Thursday, 13 December 2012

Updated Etsy shop

For anybody who may be interested, I've updated my Etsy shop with listings for the new zine.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Colouring Outside The Lines issue 6

After only a measley 3 and 1/2 years wait since the last one (!!) Issue #6 of Colouring Outside The Lines zine is out, and will be debuting at Queer Zine Fest London (UK) this Saturday.

Colouring Outside The Lines is a zine full of conversations with contemporary female artists.

This issue features interviews with
Lauren Denitzio,
Megan Kelso,
Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring,
Allyson Mitchell,
Caroline Paquita,
Summer Pierre,
Lindsay Starbuck, and
Anke Weckmann.

Thank you so much to all the artists for making this issue such a special one.

Special love to Amy Ng for her front cover artwork too.

Each copy of Colouring Outside The Lines #6 comes with a limited edition bookmark designed and letterpress printed by Jessica Spring at Springtide Press (USA)

I'll get on to selling the zines online properly once I'm back from London.

Message me if you know of anywhere that may like to stock the zine

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Colouring Outside The Lines #6

It's only been 3 1/2 years (!!), but Colouring Outside The Lines zine issue #6 will be out shortly. More news and full details coming soon...

Artwork by Amy Ng

Ana Albero interview

This interview with Ana Albero first appeared on the Pikaland Website in October 2012.

I adore Ana Albero’s work. Looking at the worlds she creates and the people she depicts, with her unmistakably brilliant illustration style, is always time well spent in my view. Ana is a Berlin-based freelance illustrator with a dizzying client list. She is also one third of the Edition Biografiktion self-publishing collective. Despite not being a big fan of giving interviews, Ana was kind enough to find the time to talk to Pikaland about her work and her processes here. Thank you Ana!

Edition Biografiktion

Hi Ana, how are you? What are you up to today?
Hi! I am fine thanks! Today I am finally answering a lot of emails after my late summer vacation, cooking my secret salmon recipe, baking a blueberry cake and meeting my Spanish girlfriends in the evening so I think I am not drawing today.

Could you tell Pikaland readers a little bit about yourself and the art that you make?
I’m an illustrator, originally from Alicante, a seaside city in Spain. I studied in Paris and Berlin where I specialized in Illustration.
Since my graduation at the Berlin University of the Arts in 2008, I work globally as a freelance illustrator based In Berlin. I also spend my time binding books, self-publishing comics and walking around in Berlin staring at dogs.

Are you working on any projects or art pieces at the moment that you could tell us about?
I am working on some commissioned editorial illustrations and putting together some top secret book projects.

How long have you been making art, is it something you’ve always been interested in?
Since I can remember, I always enjoyed drawing but I never felt like studying Fine Arts. I wanted to study something creative yet practical, so I ended up studying Communication Sciences and not being very happy about it.
Luckily I got a grant to study abroad. At the Berlin University of the Arts I discovered almost by accident the Illustration class. I always loved illustration but never thought of it as a job. I felt that to study illustration was what I really was looking for so quit my studies in Spain and applied for the Berlin University of the Arts. That opportunity really changed my life.

How did you first get started really pursuing your art career?
I started being more focused about my drawing after graduating. Leaving my much-loved educational “bubble” I realized I had to become more serious and committed about illustration if I wanted to earn my living drawing. So I started working hard on my portfolio to create something visually interesting and cohesive to show.

Together with the illustrators Till Hafenbrak and Paul Paetzel you founded “Edition Biografiktion” in 2008. Could you tell us a little about Edition Biografiktion, how you came to work together, and the projects that you have created?
Besides my commercial and personal work I am a member of the comic collective Edition Biografiktion which I founded with Till Hafenbrak and Paul Paetzel. Back then we were all still students and attended illustration class together. We became good friends and naturally we decided to come together because we all shared the wish to put out our work. The first zines (Biografiktion) we published were comic stories about celebrities, adding fictional elements. We decided to start a second series called Human News whose theme varies in every issue and which is more focused on Illustration. To produce our artwork we use the printing techniques which are easily at our disposal: silkscreen, linocut and reprography.

