Interview by Roberto Salas
After several years in the creative team of a French fashion publication, Claire now devotes her full time to illustration. Collaborating with various fashion brands, press editorials, music bands and independent publishing houses, she also exhibits throughout Europe. Her work is mainly inspired by the conjunction of visible and invisible, exploring the various gates that link these two spheres.
R. Your work shows an almost obsessive attention to detail, full of repetition, and symbols that are quasi religious. Do you see drawing as a spiritual activity? Like a mantra?
C. It's surely something that drives the whole creative process, like a sensitive framework through which I explore ideas of belief, devotion and obsession. I really consider drawing as a way to access things, whatever they are. Also putting myself through a painful and obsessive process helps me develop the entire subject, like for this last work about the inner patterns of claustrophobia.
R. To expound on the previous question: Ethnic influences are present in the frames of your designs and in their geometric patterns. Can we speak of an influence of pre-Columbian art or Arab art tracery in your work?
C. I find it difficult to point towards a specific influence, but I could say that lately, I've been very much into aboriginal art as well as mandala's symbols and construction. I see influences more as a path with different levels, it all depends on where you start digging, there's always a starting point that leads you to another level with a key that will help to receive the following. Actually, the real interesting thing is to look at the path it traces.
R. Some of your drawings have a sinister and surreal undertone…don’t you think they contrast too much with the delicate prints of some of your glasses, which are so feminine and cheerful?
C. These specific pieces you speak of were done in collaboration with SUPER sunglasses. In these commissioned cases, I work in direct contact with their creative team. Sometimes there is a more personal and free approach with the design; in others I put my touch in a precise request their creative team has.
R. How is your current relationship with fashion?
C. I worked for a few years as a stylist and journalist. Now as an illustrator, my main clients remain in the fashion industry. It's certainly because I came from there that I was very reluctant to combine illustration with it, but it finally helped me to detach myself from what I was doing and understand that you either choose to hide your work for the rest of your life or you accept that this relation does not remain solely exclusive.
R. In your illustrations, nature is not always an idyllic; for example, your animal drawings are reminiscent of the surrealist bestiary of Jim Woodring. Do you see yourself as a comic book author?
C. I never saw drawing in a narrative way or through a linear story. I feel extremely new in this field, and for now, I just consider the drawing as a one shot thing, a subject that I try to develop and expend for a simple personal purpose.
R. For the short amount of time you have spent doing illustration, you have a unique style and fledgling personal mythology. Is this the result of years practicing in the realm of fashion magazines?
C. My need to draw always stayed very clumsy and repressed and I would say that working for fashion just keys it in a little harder. I had to quit to see it unblocked right after. Everything made sense and I spontaneously drew with this current style… I am still experimenting.