GET TO KNOW MARGUERITE
When did you discover your passion for art?
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been a very creative type and loved tinkering. I was into drawing and constructing small mock-ups of houses for which I’d design paper characters, creating a fictional universe to escape reality… I’d also collect a ton of small, unusual objects, that actually belonged to my mother, to exhibit them like pieces of art.
But I think the decisive moment was right after having seen the Niki de Saint-Phalle exhibition at the Grand Palais in 2014. It was then that I said to myself that I wanted to paint and create pictorial fables in the same way that she did.
On a day-to-day basis, what inspires the art you create?
Most of all, it’s the exhibitions I visit. I also discover a lot of artists via Instagram. I have my favorites, like Christine Safa for example. She’s a friend of mine that just graduated from Beaux-Arts, creating sumptuous portraits.
Then there’s artists like Jockum Nordstrom, Justin Lee Williams and Naudline Cluvie Pierre, but I’m also very inspired by Jeroen Bosch’s paintings and Rodin’s sculptures.
Above all, inspiration comes from whatever happens around me. This can be a captivating discussion that gives me an idea or a fascinating film, like “Boys Don’t Cry”. Also, books or podcasts on the topic of feminism, a subject that I’ve been very interested in the past few years.
How would you describe your work to someone that hasn’t seen it before?
Much of my work is oil on canvas or on wood. At the same time, I also create dimensional work, like clay vases or rocks painted with oil paint. Those are often very colorful and rather small in size, but I like to challenge myself by creating larger pieces every year.
I mostly paint women that are naked or in bathing suits that seem very tranquil at first glance. They evolve in dreamlike spaces and go about their business. Sometimes they’ll make you smile;they’re carried by the water, they’re scratching themselves, they jump, they shave their legs. They’re not worried about what other people may see, their legs are open, their bodies abandoned.
I like putting them next to animals: reptiles, jellyfish, sea urchins, mussels. Those are some of the metaphors that I enjoy playing around with.
Is there a specific message you want to articulate with your art?
Little by little, I’ve been forced to confront what I paint, to decipher my work. The theme of the female body comes back every time. By depicting women in a space where they can be naked when they want to be, without fear of being watched or judged by the male gaze, I transcribe my relationship to that body.
The message would be to give women total and complete freedom to do what they want to do and be who they want to be, without having to fear for their lives, their bodies or what others may think.
As an artist, what is your biggest challenge?
I believe that it’s very important to not narrow yourself down to one style. To stay open, to try new things, to experiment continuously, even if what you’re doing works well commercially. Also, it’s a challenge to paint and to be productive every day, with power and energy. There really are slow days or periods that alternate with very productive ones and that’s frustrating.
How would you describe the way you dress, your personal style?
This made me laugh because I don’t feel like I have a specific style. I love colorful total looks and combinations, very oversized sweaters in alpaca or other yarns that you can wear as a dress, very showy faux vintage earrings and so on. But my style is actually pretty basic, with plenty of vintage and secondhand pieces: high waist jeans or other pants in very solid fabrics with a high waist, Converse sneakers, tank tops...
Do you think your art is reflected in your style?
I dress quite soberly but I love finding unique pieces in the same way that I love painting objects that I find to re-appropriate them.
What’s one accessory you can’t do without?
A hair elastic or a headband or scarf to keep my hair out of my face while I’m painting. I love scarves because often their designs were made by artists or painters.
If you had to describe Bellerose in 3 words, which would those be?
Gentle, elegant and strong.
What vintage pieces would you combine with our knit sweaters?
High waist pants, with straight legs and a very tight fit on the waist. In the summertime I’d go for one of my denim dungarees.
Any tips on where to go vintage shopping in Paris?
Free’p’star in the Marais area, Guerrisol, Mad Vintage (in the 6th), Kilo Shop… But even better than those is going to Emmaüs, stocksales, flea markets on the outskirts of the city or in the countryside. I’ve found lots of gems in Normandy for example. Otherwise for the vibe and coffee: The Saint-Ouen flea market or the Chatou fair!
Thank you Marguerite.
Find our friend with style on Instagram here: @margepiart