Faustine is a French artist working and living in New York. Her second exhibition, LAYERS, opens on December 1 at the One Art Space gallery in NYC.
Josette asked Faustine a few questions
What is your background?
I don’t have a background in art or art history at all. I went to business School and worked in finance for a little bit before taking the leap and started everything over as an artist! And I think this is actually something really strong in my paintings: I have developed a very unique technique that stems from my inner self, and that is not distracted by any artistic knowledge of how things should be. It gives my work a very intense feel, and a sense of integrity. I paint from my heart, working my way through a trial and error process, which gives me an unusual and yet powerful technical ability.
What inspires you?
I try not to get too inspired by other artists. Seeing what is done out there is actually pretty distracting for my own creation, and I sometimes feel I lose a sense of integrity if I get “inspired” by other artists. So my favorite art exhibitions are the ones that are completely different from what I do, like video installations!
When did you get started?
As far as I can remember, I have always been painting and drawing. As a child, I remember having sketchbooks in all my drawers, and my favorite object was a box of oil pastels that I have used entirely. Growing up, I went to prep school and then Business School, and started working, so drawing was not so much on my priority list. But after a couple of years in finance, I realized I had underestimated the strength of my creative will, and I started attending evening classes at Central St Martin in London. That’s how it all started again. In 2010 i moved to New-York, and in 2012 I quit finance for real to actively pursue my interest in the arts.
How has your work evolved since you started?
My work has dramatically changed over the year, as have the materials and media I have used. For my first exhibition in 2012, I presented acrylic paintings that depicted urban landscapes, made of bright colors and collages, and that featured tiny human silhouettes. People (and more specifically women) were not central in my paintings at all, the City and its energy was the main focus. Retrospectively, I think this had to do with me having to settle in this new environment (New York), and painting helped me through this phase, creating an anchor in my new life. Once anchored, I was able to move on to something else, and that’s when feminine bodies became the heart of my work. This also correlated with my first pregnancy, and my relationship to bodies was deeply influenced with this dramatic body change. Later I became obsessed with sculpture, specifically direct plaster, which is a very interesting technique that allows me to build new figures out of wire, plaster and rust.
Which work of yours is a good introduction?
My favorite piece is almost always the latest I have done, the one I have JUST finished. So I would be tempted to say that the piece that represent the accurate “me” would be a tiny androgynous rusty sculpted figure! However, all of my pieces are the reflection of my mindset, my drive, my inner self, at the time I made it, so in that sense, they’re all a part of me. I also feel my drawings are a huge part of me. I draw a lot. Always. I have piles of drawings in my studio, using all kind of techniques, and I wish I could pull all of them out one day to see their evolution in time!
Have your priorities changed?
Yes and no. They fluctuate. They come and go. As does inspiration. And time I have to dedicate to my art practice... But my need for art creation is always here somehow, and if I go through a phase where I do not create that much, I know I will compensate later!
Tell us something you wish you had known early on.
I am a strong believer of learning by trial and error. I am happy to listen to any piece of advice, pay attention to it, but in the end, experience prevails! So I would not go back to anything: all the decisions I have made, good or bad, are what’s making my actual self and who I am today, so I would not give that up!
How do you stay motivated?
Creation is such a strong drive, that it’s never so much about motivation. It’s more about making time for it, and making your mind available for creation.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
This is a tricky question for someone like me who is so afraid of thinking about the future and about aging. I am doing plenty different things right now, being a mum, an artist, an entrepreneur, and I am not giving up on any of those roles, and I guess the future will tell me where I succeeded best...
What would you like to learn?
I would like to learn to make life size sculptures! It’s my next step.
How do you deal with judgement and criticism?
I am not really good at coping with criticism right now, but I am learning! It’s so valuable to have feedback from everyone, and that’s also how I learn, but creation is so personal and intimate that whenever I get “I don’t love this piece”, it sounds to me like “I don’t like you”, so I am working on it.
Who will you thank when you receive an award?
I will thank my husband for being so supportive and for believing in me more than I did myself when I gave up finance for the arts. And I will thank my parents for giving me this curiosity to try different things, and explore my creativity.