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17 November 2021

Studio Valentine KVL : The color under the spotlight !

Decorative items in acrylic resin halfway between craftsmanship and design, in saturated colors. A pop style that gives pep! Meeting with the visual artist Valentine Chevillon, creator of Studio Valentine KVL.

Valentine, what does your workshop look like ?

I just moved into my new studio! It is located in the middle of fields in the Bordeaux countryside. Going to my workshop, I cross vineyards, I see a field of cows. It is a huge space, an old courtyard of 100 m². I will have all the room to produce and create.

Vue du nouvel atelier ©studiovalentinekvl

View from her workshop ©studiovalentinekvl

What a change ! So far my workshop had been set up on my winter terrace, and of course it spanned the guest bedroom and the kitchen, which served as storage space. Working and producing at home involved a lot of concessions… I sacrificed part of my domestic comfort and my personal life. The creation and the production know no limits and intervene in all the interstices of my personal life.

I experienced very rapid growth that I hadn’t anticipated, and I got a bit overwhelmed. I had to quickly reorganize myself, order machines thanks to a crowdfunding operation because I started from scratch, with no stock, no real financial reserve. I only produced to order.

Valentine Chevillon and her creations in progress ©studiovalentinekvl

How could you define or describe your job ?

It’s difficult to describe my work. I started with sculpture and wanted to democratize its practice. I have always had an appetite for interior space. I make my own molds, prints and prototypes. I am really between craftsmanship and design. Trained in Fine Arts, at the beginning I did not really share the philosophy of the designers. As a designer, you think more about the function of the object than the concept.

Shapes and colors in domestic spaces have always fascinated me. It must be said that I am a homebird. For me, the domestic space is a reassuring, intimate space but also a place of representation.

I am really into the usual sculpture. My first creation is the flowerpot head. First I thought of the head and then I wanted to give it a function. I didn’t want to be in trinkets or goodies, the functional dimension really matters to me.

The flowerpot head ©studiovalentinekvl

You often use terrazzo in your creations. Can you tell us about its manufacturing process? How do you get your supplies?

Terrazzo is made up of fragments of stones, marble, cement or jesmonite (acrylic resin). For my part, I use non-toxic acrylic resin in the following proportions: 2.5 resin to 1 liquid. The pigmented resin is spread thinly on a plate and then reduced to chips. I then sort these chips in packages by colors.

Color chips ©studiovalentinekvl

I make my resin base, I put my chips and I pour everything in a mold. Initially, I was sourcing from England. I use jesmonite, a eco-friendly and better quality alternative, which contains less resin. Today, it has become more difficult to obtain supplies in England. The price has climbed 50% in a few months as well as the import costs, with Brexit. From now on, I get supplies from Prodemmia, the only French supplier of Jesmonite. What is incredible is that jesmonite was originally produced in France from a plaster of Saint-Aubin. Then it was England who took it over with the terrazzo runaway. Today, the Prodemmia company is operating at full speed and has even received awards for the quality of its products. Their products are not toxic, which cannot be said to be 100% eco-friendly, but they are really “cleaner” than from other suppliers.

Soap dishes OSLO & Aquarelle ©studiovalentinekvl

You claim certain inspirational sources such as the Memphis movement, Art and Craft or the antique period. Can you tell us how these movements influence your artistic work ?

Art & Craft is really about creating aesthetic items with function. It is a very decorative style but one that never loses sight of the utilitarian dimension. This movement (1860-1910) is the basis of contemporary design and has inspired, among others, the Scandinavian style and Art Nouveau.

The Memphis movement, for the shapes, the colors, the playful side, its repeated, reassuring patterns that take you back to childhood.

As for the antique period, it is about its codes of shapes with its arches, its refined shapes, the revival of terracotta. There is a kind of simplicity and modesty that is also found in the wabi-sabi movement. It’s a kind of artistic starting point that has evolved over the centuries, a kind of artistic genesis. My first piece – the flowerpot – was a Greek head. This style is restful, relaxing and almost in contradiction with the Memphis movement of the 1980s, the rise of industrialization coupled with some form of excitement. These sources are a starting point because it is difficult not to be influenced by the trends of the moment.

For example, designers like Sam Buckley, his very colorful interiors, at the same time chic, cozy, in warm colors or even the very pastel aesthetic of director Wes Anderson speak to me a lot. There is also the London interior design studio 2lgstudio which plays with geometric shapes.

There is the Masque Spacio studio, which works a lot with restaurants and offers incredible colorful universes that go beyond reality. That’s why I love saturated colors, it opens up another dimension. At the Beaux-Arts we have what we call Total Art. The shapes and colors come to be completely imbued with energy …

The chromatic dimension of your work appears immediately. You almost have the impression that the shape given to your creations accompanies the color and not the other way around. How do you choose your colors?

I love the idea of thinking more and more daring combinations of colors. My shape can be a pretext for color. I think in terms of antithesis. With watercolor soap dishes, it’s like my material is a paint that gets solid. I transform into sculptural material into painting. Like color and shapes, I like oppositions, I like them to communicate.

Soap dishes KATHY  ©studiovalentinekvl

I also like to explore the possibilities of the material. The Terrazzo Kathy soap dish originally is a soap dish that I broke and I took the opportunity to experiment, reshape and combine different pieces of acrylic resin.

You went to the school of fine art in Bordeaux. When and how did you decide to launch your own brand?

While I was a student of Fine Arts, I assisted artist Benjamin Valenza for the Ricard Prize, the second most important prize in Contemporary Art after that of Marcel Duchamp. He gave me his sketches and I sculpted, molded. I spent my weekends in production. But at the time I didn’t really see myself in this world of contemporary art, of networking, and was worried of the very uncertain side.

For a while, I needed to experience something very different, more secure. I worked for HSBC in Scotland. After a while, I began to look with envy at my promotion friends, I certainly had the stability but I was not doing anything with my hands, I was no longer creating … I quit my job, I bought a house in the countryside and launched my brand ! I was good at molding and wanted to create utilitarian items that people can expose in their home. In the summer of 2019, I made this first piece, the Greek head-shaped florwerpot and in October 2019, I created my company and very quickly the first orders were made, the first stores came to me. Living off my passion remains a challenge of course, but I plan to take this project far!

Mirrors Poppies ©studiovalentinekvl

Soap dishes ©studiovalentinekvl

What new projects are you working on at the moment ?

Today, I work from acrylic resin but I also want to explore other materials, perhaps less heavy for larger items, always with the idea of creating an atmosphere. I would like to turn to the creation of tailor-made furniture.

At the moment, I am working on new pieces of “luminaries”. A 23cm diameter flat ring to make the terrazzo and the color visible, a kind of donnut that can work equally well as a ceiling light, as a wall light or on a table.



Donnuts ©studiovalentinekvl

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