Written by: Sierra M. Bretz
Behind the Art: Meet Véronique Guillou
Grâce. Charme. Beauté. Élégance.
These are the words that come to mind when you meet artist Véronique Guillou and view her work.
I had the pleasure of meeting Guillou at an art fair in Aix-en-Provence in the fall. When I rounded the corner, there she was, warmly greeting visitors with a soft smile. I was impressed by her style, and fell immediately in love with her work, but it was only after talking with her that I was able to discover her insightful nature, earthy creativity, and love for artistic exploration.
As I learned more about her body of work, I found it to be unique, living, breathing creations that transform in appearance with varying exposure to light.
“My creations are all made to inspire peace and softness: from small to large sizes with a natural feel and a classy look for creating zen and light atmospheres.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Véronique Guillou grew up happy, the last of 4 children in a family of artists. Aside from various art classes taken during highschool and in Paris, her studies focused on communication and advertising in college. After graduating, Guillou started her professional career as a junior art director in marketing. She had the opportunity to work directly with a photographer – and loved it!
“I’ve always been passionate about interior design. Once an artistic director in an advertising agency in Paris, I now design my own range of interior decorations.” Guillou continued, “But after working in advertising, direct marketing and communication, I’ve recently renewed a relationship with sheer creativity.“
After 10 years of marketing in Paris, Guillou moved to the south of France, where she has been ever since.
When asked what “made the artist” (beyond her natural creative instincts), Guillou was quick to attribute her long term stay in Martinique. She stayed for 4 years in the West Indies, where she was able to stop working in business to spend her time painting. She successfully sold her paintings to the French people who lived there, and became a recognized name as an emerging artist.
However, ironically, when she returned home, she found that her creations “did not please the French in France.” So, she stopping creating entirely for several years, until her last daughter grew and moved away. At that time, she brought her creative pursuits back to the surface, but once COVID struck, another realignment was in store. By October 2020, her newly refurbished studio was ready! Today, she continues to work in her new studio, located in a small village in the heart of the pine woods, a few miles away from the magnificent Aix-en-Provence.
Guillou has always been an artisan at heart, with a love for texture and creating with her hands. As one would imagine, her home is filled with handmade items, where is able to be creative using a wide variety of materials.
In her work, Guillou finds the collage side of the process soothing — to have her hands in the glue and the materials — it’s like revisiting the art classes of her childhood! Her art revolves around creating decorative works from raw, organic, and recycled materials. Guillou’s personal research on materials has led her to combine a variety of items, from recycled cardboard, waste material, and plants, to minerals collected from the wild. The common thread for Guillou’s unique style is the raw material used, and how she transforms it into a new creation.
Véronique is naturally attracted to the color white. It satisfies her need to create objects that can go anywhere…white and it’s thousands of shades can go with everything! For Guillou, the possibilities for white are endless because it can take on many different shades that can very well absorb the color of their environment and change appearance depending on the exposure of light, the angle from which they are viewed. Both Guillou and viewers can enjoy seeing it transformed moment by moment by the light falling upon it.
The creation of a new piece begins with a spark. Guillou simply sees something in nature or in the world that inspires her…and the seed is planted. Then, she creates a drawing in her mind (in 3D!)…and brings it to life! According to Guillou…
“The inspiration I receive from what I observe around me every day gradually matures in my head. At a certain point, when the gestation of my inspiration reaches its end, it must come out of me. Often, I don’t sleep for several nights in a row while a new project is being born!”
I love the unexpected result I get after mixing and putting together all these materials. All my creations are done in the spirit of recycling in accordance with today’s new way of thinking