I am not a lipstick girl. I usually go for an enhanced au naturel look but there I was, barely installed in my little studio in the Marais district and I was out frantically scouting for the right shade of red lipstick I just had to have ASAP. I felt naked in Paris without it. Something was definitely missing from my arsenal and it boiled down to a glossy red tube of molded magic. The choices were numbing. Did I want a crimson or a pink-hued shade, or even one veering to the orange or browns? Did I want the creamy, glossy or matt finish? Did I want the round edged, pointy or liquid stick? It reminded me of an old (very old) MAD magazine cartoon about someone buying a pack of cigarettes only to be quizzed about brand, menthol or regular, filter or no filter, etc. etc. till the poor guy just went beserk and took off screaming down the street. I did end up with a lovely shade of red packaged in a very substantial black and gold housing. Now I was definitely ready for the vernissage (opening) of my group exhibition Dans le ventre des femmes at 59 Rivoli on Wednesday evening, October 3, 2012.
The turnout was gratifyingly huge, with each artist bringing in their own band of loyal followers. It was a wonderful success for Maia Brami who conceived the whole notion of the exhibition based on the uterus anthology she initiated and brought to publication. Considering I don’t live in Paris I was very moved and appreciative of the number of people who came specifically to see me and my work in person. I soon forgot the technological glitches that threatened to spoil my night and thrust myself into the moment, chatting with guests, meeting all the artists, and networking in the hopes of laying the groundwork for my next visit! It was a four-hour opening which seemed extreme to me but the stream of people just kept coming. The single visitor who probably travelled the farthest to attend was my sister Jeannette who arrived that morning from Australia for a conference in Paris (on left below, with yours truly on right).
*YOU CAN SEE A DETAILED IMAGE OF MY PAINTING HERE AND WATCH SOME OF THE DOCUMENTARY ON YOUTUBE
I almost forgot to include another very French presence at the opening – dogs! Since the French are very understanding about bringing their little pooches to restaurants it is really no surprise that they would be welcome in all sorts of cultural venues as well! And pourquoi pas?
A picture says a thousand words and these shoes I spotted in a Paris boutique spell French chic, style, ambiance and flair – qualities which are ostentatiously present in copious amounts in the City of Lights. I just spent the last three days on the outskirts of Paris in Ivry sur Seine taking part in this artist commune’s annual Portes Ouvertes (Open House). Over 200 artists opened their studios up to hundreds of visitors keen to take a peek at the behind-the-scenes process of creative output. The sun was shining down upon an untold number of paintings, etchings, sculptures, ceramics, and framed graffiti – all to the accompaniment of Brazilian guitars, Japanese drums and the strains of Vivaldi. It was quite a show. I have included a very few examples:
I was hosted in the atelier of textile artist Aurelia Bernard who was exhibiting the results of natural fabric tinting using avocado peels (which surprisingly gives a dusky rose color), carrot leaves and coffee grounds. I exhibited some of my newer mini Paris portraits which generated a lot of interest due to the epoxy varnish over my photorealist style. The result is jewel-like and at first glance gives the impression of glass or ceramic tile or enamel work. so I had to quickly brush up on some technical phrases in French! But all in all an exciting and worthwhile experience and I even got some commissions out of it!
Portrait by Lilianne Milgrom
I am sure I am not alone in struggling with the PR/selling/mouthpiece part of making art. It just doesn’t come naturally and I was decidedly out of my comfort zone having to spend 18 hours over three days shmoozing about my work while jet lagged and speaking French. But by the last day I was more confident and more motivated, perhaps as a result of the continuous refilling of my wine glass and the heady atmosphere of being immersed in such a vibrant artistic environment 🙂
This morning I moved to Paris proper, settled into a teeny tiny Paris studio and began installing my painting and documentary video in the next show (see previous post) opening on Wednesday October 3 at Galerie Rivoli 59.
It really sunk in that I was in Paris when my conversation with the exhibition’s organizer and artist extraordinaire Sebastien Lecca veered off into his latest venture producing Eiffel tower-shaped dildos…I think its going to be a huge hit! And I couldn’t take my eyes off graffiti artist BAUBO‘s finger armour rings. Check it out:
More details and images from the exhibition after Wednesday’s grand opening where they are expecting over 150 guests. For right now I have to sign out because I am ravenous and dying to dig into my crunchy warm baguette, creamy goat cheese, fresh strawberry jam and salad, to be followed by an individual tarte aux pommes. Chin!