Is it important to you to work within such an art community?
Of course! There are many advantages in working in a group. As we lack financial resources we can’t pay others to do the printing for us. All the processes of the production are also very time consuming. As a group we can work together and share the workload. Even if we do most of the production process by ourselves there are still costs for materials like paper or inks also booth costs on comic festivals can be shared. Another advantage is that working in a group gives each of us bigger recognition and exposure.
We try to motivate each other in our work, also helping each other and offering constructive criticism. The best of it is of course spending lots of time with good friends.

How do you balance your time between working on projects with Edition Biografiktion, your solo work, and ‘life’?
Unfortunately, time management is not one of my strengths. I spend most of my time drawing right now. I prefer to work on two projects at a time to be able to switch between projects and have a little “break” that way. I tend to be more productive under time pressure which leads me sometimes to overwork myself. Nevertheless, I try to keep the pens down on the weekend, it is important to disconnect from work and enjoy some free time.

Do you have any top tips for overcoming procrastination? (I’m a huge sufferer of procrastination and I’m left with endless still-to-do lists as a result).
Oh, sorry no tips… I also suffer from chronic procrastination!

What’s your work space/studio like? Do you tend to surround yourself with things/images/artefacts to keep you company or inspire/ motivate you?
I tried to work in a couple of shared studios but I ended up working mostly at my studio at home. Maybe it is because I prefer a more cozy atmosphere to work till late in the evening. I live together with my boyfriend who is also an illustrator but you never could tell that seeing our apartment. We own tons of stuff, gorgeous prints and frames to hang but for some reason our apartment is sadly under-decorated. Actually that is one of our perpetual New Year’s resolutions.

Can you disclose a bit about the creative process behind your art making? Also, what techniques of illustration do you most prefer to use; what are your tools and materials of choice, and how did you come to work with them?
I start doing some rough sketches to figure the composition out and then I keep working on that drawing using transparent paper layers until the illustration is ready. When I work on a designed topic I do a research first.
I work mostly with graphite because that allows me to create a lot of different textures. Of course, I also use a computer mostly for digital coloring purposes. At university I was able to try a lot of mediums and techniques, but at the moment I mostly work with pencil and paper for my commissioned work. I also work on screen-prints sometimes and would love to do some etching again but those mediums are very time consuming so I rather would use them for personal projects.

Which people, projects, or artists have made the biggest impact on your personal life or shaped your artistic vision?
Other decades inspire me a lot, whether in the past or the future… I like to research how people and things used to look and love to imagine how everything could be someday in a weird future time. I enjoy looking at all sorts of illustrations and vintage fashion magazines. As a teenager I even used to think I was born in the wrong time period. I also find inspiration in common people and everyday life. My colleagues Paul and Till also influence my work a lot.

I find it interesting how and where people gain access to their own confidence, and self-belief. Particularly in terms of how they are able to produce and create with a sense of assurance, belief and certainty, or taking the leap to make art their central focus.
What is your personal relationship with confidence?
How did you personally learn to access your creative and artistic talents, and gain the confidence to make, sell, and exhibit your art, as well as working freelance for various publications? Is confidence over your work something that comes easily to you?
I am quite an introverted person, that means I don’t really enjoy talking about my work, I feel uncomfortable at presentations and I avoid giving interviews. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel confident about my illustration work. In fact, I think I have a strong vision of what I like and dislike, what I want to do and don’t. I am very critical and demanding of myself and I enjoy being professional at my work.

To get a feel for your geographical location/’scene’, are there any Berlin artists, events, galleries, projects, magazines (etc) that particularly excite you right now? Where are your favourite places to create or be in Berlin?
My favorite place to create in Berlin is my studio at home. I need a calm atmosphere to get things done so you will never see me doodling in a coffee shop, I’d actually be drinking something there. For exhibitions I’d rather visit an old school museum like the Dahlem Ethnological Museum than the latest super hyped exhibition opening in a gallery.

