1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
Hi! My name is Adèle Verlinden. I am a French author and artist living in Nantes. I grew up in quite a few places, as my father used to work abroad and we (my mother, my sister and I) would come with him. I lived in Asia and West Africa for the first ten years of my life. Then, we moved back to France and lived in a lovely house in a forest about 60 km away from Paris.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
I like drawing animals, characters and landscapes. I want my shapes to be filled with intensity, liveliness and sensitivity. I want to make you feel that the people, the animals, the trees and the skies that I draw have a soul and are alive.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
My favorite medium is gouache painting because it allows me to play with line as much as plain shapes and colour variations. It is also a technique closely linked to childhood, which makes me feel freer than the other techniques. I need to feel free to create. It is very important for me to use paper. I need physicality to draw. I am very bad with all-digital illustrations : when I don’t see the real limits of my sheet, I just can’t draw. When I can zoom in and zoom out, I feel lost in all that digital space. It’s very weird.
4. What is your artistic process like?
When I sit at my desk and I decide what I am going to paint before even starting to doodle, the result is never really good. I need to let it come to me. The best way I found to do so is to go walking, preferably amongst trees, and let my thoughts wander. When I come back home, feeling calm and a little excited, then I can paint.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
The first person who inspired my work is my mother. As I was growing up (and I did not realize it at the time), she surrounded us with books, plants, photographs, paintings, vintage posters and Iranian carpets she liked. She has great taste and it took me a long time to measure how much it had influenced me! Plus, she was always okay to buy me any book I was curious about.
The oak forest I grew up near is the second element that inspires me. My mind always go back there when I start a new project.
And obviously, a lot of artists influence my work. There are painters, like Matisse, Bonnard and Henri Rousseau. I am a huge fan of Ukiyo-e, with Kuniyoshi, Hiroshige and Hokusai. I love traditional Tibetan paintings, with gods, demons, animals and people evolving in the same natural and surreal landscapes. I am obsessed with antique Egyptian paintings, when day to day life and spirituality cross path and make everything possible. I am fond of primitive art. I know when I am facing something real in art when I can feel a little friendly fire eating inside my stomach. This is the sensation I look for in every museum I visit. I know it is a strange thing to say, but hey, I am allowed to be weird, I am an artist!
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
Art is both my occupation and my way of feeling and thinking about a lot of things. So I would say that it is pretty much everywhere in my life.
7. Where did you study?
I studied in École Estienne in Paris for 3 years (2010-2013), and in HEAR in Strabourg for another 3 years (2013-2016).
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hahaha, are you kidding…?
9. What about in ten?
… I can’t answer that!
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I hope my art will allow me to be more and more myself. That it’s going to help me really live my life. I also hope that someday, people would feel close to it, that it would express feelings and thoughts that they feel. I would like to establish a connection through which they could find the very same warmth, love and hope that I do look for in other artists’ works. I would be humbled to achieve such a thing.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
My favourite food are hummus, grated carrots, saffron risotto and summer tomatoes.
12. Favourite book?
Oh, my. This is very hard. Maybe the Martian Chronicles by Bradbury, any book from Ursula Leguin, and the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman?
13. Favourite genre of music?
14. What are your hobbies?
Swing dancing, cat petting and binge-watching series.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
I believe I would be working with apes. Orang-utan to be specific!