Inspired by the dark romanticism of 18th century France, Mexican art, and 50s style tattoos, French photographer and graphic designer, Bénédicte creates a unique mix of prints for both interior design and clothing pieces. Her work includes a recurrent theme of death, spirituality, virginity, and anatomy; subjects which inspire her artistic expression, guide her, and bring her peace.
Bénédicte's most recent collection entitled 'Renaissance', is sold in the South of France's eclectic boutique, La Ligne 29, located in the ancient, artist-driven city of Montpellier.
Photos: Courtesy of artist
Where are you from originally?
I come from a small French island called Corsica. It’s a wonderful place. The beaches are sublime and the Corsicans have a strong character. My parents moved for their job several times and we finally ended up in Montpellier. I studied here, met my husband and had my two sons. I love this city and I could never leave it.
How did you begin your career in graphic design?
When I studied photography, graduating in 2001, Adobe Photoshop was a new software in this profession. I first began restoring old pictures, using correction techniques (adding/ removing ungraceful elements etc…) and I quickly realized the possibilities within the software. I started to create my own pictures became totally addicted creating with this tool. It’s my experience with Printer Company, which reinforced this addiction. After Photoshop, I tested designing in Illustrator, added both to my design process and made my own way.
Are you commissioned for your designs elsewhere or do you design solely for your own brand?
For now, I am only working for La ligne 29 but I work on visuals for another brand, which will be launching next year.
Tell me about the concept of La Ligne 29?
LL29 is a store concept. The owners, my coworkers and great friends Bruno and Nicolas sell many different things which they look for all around the world. The place is full of positive waves and spirituality.
What’s the name/theme of your latest collection?
My last collection would be titled "Renaissance". I left my ex associates when my name and my work was not taking the direction I wanted. It was getting constraining, completely incoherent and I felt I was losing my style. Profit had become the watchword. So that's why I decided to start with Nicolas and Bruno at LL29. With them I completely express myself, there is no censorship or obligation to create visuals that I don’t like or are not like me. It's happiness! A true renaissance. The recurrent theme of my work is death, spirituality, virgin, and anatomy...Subjects that always inspire me.
You use many skulls in your designs, any particular reason?
My alternative healer would tell you that I come from a planet where those people have been exterminated. My shrink would tell you that I think of my grandfather very often who was an artist himself, and my medium would add that I am in complete connection with him. My grandfather is a person I have known very little in my life but he means a lot to me. I have his name, Renee. It's true that I feel connected with him deceased. I always liked skulls, and I listened to Guns N' Roses and wore their t-shirts when I was a teen!
Can you tell me about your piece ‘Ma Madone’?
'Ma Madone' is a painting by Ingres. The night I made this creation, I really felt the piece was guiding me. It may sound crazy, but once I finished creating it, I immersed myself in her eyes and I got chills. I felt something new and disturbing to such an extent that I went to bed with a kind of fear. She is also displayed in my room and I meditate in front of her when I am lost. It's what I want for my next tattoo. I devote a veritable cult for the virgin, though I'm not religious! She calms me down and guides me.
Image: 'Ma Madone', courtesy of artist
Can you describe your design process?
I reflect on a picture for days or even weeks before I produce a piece. When I find the time and in particular the inspiration, then I search my images (if I haven’t created them myself) and I assemble, cut, and superimpose on Photoshop. Sometimes I use Illustrator to create my designs. I don’t really draw freehand so my brush is my mouse. I can need as little as one hour or as much as 6 or 8 hours to finish a creation.
Where do you find inspiration?
I'm a big fan of Tim Burton movies. I also love the French 18th century for its romantic design. I like everything that is old, dark, moody, as well as Mexican art, the 50s, and tattoo art... In fact I mix all that I see and I love. I have never yet traveled; I guess when I can finally do it, my inspiration will be tenfold!
Where are your designs printed?
All of our materials are printed in France. It is much easier for us to control manufacturing here and we love working with our country. I have nothing against China, but we have neither the volume nor the means to work with them. We will do in the future for certain products or materials that are not found here, but we want to keep most of our production in France. LL29 and their customers like that.
What is the art community like in Montpellier?
I am quite alone in the way I work...I don’t rubs shoulders with the Montpellier art world too much. Not that I don’t want to, but I consider myself a very shy and unconfident person. I am in awe of the work of some street artists such as Supakitch and Koralie, it impresses me very much.
Are you showcasing at any trade shows/events?
My next event is the Christmas market in Montpellier. I love getting back in contact with my clients, true fans of the first hour. I talk with them and tell stories all day!! We will also participate at the huge exhibition “Maison et Objet” in Paris in September 2016. I love this show, I've done it two times, but with Bruno and Nicolas of LL29 it will be even better!
What’s next for you?
To propel LL29 and continue my work as a photographer and above all working again with my hands. I have several tracks in life, maybe even teach graphic design at a private school!
Images: Courtesy of artist