You have lived and worked in a few European countries over the years. How do your different surroundings/environments, and your attention to the details of them, affect your art and creativity?
I enjoy traveling as much as staying at home. When I get to go somewhere I prefer to explore my new neighborhood in order to run around visiting all the possible tourist spots. I really enjoy the illusion of living an everyday life in a complete new environment. I don’t keep travel sketchbooks, that’s not for me at all, I’d rather take some pictures instead. I would probably live every year in a different country if I could. I’ve lived in Berlin for over 10 years now. It is a great city to live in because it is huge but not stressful at all. I would say to live here is important for my work because in Berlin I can stay focused on it.

What are your top tips for others who wish to be creative but feel stuck, don’t know where to start, or feel like they aren’t ‘good enough’ to do so?
Frustration is normal feeling in a creative job like this. Also feeling uninspired or unmotivated… the best tip I can give is try not feeling anxious about that… take some days off, be lazy for a while but then start working hard again. For me it is particularly hard for instance to start working again after a long trip or a vacation away from my studio. The only solution is starting over again and not thinking too much about it.

What is it that makes you burst with energy, keeps you inspired enough to keep going, and makes you want to continue being an artist?
What makes me really want to continue being an illustrator (although it is not the easiest profession) is imagining myself working in a regular 9 to 5 job and being too tired to do something creative when I get home.

There’s many pieces of your work that are presented as comics strips, with panels of drawings. How interested are you in comics work?
Although I am drawing more often comics right now I still prefer to work in single illustrations because I enjoy taking more time for the composition and the drawing itself. A good illustration always tells a story anyway.

What would your dream art project be? And what do you hope to work on next?
Working with people I admire and creating what I feel like.

Thanks Ana!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Ana Benaroya interview

Evergreen Jim & Tulip: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough is the brainchild of Ana Benaroya, and it's the latest zine to be produced by Pikabooks.

I interviewed Ana about the zine and her art, and it appeared on Pikaland in April 2012.

Ana Benaroya is an illustrator, designer, typographer, and screen printer making adrenaline-fuelled, energizing, insanely bright, bold, loud and colourful work that smacks me in the face with how joyously unashamed it is. I don’t think I have enough adjectives to describe it!

Her illustrated zine, Evergreen Jim & Tulip: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough has just been published and released by Pikaland’s book imprint, Pikabooks, so we thought we’d catch up with Ana to ask more about the zine, and her other artwork.

Website | Blog | Paintings blog | Shop | Tumblr

Hi Ana, how are you? Could you tell Pikaland readers a little about yourself?
Hello! I’m doing pretty well. I am a freelance illustrator and designer working out of Jersey City. I love eating, drinking coffee, and drawing.

Could you tell us a little about Evergreen Jim & Tulip, both about the project came to be, and also the story within it?
I came up with the idea for this story while on a trip to the Pacific Northwest (Portland, Seattle, Mt. Rainier, Vancouver). It was my first time to this part of the country and I was amazed at the difference in trees and nature…and the mountains. My surroundings inspired my story…I wanted to create a romanticized version of the people who inhabited this part of the country. And of course, insert my own ridiculousness and sense of humor. I love writing love stories.

What is your history in independent or self-publishing? I’m guessing Evergreen Jim & Tulip isn’t your first zine?
I don’t have a huge history in self-publishing…though I did self-publish a newspaper with a good friend of mine called “Egg on Bread.” It was a satire on what a newspaper typically is, containing the weather, horoscopes, an advice column, etc. I also self-published a book called “Men Eating Fruit” which is a collection of paintings of nude men eating fruit, along with a short story about each of their lives. I like self-publishing because there’s no one telling you what you can and can’t do, or warning you about the marketability of something.

Do you think zines are a good way to share art, to display art, and to reach (new?) audiences or artistic communities?
Yes, I definitely think so… though the tricky part is getting the world to know that your zine exists. But there is something very magical about discovering a zine that you love… because you know it was hand-crafted and purely made. A zine represents true creative freedom and expression.

What appealed to you about working with Pikabooks?
I’ve been a big fan of the blog for a while, and how could I say no to the offer of a story of mine being published? This is my first real opportunity to have my writing and my art appear together and I’m very excited about it.

