“Inspiration is omnipresent in our daily lives, we just need to learn how to become aware of its vibrant call from within.” This is the perspective of artist Céline Le Vieux on her paintings. She believes that an artistic work is an attempt to understand beautiful things, and trying to replicate it to recreate the emotions it triggered, making this ephemeral moment last longer. Here is her exclusive interview with Luxury Indian Ocean.
Céline, tell about your sources of inspiration?
My younger self would have replied to this question with a pre-made answer, saying that during my studies I was very fond of artists like Peter Doig or Anselm Kiefer, of whom I admired the textures and from whom I took inspiration. But when I reached the production stage, it was the souvenirs of Mauritian sceneries and landscapes which took over. Or how I have always been attracted to materials and textures, and how they tends to reflect the consequences of time passing by.
However, today I believe the best way to answer is by explaining my idea of what artistic inspiration is. I believe inspiration lies in the small things which surround us, and the emotion they trigger. When we take the time to observe and try to understand the beauty around, it all makes sense. For instance, it can be prompted by the way light radiates on an object, creating interesting shadows which can spark ideas for a composition. Or how, in less than a second of inattention, we can witness a scene of a colourful life while wandering by car in Port-Louis. Or even by feeling overwhelmed in front of a nice view.
You use some techniques which captivate people by being incredibly original. Tell us more.
I do not feel like being incredibly original. Nevertheless, I try to work hard on my artistic signature – which is very important for an artist. During my studies, I managed to explore several techniques which enabled me to choose a direction where I recognise myself fully. I use oil-based paint for my artworks because of all its benefits; I can obtain the colours which I look for in an easier manner. Also, thanks to its long drying time, I can get some results which would be more complicated to obtain with other paints like acrylic.
Oil painting can indeed take a lot of time to dry, but it enables me to take a step back on what I am doing and figure out whether the painting seems unfinished to me or not.
On the other hand, I prefer knife painting. It becomes easier to adapt to spontaneous moments, small accidents, and allows more room for my artistic instincts to take over. I give it space for it to gain the upper hand. As for my attempts to incorporate other materials or techniques such as weaving into my paintings, they are a ground for experimentation, to test the boundaries of my creativity.
How did you get here?
After high school I enrolled in Parsons Paris in Paris, which later became Paris College Of Arts. After five years, I graduated and obtained my Bachelor of Fine Arts. Upon returning back to Mauritius, I was offered a great opportunity thanks to The Third Dot. They enabled me to participate in several group exhibitions and to have a solo exhibition. I was very lucky all along – with many people who supported and advised me to make the right decisions. I am very grateful for that.
I also believe that I have given a lot of myself in order to create a career within this industry. I invested a lot of working hours, constantly challenging myself to aim at better results for my paintings.
Are your origins (a Mauritian father and an Italian mother) the pillars of your creative approach?
I honestly do not know whether the origins of my parents had a direct influence my artistic approach, but it did build up my personal identity. I have always been very imaginative and I believe I was very lucky to grow in a very stimulating environment.
I guess they were the backbone of my confidence, thanks to their support and patience, trusting what I was doing. This privileged my creative freedom. I do not know if I can describe myself as passionate, because it all started out as a hobby. After putting a lot of time and effort into it my progress, I was rewarded with a personal satisfaction which I could never feel so intensely in other fields. Well, it does require a lot of practice, time and concentration. And, just as when reading a good book, I lost track of the environment I was in, living in my own little world since then. Today, I am proud to say that it is what I do for a living.
Where can we see your paintings?
For some months now, I have been exhibiting some of my paintings in the galleries of Adamah Fine Arts, located in hotels such as Prince Maurice, Maradivah or Anahita in Mauritius. But I also try to share my progress on my Facebook page @celineatelier13 or on my professional Instagram page @celine.levieux.
What are your future endeavours?
I am currently working on the implementation of several projects in Mauritius such as participating in the event The BEACHCOMBER MAURITIUS LADIES OPEN 2019 with one of my paintings. I try everything to give myself the means to compete in international contests, so that I can reach out to artists abroad and connect with them. As my job is not static, my projects are flexible and will constantly evolve.
You spread your love for painting and for your art by teaching. What do such experiences with the Mauritian public bring?
I give private tuitions at my workshop in Grand Bay. I think that teaching to my students individually can help in creating a space to build up their confidence more quickly, thus enabling them to feel free letting their creativity run wild. It is a rewarding experience, both from a personal and a professional point of view. They contribute a lot to my work, always reminding me what I learnt. I try to always hear out what they have to say, whether it is about art in general, or about my work. It is also a very important source of motivation for me, as there is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone having fun with paint. When I feel at my lowest, when I struggle with my art, they help me recover the emotion that I had when I started to paint.