with gallerists as recent exhibits in Manila, Hong Kong and Mexico demonstrate.

Charriol arrived at painting by chance (when he was younger, he used to "skip art class and go smoke") and picked it up at 17 as an alternative to essay writing. He spent time at Tufts Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the aforementioned Parsons, then set out on his own, garnering his first show at 19 in London, at the Sydney Muse.

Charriol takes inspiration from a variety of sources, including romantic relationships (he recently ended one), films and travel. This new series focuses on couples and dual figures. Just don't suggest his work reminds you of two famed Modernist artists.

"If people try to say something about my work, it's always compared to Picasso and Matisse," he lamented. "So, I mean, it's hard to compete with those guys because I do paint similarly to them, but hopefully that will change. I'm still young."

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