Atelier Voilà! is above all a meeting between two creative people who are determined to return to manual artistic practice. In 2018, Laura Normand and Jean-Albert Heckel, both artistic directors, created a serigraphy printing workshop in the Normandy countryside.
Together they develop a work imbued with tactile, formalist and poetic considerations, where geometric abstraction, balance and colour play a recurring role.
Q. Tell us about yourself and how you became an artist...
A. Both of us can say that we have been creative since childhood. Then we both took the path of creative studies, and it was during our artistic studies that we met. We have developed a passion for the art of composition and visual balance. This has led us to experiment with different types of artistic productions, until we fell in love with the traditional printing technique: screen printing.
Q. Describe your work in two words…
A. Love of form and craftsmanship
Q. What motivated and inspired you to create Atelier Voilà! as a collaborative artistic Endeavour?
A. As a graphic designer by training, we spend a lot of time on the computer. This led to frustration due to the lack of manual work. We wanted to combine our two passions, art and design. Having a screen printing workshop allows us to work on colour and shape by hand, to have a different approach. It is about feeling the material, making graphic compositions tangible and returning to a slower and more humane working speed.
Q. What is your creative process?
A. Our work is based on the collaboration of our two worlds. This allows us to create unexpected compositions. Most often we proceed by a set of "exquisite corpses" graphics. Each complements the other's shapes to create a balance where each element has its place. We then print our own creations.
Q. Which part of your artistic process is most exciting for you?
A. The most exciting part is without a doubt the moment when our work comes to life physically. With screen printing and this system of printing from flat color to flat color, we see our composition slowly appear. This appearance even reserves us sometimes surprises, sometimes failures... It is all the risk of the silkscreen printing which makes this step exciting!
Q. Where do you find inspiration in daily life and in your environment?
A. As lovers of form itself, our inspiration is very broad. It ranges from the shape of an architecture to the shape of a spot on the ground.
As for the technical and craft side, when we travel we spend a lot of time observing the local craftsmen. I think we are as passionate about art as we are about technology. It is certainly the relationship between the two that is our main inspiration.
Q. How do your individual practices match in Atelier Voilà!?
A. Even if we have been working together for a long time, we each have our own skills, on the one hand a certain deconstructed spontaneity, on the other hand a stability and technicality.
Q. Who are some contemporaries or figures in art history who have influenced you?
A. As a master of form, we love Ettore Sotsass, who said he wanted to create beauty for beauty with positive and even therapeutic shapes and colours. We are very much in agreement with this vision. We also appreciate the work of Auguste Herbin, who is a great French composer of form and colour.
Q. Are there any quotes or mantras that you particularly connect with?
A. "when we want we can". This sentence motivates us and leads us to believe that one day we will be able to live from our common passion.
Q. What messages or emotions do you hope to convey to your audience?
A. We do not have any messages or emotions to convey in our works. We just love the freedom of interpretation and the mystery that our works can create. That's what we think makes them beautiful.
Q. What is your favorite color?
A. Some may say it's not, but it's the black one. It gives all the intensity, depth and strength to a composition.
Q. What makes you laugh?
A. Everything! We laugh at everything and do not like to take ourselves too seriously. Everything in life is laughable!
Q. What makes you nervous?
A. The weather! We have the impression that one life will not be enough to satisfy all our creative fantasies.
Q. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A. A house, a garden, calm, green and above all a beautiful bright workshop!
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