Do you think that there is a freedom, a power, and potentially fewer barriers to our creativity and opportunity due to the Do-It-Yourself and Do-It-Together nature of zines and self-publishing?
Yes, definitely. I think big publishing houses have something to learn from zines and self-publishing. Gone are the days where the public only knew what large companies decided to feed them. Now people have access to any sort of music, art, writing, or poetry that they want. And yes, that isn’t saying that everything out there is quality, but, the public isn’t stupid, and they could stand to be given a little more credit.
People more and more crave authenticity and originality. And self-publishing offers exactly that.

What’s your artistic history? How long have you been creating art? And, how did you first get started?
I have always been drawing, since I was a little girl. I was always obsessed with superheroes and collected action figures…and this is mainly what I drew. Later on I became intent on learning all the muscles and the anatomy of a human body. I would copy drawings straight out of anatomy books.

Could you share with us your progression as an artist — compared to when you first started out, how has your work changed since then?
Really the only thing that has changed is I am more open-minded now and have more experience drawing. I think the same things drive me and my subject matter hasn’t strayed too far off from what I was drawing when I was five. It’s funny, I feel like I never escape the things that I was interested in as a child.

How did you first learn to access your creative and artistic talents, and then gain the confidence to make art your career? I ask as I’m very interested in how and where people gain access to their own confidence, and self-belief — especially in terms of how they are able to produce and create what they do. Confidence is such a slippery fish. A lot of people struggle with knowing that they’re ‘good enough’ to create or make their own art, and are left unable to access their creative and artistic talents.
I pretty much always knew that I wanted to be an artist, though I had no idea how to go about doing that…or how I might be able to support myself. I always had (and still have) fears and doubts and worries…they never seem to affect me deeply enough for me to stop doing what I do. I just know that if I give up on myself as an artist, I probably would become really depressed. Drawing and painting are so entwined with my identity – I really don’t know who I would be if I didn’t have that ability to express myself through art.
And I know everyone says this, but if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. I shamelessly promote myself and put my work out there. I’d rather fail and be rejected a million times than never try at all. I never want to have regrets.

I’d like to ask about the sorts of stuff and aesthetics you like. For example, where do you work from, and what images/artefacts keep you company in your studio / place(s) of work? (Also, I’m really intrigued; is your house or studio painted as vibrantly as your work? – That’s something I’d love to see!!)
I work from home (currently my bedroom). Ideally I’d like a separate room for my studio, but for now, this is all I can afford. I have a separate studio space that I use mainly for painting and personal work…but the funny thing is I find myself often just working at home instead. I think I just like being home.
My walls are covered in paintings and posters and drawings by other artists and myself. I like to look at art over a long period of time and see what new things I discover. If I didn’t have a roommate, I’d fill ever section of my apartment with crazy colorful things…but for now it’s all contained in my room. I also have a bookshelf filled with books…the one thing I consistently have collected over the years.

Are you a collector/coveter/admirer of other artists’ work? And, which contemporary artists and illustrators do you currently love?
I definitely am. If I could afford it, I’d collect art like a crazy person! This past year I’ve started spending some money on buying work from other people…and I really enjoy it.
I love the work of Ray Fenwick, Seripop, Jillian Tamaki, Gustavo Eandi, Brecht Vandenbroucke, Henrik Drescher, Balint Zsako… the list could go on forever. One of my all time favorite artists is Jean-Michel Basquiat.

It was only when I closely looked at your website and all the different examples of your work that I realised that without consciously knowing it was by you, I’ve seen your artwork all over the place over the past few years. That said, I once read you say that, ‘I do not fit easily into any one category, though there are similarities that appear across all my work. This might be why certain art directors choose not to work with me, they can’t predict exactly what I’m going to do. But if you can predict exactly what an artist is going to make and how they are going to interpret something… what is the point? I think you should hire someone for their mind, not their style.’ You make a very convincing point!
There seem to be many projects taking their chances on you, and I know that you self-promote yourself, so how easy is it to get in there and gain work when many people are blinded by ‘style’ and preconceptions of your work?

