Most artists have a favorite medium, what is yours?If you work in multiple media, which one is the most enjoyable for you?
For more than 25 years my favorite medium has been putting ink on people’s skin. Now I love oil on canvas and is what I mostly work on.
Do you have any secret shortcuts?
I did for tattooing,when I started nobody wanted to teach me,so I had to find out techniques by myself, 25 years ago female tattoo artist in France was just hell. Tried everything to solder needles,from super-glue to blowtorch. SoI opened up a shop and threw myself at the deep end of the pool,soon after I started attending conventions and finally got help and advice from others.
You’ve sold work before? What was the first thing someone bought from you, that you made? How did it feel to sell that piece? Are there pieces you keep hidden away, or keep for yourself, and why?
Before tattooing I was a fashion designer,sold my collections all over europe to big companies and had the great pleasure to see my clothes worn by unknown women in the street! At the time I did everything in watercolours.
Working with people is sometimes the hardest part of art. How do you deal with (commission requests/demanding tattoo clients/bad art ideas/people asking if you have a real job)?
As a tatttoo artist I first made 2 big mistakes,the first one was to do exactly what people asked and be ashamed of the result,second was to try to be painless,that led to frustration.
What jobs did you have before you started arting? Did those jobs influence the way you approach your art now?
My drawing always fed me,first as a fashion designer,then make-up artist,tattooer and now painter.Some days inmake up I was bored to death (as in TV news make-up)
Do you think there are any new ideas in your field that are worth pursuing?
Definately,but I’m so old school that these ideas won’t come from me! That’s why I enjoy so much exhibitions and museums,I also think old stuff in museums can be used as new means,same goes for tattooing,as you see dot work and the come back of hand tools.
How do you feel about using projectors, tracing, and photographs as reference for your work? Do you use these? Do you think it’s cheating if you use your own sketches or photographs to start out with? And, what do you think of camera obscuras, camera lucidas, and other optical aids like grids, for perspective and proportion?
For oils I use photographs and then alter them as I go along my painting that way I keep a realistic base,all shortcuts are good,just have a good look at freehand tattoos that look like shit.Grids are great for proportions,why not use them when you paint?
Have you taken any formal art classes? Have you had a mentor help you? Do you have “spirit artists” to guide you? (artists, living or dead, who you do not personally know, but to whom you look for inspiration or answers)
I took drawing classes from the age of 6 simply because drawing was all I did at school,the teacher said to my parents to do so otherwise I couldn’t carry on at school. A lot of my favorite artists are old and famous (for a reason I guess) like Davinci Toulouse Lautrec,all the symbolists ones like A.Mossa. In the tattoo world it’s different as we have now young and so talented ones like Emily rose Murray,Erin Chance and so many more.Beatrix Potter is my hero.
Do you make prints or reproduce your work? Do you like galleries? Do you hang your art in bars or coffeeshops? How do you feel about public exposure to your work? Does it make you nervous to be in a spotlight, or do you enjoy it?
I make prints of my paintings (oil and acrylics) I sell my original watercolours and print Flash for tattoo artists (watercolours) I’m only nervous at tattoo conventions,not at all with my paintings,a tattoo is on a person and I feel the weight of being responsible,sometimes it’s a weight on my shoulders and I worry (too much)
How many hours a week do you work? Counting research, sketching, cleaning up, framing, promotion, etc. Do you think you get paid a decent wage for this? Do you think it matters, as long as you’re enjoying the work?
for tattooing I’d say I worked all the time and loved it.Now I’ve taken a break and only do oils I take my time and have no schedule.The only decent money I ever made was from fashion design and make-up.
When you began, what was the hardest thing to learn?
My favorite medium today being oils,I only started about 3 years ago,a friend showed me how to do it and I now feel it’s easy,so easy compared to all the rest,especially tattooing,you don’t like what you did? paint over it and presto! I think I find it easy because I was finally ready to start at the age of 47!
When you began making art, what was the hardest thing to do? What mistakes did you make? Do you have pictures of any of those mistakes you can share? How did you solve that problem?
When I started tattooing it was awful,I can still see it on my son’s dad,one of my first tattoos (a snake) that he always refused to cover up ,I don’t have picture but it really is horrible.
Do you have a site where you sell your work? which site, and how do you like it?
I sold stuff on rebelsmarket but they are beginning to work more with brand names and clothing,so I will soon close my account.
Anyone you want to give a shout-out to?One or two names only…
Oscar Arroyo for inspiring me to paint and Toulouse lautrec for my decision to become an artist.I have loads of tattoo artists to thnk for helping me when I was lost..
When you aren’t working, what are you doing with your time? Do you have any hobbies that are totally apart from your creative work, or does your art tend to creep in to your recreation time?
Disneyland, but then I come back with all sorts of books,so to me you find art in everything,nature,books,movies ,live music. I am 50 years old,french. I moved to california in 2010 and worked in 2 tattoo shops. 2010 got me diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer,I was alone in a foreign country,no family,no friends.
I struggled for about 10 months and went back to work,happy as Larry,started painting more and more but things went a bit wrong (like getting my green card took too long/huge medical bills)I stated to isolate myself and moved back home with a big depression and agoraphobia that make me unable to tattoo right now. I found nevertheless a new passion,I paint pets on commission,oil or watercolors,I also get free medical treatment since I am french.
You find me on facebook at:
I use the second one for my animal portraits under the name of Lili Chihuahua,you can get in touch with me there. I take paypal and do things over the net,my e.mail is picsoute at yahoo,I can ship worldwide. I want to add that I loved my time in the US (cancer and all) for the people I met,real life or internet,I enjoyed the little colaboration books we did along with other female artists and fulfilling a life-long dream of doing Marked for Life…