Today's desks come from two friends of mine who are wonderful artists in La Gacilly, which is a beautiful little town in the Brittany region of France, not far from the mythic forest of Broceliande. La Gacilly is as full of artists as our own little village is here on Dartmoor, and thanks to the Two Legends project, there is now a lot of backing-and-forthing between the two places. Long may it continue.
The first desk (above, and in the next four photos below) belongs to doll-maker and multi-media artist Virginie Ropars. Virginie earned a Masters degree in graphic art, then worked in the computer game and animation industries (for TV cartoons) before discovering a needed to make art with her hands, not a computer, and to express her own aesthetic vision. She now creates works that fall in the interstices between sculpture, doll-making, fashion design and illustration, using a variety of materials to reproduce the enchanted characters and worlds that haunt her imagination. Her figures are bright and dark by turn, beautiful and broken, capricious and transcendent. Her art has been exhibited all throughout Europe, Russia, and the United States; profiled in many magazines and journals; and honoured with the Spectrum Silver Award.
"I have this room dedicated to my work," she says; "I also have another spare room with shelves covered with boxes full of fabrics and working stuff."
"I bring all I need for a new creation in my working space and when it is finished I put everything back into boxes. I always need to start a new project with a clean space, which is why sometimes people visiting find my studio 'neat'."
"I can't work without a wall in front of me, as it helps me to focus on the work only, but I cover it with pics of things I like: works from other artists, a bit of my work too, and inspiring things. I sometimes leave books open on the tables all around while I work; it is always good to have beautiful and inspiring things surrounding you."
"My cat keeps me company from time to time between naps. I watch dvds while I sculpt, or listen to music. I don't like working in silence. Despite living in a small town, I can see the woods through the studio window. In spring time and summer I work with the window open, and it is like working outside. I especially love hearing the birds' songs."
Our next desk belongs to David Thiérrée, whose art is also thoroughly bewitching. David is a self-taught artist who has been working as an illustrator since 1989, his commissions ranging from CD covers to book illustrations. He works in a variety of mediums, often combining watercolours, pencils, and computer techniques to achieve his enchanting style of mythic art. He finds inspiration in the work of Alphonse Mucha and the Art Nouveau movement; turn-of-the-century illustrators such as Arthur Rackham, Kay Nielsen, and Edmund Dulac; and comic book artists ranging from Windsor McCay to Charles Vess. His first art book, Mondes Imaginaires, (which many of us are eagerly awaiting), will be published by Spootnik next spring.
"Here's a picture of my ridiculous work place," he says about the photograph above. "I can hardly find enough space for a A4 paper sheet, but, I don't know why, that's the way I draw. In a urge, between two other things to do, while thinking of a lot of things, with not enough room for my own body."
Above: "Pencils, pencils, and more pencils... I need to display nearly all the spectrum when I work, to try anything possible to save my work from mediocrity."
Above: "Work done, work in progress and work to do all gather in a small space. My workspace is tiny, because it's not so important. I learned to draw everywhere, anytime, and my surroundings aren't so important in fact. I can draw in a rolling train, while talking with people, or on the phone, in a bar, at friend's places, during parties, or with my kids running amok around me."
Above: "Computers, printer, and more pencils...."
Above and below: "Another part of the space in which I live and work... Books, books, music, old boardgames, reading rabbit, and more books."
One of David's enchanting drawings is below (I love this big, clumsy fellow), and more can be seen here.
More desks anon.
All readers of this blog are welcome to contribute to the "On Your Desk" series. You'll find more information (and the address where you should send your photo) in the first post of the series.