It is not easy, but it is not impossible. I think people either love my work, or hate it…maybe it can grow on you…but maybe not. The key is to find people who appreciate me for who I am. I pretty much plan to keep doing what I’m doing and hope it continues to interest people beside myself, haha.

Is there any neon or fluorescent paint or paper left in New Jersey? – I think it’s all in your work!! What draws you to using such vibrant, bright colours, and did it feel odd to produce black and white images for the majority of Evergreen Jim & Tulip?
Hahaha… yes, I know…what can I say I love bright colors! I guess I just feel like why be boring and bland when you can be bright and exciting? At least I feel that way in my artwork, which is much louder than I am as a real person. Maybe my loud work is a way for me to compensate for being so quiet. I’m sure someone could psychoanalyze me and provide me with some sort of explanation.
It didn’t feel too odd to draw the comics in black and white…I actually enjoy taking a break from color sometimes and just focusing on making a cool drawing. Plus, I think I was thinking more about story-telling when I made Evergreen Jim & Tulip…less about other things.

There seems to be an urgency and immediacy in your work, the images jump out and pop out and demand attention. Is this similar to how the images come to you and come to be drawn in the first place?
Yes, definitely. Usually an idea will pop into my head and then I will just make it. I make drawings pretty quickly…once I come up with a concept I just do it. I am not big on revisions I like to just keep moving forward.

What puts you in the best mood for drawing? And, what keeps you motivated?
It is unclear what puts me in the best mood for drawing. Though I am definitely a morning person and feel happiest and most productive during that time. What keeps me motivated is the fear of wasting valuable time.

What techniques of illustration do you most prefer to use, what are your favourite tools and materials to work with, and, what role does computer technology play in your art work?
I always start with a drawing… usually pencil first, but sometimes I’ll start straight with ink. I use either a pen or brush and ink. Then I will scan my linework into the computer and digitally color. For my personal work I will just paint…no computer. But it varies.

How important are narratives to your artwork, I ask this as I find that your work is very often involved in story-telling, or introducing fantastic characters.
I don’t often have long expansive narratives in mind, but I definitely do think about the personalities and “stories” of the characters I draw. I want people to wonder what kind of person is this? Why are they doing what their doing? And what are they thinking? I try to make my characters expressive and emotional.

What’s the art and/or self-publishing scene like in New Jersey? Are there any New Jersey artists, events, galleries, or projects that particularly excite you right now?
There are a ton of artists living in New Jersey…particularly Jersey City, where I live. I share a studio at the Jersey City Art School where a wide variety of classes are offered. It’s a small and close creative community here and I feel like it is way more down to earth than New York City. I enjoy living close to NYC, but not in it. It’s madness and if I don’t escape to someplace more quiet, I think I’d get depressed.

How important to you (both artistically, and personally) is a local/national/international artistic or creative community?
I think being part of a creative community is important, whether it be people you see everyday, your best friends, or people you find through the internet. I like to see what’s going on around me and find a lot of inspiration in that. But at the same time, I think the most creative work is done in solitude…and I need a lot of that.

What are your top tips for others who wish to be creative but feel stuck, don’t know where to start, or feel like they aren’t ‘good enough’ to make ‘art’?
Just keep making stuff and put it on a website. You’ll never know what will happen if you don’t try. Would you rather take an artistic journey, discover things about yourself and about the world around you and possibly face “failure” (if you consider trying, failing)… or would you rather reach the end of your life and realize you’ve never done anything you wanted to do and you’ve squandered the one life you had?
Harsh…I know. But it’s the truth! Failure sucks but it’s better than regret.

What are your thoughts on the nature and exclusivity/inclusiveness of ‘art’ — Do you believe everyone can be creative in their own life?
I do believe everyone can be creative and can benefit from having creativity and art in their life. I don’t mean everyone has to be an artist…but everyone can appreciate art and benefit from ways of thinking that aren’t so linear and black and white.

Your work has been described as being, ‘full of full lips and hair and tattoos and bulging muscles, and always lots of sexual tension […] Every mark she makes draws you into her crazy, hormonally-charged, adrenaline-fuelled world’.
I know that this is a self-created fictional world, but how representative of you is your work? Ha ha- I just realised that this makes me look like I’m asking you if you’re hormonally charged and riddled with sexual tension! That’s not quite what I meant!

