24 hours by train - ultrashop - Claire Chauvel

More about Claire Chauvel

How did you choose your means of expression?

Painting allows me to express myself while being in tune with my mind. Thinking without using words makes the brain operate quite differently to usual. This is what I find particularly fascinating about painting. It’s a world in its own right.

Is this medium secondary to your intention or is it closely linked?

I try to transcribe my thinking onto the canvas – or at least a state of mind, at a given moment. I quote Matisse: ‘I cannot distinguish between what I feel about life and the way in which I interpret it’.

What material do you use and why?

I use oil as it’s living matter and it reacts. With oil it’s constantly new and exciting and the options are endless.

How do you prepare for a work session?

My life is one long work session. I don’t differentiate between painting in the physical sense and thinking about painting. However the level of concentration is different when I paint outside and when I stay in the studio.

Can you describe to me what is different about when you started out and your current work?

From the very start, I always sought to fathom what sort of painter I am. It encompasses pictorial research and self-discovery. As time passes I am less judgmental about myself and it’s more enjoyable. I’m ‘doing’ with no obligation to achieve results.


Do your origins and culture play a role in the work that you produce?

Yes, as they shape who I am and how I see the world. Likewise, what I read, my travels and encounters, etc. enrich my work. Everything is implicated.

What events have influenced you most?

The death of someone close to me as a teenager was very tough. I realised that life could not be confined to primary needs. Inevitably there is something else. Painting became more and more important from that moment on.

What are your sources of inspiration?

Everything. All the time. Certain situations speed up the sense of urgency to paint: going to an exhibition or alternatively the frustration of lost time for example.

Do you have an anecdote to illustrate the origins of your work?

I have always drawn and painted. And I have progressed…

Do you take the news into account when you work or do you detach yourself from it?

The world described in the news disgusts me so much that in a way it is a source of motivation. When I turn on the radio, it always makes me want to paint.


Are your works more of a dialogue, a trace or a denunciation?

My works are an inner dialogue, a dialogue with the entire universe. I need a starting point, often a tree or a feeling and then I expand upon it.

Do you want viewers to question or do you prefer to intrigue them?

I would like my paintings to call upon emotions and feelings more than the intellect. My painting exists in such a way that one cannot talk about it. Above all you can look at it.

How do you view human beings, and through your work as a result?

I am passionate about every human being. I observe a great deal and I paint what I observe.

How would you compare your last work with your next?

My work is not linear. I can put paintings aside and resume them at a later date. Each painting influences the next ones, but I never know to what extent.


How do you view your own work?

My work is the start of something in progress. I really fail to look at it. I cannot distance myself. Painting is an endless search that I would hate to define.

What projects do you have in progress or forthcoming?

I recently moved to the Dordogne and I’m excited to see how it will influence my painting.

Translated by
Louise Jablonowska