Haha, I think my work IS representational of me…because I made it. But, if you’re asking if my work is like my personality…it is not. I mentioned before that I am actually a very quiet, calm, person on the outside…who has a spicy interior.

What are your plans for the rest of 2012?
To keep making art and to continue trying to figure out this thing called “life.”

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Cendrine Rovini interview

This interview with Cendrine Rovini first appeared on Pikaland in April 2012.

Cendrine Rovini is a French artist making beautiful drawings, paintings, and mixed media work incorporating themes of delicacy and lightness, and they’re all kinds of beautiful! Melanie Maddison spoke with her about what she’s currently up to and how she came to make the work she does.

Website | Blog | Flickr | Etsy

Hi Cendrine, how are you? Could you tell Pikaland readers a little about yourself and what you are working on at the moment?
Hello Pikaland people, I am fine, thank you! I am a french artist and I live in the mountains of the centre of France, in a little city named Aurillac. I use to work on paper mostly, sometimes wood and fabric, I draw and make mixed medias. I am currently working on collaborations with Irish artist Jane O’ Sullivan and swedish artist Nicole Natri, and also focusing on the next big work I want to do: a mixed media on a beautiful big format tintoretto (a very fine panel of blond wood).

How did you first get started in art, is it something that you’ve always been interested in and excelled at? How long have you been creating art, embracing your creativity, and working towards developing your current style and output?
When I was a child, as every child, I spent many time drawing but I also used to secretly include this activity during the class at school, I was often immersed into my inner world, my imagination, and I used to be in love with art museums and books of images. As an adult I first taught Spanish language in a college, and I hated being a teacher. So I realized around the 30 years old that I only wanted to create, and I decided to make everything possible for it. It took almost five years for the identity of my work to appear; many years of self-education, of careful gaze on the things and people surrounding me and the memory of the hours spent in company of my father working (he is a sculptor). Finally a few years ago, the actual flow of images, or what someone could name my “current style” appeared by itself in a few weeks. I realized it when I saw that at a certain point, some formal cohesion was present drawing after drawing.

Why do you create? What is it about being creative that makes it something important for you to do?
I create because I have no other choice, and I am very bad at any other occupation. Creating is part of my personality and if you remove it from me, I may become a ghost. When I see an image first before doing it on paper, it may be a torture for me to be unable to transfer it on the visible area.

You have said that you like ‘to create drawings slowly disappearing from the spectator’s eyes’. Where did your interest in such soft, delicate, light imagery come from, and how has your art developed over the years to incorporate it?
I think this special taste came from my love for vintage photographs. You know, these fleeting sepia portraits, this little pigmentation on the old paper, the strange sweet light which seems to erase the shapes. And, as the things I see with my inner eyes come from the realm of the indistinct or hardly seen, when I want to render them on the paper, I try to make them light, so in many of my drawings there are pale colors or elements becoming transparent between the rest of the image.

You work a lot with graphite and coloured pencils, and also with mixed media on paper or fabric. What is it about these mediums that you enjoy? How do you create your images?
I love working on paper because its texture often inspires me by itself, this white and free space makes me able to almost literally “see” the contours of the image to be done. I first begin with graphite pencil, the oval of the face or the main shape of my figure and when this is placed on my paper, I merely distinguish the rest of the lines appearing, then the colors and details slowly emerge before my eyes and my hand only have to follow it.

Your work very often depicts women, and female life, bodies, and souls. What is it about femininity that draws you to capture its many guises within your work?
Women are the part of human beings I better know, as I am myself a woman! I know how it is in my body, the effect it has on my soul, the mystery and wonder about it. I love the way some women I meet in my imagination can be far from the modern stereotypes, I too love when they are undoubtedly feminine, with all the female traits, and also when they are rougher or threatening and I try to depict them as I saw them in my mind. For me there is not only one image of the woman, I love the multiplicity of the possible beauties or strangeness, and I enjoy trying to explore this. For me women are the multiple, the diverse, the possibility for the human world to be better connected to the Earth and its life, to respect it better and to feel the sacred materiality of the planet in a daily life. Our soul within our body carries so much complexity, that I could be inspired by it all my life, I think.

You work spontaneously without sketching or taking notes. Are the ideas already formed in your head before you sit down to draw?
Most of the time yes, the drawing is already in my mind; this is not an idea, this is an image existing in its totality. I often see them when I am near to fall into sleep, or the morning, when I am at the frontier between sleep and waking. I don’t think the images are born in my head, this place is just the place for me to collect them awaiting the moment to make them visible. I imagine they come from far, they were perhaps already in the head of someone else before I was able to catch them and draw?

You have recently been exhibiting work in the UK at the Duckett & Jeffrey’s gallery. I understand that this work is collaborative, with each piece being passed between you in France and another artist in the UK. Could you tell us a little about this, and the !process of working jointly on art pieces with another artist? Did you enjoy the process, and the outcomes?
This show ended last 31st of March at the Duckett & Jeffreys Gallery in Malton (UK), it was named The Spirit of Two and it presented a body of collaborative pieces with the English artist Chris Czainski. We worked about the inner initiatic path, when we are in front of a personal ordeal and the way we can know ourselves better and find new resources during such moments. We began the common works and sent them to each other so we can complete them; it was big format mixed medias on fabric, with dark felt, threads, beads, and graphite… I enjoyed working on this project because, even if our styles are different, we were like in the same undercurrent of imagination, everything was easy and natural between Chris’ work and mine.

What sort of aesthetic things do you like; for example where do you work from, and what images/artefacts keep you company in your studio / place(s) of work?
I love being surrounded by beautiful things, art or objects of the usual life, and I pay attention to the quality of the light, by day or by night, it may inspire me or place me in a peculiar mood for beginning my work. During the day, I enjoy my studio because my table of work is just in front of the window and I can see the garden, the river flowing and the streets of the city, at night I love the intimacy of the lonely light focusing on my paper and contrasting with the darkness of the rest of the room, I feel like I am in a bubble of warmth, isolated in there from the rest of the world with my nascent image. I need the near presence of the letters and gifts of my friends, artists, and of my art books.

How do you manage your time in order to devote as much time as you’d like to your art?
When my children are not at home with me, I can spend my time creating without any interruption, but even like that I need to go away from my work table several times a day, I take a break, I make myself some tea, I spend some time on the computer, I read or cook for the next meal. In a certain way it is part of my work too, all the little daily acts are important for me, they don’t separate me from the inner world. I feel lucky to have the possibility to only work like that.

What’s your relationship to confidence, with regards to making and sharing your art?
It is something related with one of the preview questions about why I make art. I just make it with my whole heart and sincerity so when I show and share it I hope that people can feel it and if the drawings touch them with heart and simplicity, I feel like the happiest artist in the world.

Which contemporary artists and illustrators do you currently like?
I have a devotion for Kiki Smith and Anne Siems, I also admire Fay Ku, Sofia Arnold, my friend Jane O’ Sullivan, I love the work by Jana Brike, Balint Zsako, Aron Wiesenfeld, Fuco Ueda, Valérie Belmokhtar, Susan Jamison…

What is the art scene like in your native France? Are there any French artists, events, galleries, or projects that particularly excite you right now?
A while ago the French art scene was mostly focused on conceptual work, and it was difficult to find interesting figurative art too… In the past couple of years, I see emerging a new movement with artists like Julien Salaud, Anaïs Albar, Valérie Belmokhtar, Bertrand Secret, the musician and visual artist Kinrisu, and the presence of young art galleries like Arsenic Gallery or Da-End Gallery in Paris (and I am happy to have had my first solo show in this beautiful and inspiring place). I love to see how imagination is at the centre of this creative scenery, how intuition and sensitivity within an intriguing sense of animality are respected and celebrated.

What is your favourite thing about making art?
I find it absolutely delightful when I feel the intensity of my desire for an image, for drawing it on the medium, when for example some mornings I am in a hurry for getting up in order to begin soon my work.