3 of 6 Follow French illustrator @madamedessine’s story this week. ⠀ “Art is a family affair. Everyone in my family is a painter. My mother gave me my first real watercolor palette the day before I left for Montreal. ⠀ “I’m a self-taught artist, but I recently took some art lessons and it was suggested to me that I draw with my left hand to gain trust in my pencil stroke.” ⠀ Interview conducted in French. ⠀ // ⠀ Cette semaine, suivez l’histoire de l’illustratrice française @madamedessine. ⠀ “L’art est une histoire de famille. Dans ma famille, tout le monde peignait. Juste avant de partir pour Montréal, ma mère m’a offert ma première palette d’aquarelle. ⠀ “Je suis autodidacte donc je manque de technique mais j’ai récemment pris des cours d’art. On m’a notamment incitée à dessiner de la main gauche pour gagner en confiance quant à mon trait.”
2 of 6 Follow French illustrator @madamedessine’s story this week. ⠀ “Fashion was always one of my favorite interests when I was young. Beyond the simple apparel, I was fascinated by the luxury houses and their creators’ personalities. It’s in this world that I have dug in to draw my first characters. ⠀ “I like the idea of movement behind the clothes, more than the aesthetic aspect of it. I like the folds, the volumes and the materials generally emanating from the clothes.” ⠀ Interview conducted in French. ⠀ // ⠀ Cette semaine, suivez l’histoire de l’illustratrice française @madamedessine. ⠀ “Petite, la mode a été l’un de mes premiers sujets d’intérêt. Au-delà du vêtement, c’est l’univers des maisons de luxe et la personnalité des créateurs qui me fascinaient. C’est dans ces mondes que j’ai naturellement puisé pour dessiner mes premiers personnages. ⠀ “Plus que l’esthétisme en tant que tel, c’est l’idée de mouvement et de mouvance derrière le vêtement qui me plaît. J’aime les plissés, les volumes et les matières qui émanent du vêtement.”
1 of 6 As a child, French illustrator Magalie Pouillard (@madamedessine) dreamed of becoming a reporter and traveling across the world. “I left Paris for Montreal at 18 after my bachelor’s degree to make my dream come true. I ended up staying for five years in Canada, studying economics at Montreal University.” In 2014, the self-taught artist started posting a few drawings on Instagram. It was during an exchange trip to Mexico that her life took a new direction. “The bright colors of the country, its Mayan designs and diverse landscapes inspired me to draw,” she says. “Back in Canada, some contracts and professional opportunities started to come my way. The entrepreneurial aspect of Montreal helped me gain confidence to jump into the Madame Dessine adventure.” ⠀ Today Magalie lives in Paris and divides her time between her collaborations with famous luxury houses such as Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren and Remy Martin, and studies in luxury management. “I’m proud of the space that I give to my passion alongside my studies. I’ve been lucky to be able to evolve gradually without too much pressure.” ⠀ Follow French illustrator @madamedessine’s story this week. Interview conducted in French.
6 of 6 As a kid, drawing was artist Keerat Kaur’s (@_keeratkaur) favorite way of communicating. “I’ve been experimenting with different forms of painting and drawing from a very young age – drawing and sketching with markers and pencils since the age of two, and painting ceramics since the age of about eight. Creativity has become a part of my diet.” Today, Keerat defines her style as “a mix of hyper-surrealism and Indian miniatures”: “I love injecting bubbles of reality into the imaginary landscapes and rooms that I design as a way to connect back to the viewer,” she explains. “I want my work to encourage a sense of repose.” ⠀ The representation of women in her work is particularly important for the artist. “I create imagery of women living and celebrating everyday life,” she says. “I want to depict women in a way that allows them to feel liberated and celebrated.” ⠀ See more of Canada-based artist @_keeratkaur’s story on Vogue.
5 of 6 Follow Canada-based artist @_keeratkaur’s story this week. ⠀ “My ideation either starts with a thought, leading to doodles and sketches, or the other way around, where spontaneous doodles end up forming an idea. ⠀ “I have three main visual outputs: digital drawing and collage; watered-down acrylics; and reinforced acrylics with oils. For drawing, Photoshop is my best friend. For acrylics, a super-thin brush is a must-have, since I love refining details with lots of shadows, highlights and gradients when doing hyper-realistic work. I start with three-to-four layers of acrylic paints and finish with one-to-two layers of oils.”
4 of 6 Follow Canada-based artist @_keeratkaur’s story this week. ⠀ “Natural beauty transports you, allowing you to merge with your surroundings. I remember standing at a beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean last summer and feeling no separation between the ocean, the shore and myself. That was beauty. ⠀ “Trips to India inspire me and give me a shift of perspective. I’m also inspired by conversations I have, the textiles I see, how people arrange their homes and organize their lives, and most importantly, what people are searching for. But my biggest sources of inspiration are Sikh texts, namely Suraj Prakash, Aad Granth and Dasam Granth. The storytelling in these scriptures is phenomenal; just reading half a line fills my mind with endless imagery. One of the main focuses of my practice is to honor these writings.”
3 of 6 Follow Canada-based artist @_keeratkaur’s story this week. ⠀ “My most significant encounter with India was when I was studying in Patiala, Punjab, from 3rd to 5th grade. My parents wanted my brother and I to be exposed to their city, the place they grew up. This city has influenced my life in a number of ways. ⠀ “My memories of India from that time are admittedly polarizing emotions: admiration and frustration. On one hand, there exists a richness of sophisticated musical traditions and artisanal craft, and on the other, a socio-economic structure reinforced by a gender and caste hierarchy.”
2 of 6 Follow Canada-based artist @_keeratkaur’s story this week. ⠀ “I was born and brought up in London, Ontario, and was the only Sikh student in school until I started university. I consider myself an artist and an artisan, and my community's history is certainly at the forefront of my work. There are a lot of aspects of Sikh culture which have been less emphasized over time. ⠀ “Being a diasporic Punjabi-Canadian is very different from being a Punjabi from Punjab,” Keerat says. “I have never been around many people that look like me. I have learned to navigate and balance between the two worlds to which I belong.”
1 of 6 From the streets of Toronto, Ontario, multidisciplinary artist Keerat Kaur (@_keeratkaur) wants to use her art to share stories about her Sikh identity. “Dealing with racism and a general lack of knowledge about my background taught me to have a strong sense of self,” says Keerat, who has been digging into her origins and Indic philosophies to create her paintings and illustrations. “I felt that I needed to be sure of what made up my identity so I could share it with people on a day-to-day basis,” she explains. ⠀ Today the Punjabi-Canadian artist, whose name means “praise” in Sanskrit, balances a career as an apprentice architect, visual artist, designer and student of music. “I’ve primarily grown up surrounded by Indic traditions of music, literature and art,” she says. “I am interested in preserving these traditions and in seeing how they can evolve and expand based on who is carrying them and where. From learning the Nastaliq-Urdu script to refining my technical skills, I believe in constant learning and growth.” ⠀ Follow Canada-based artist @_keeratkaur’s story this week.
6 of 6 Through art, Kathmandu-born artist and social entrepreneur Sneha Shrestha (@imagine876) shares a broader perspective of her culture. “People often ask me if all Nepali people look, sound or talk like me, but in reality I alone cannot possibly be an ambassador for a country that is so diverse, with so many ethnicities and languages,” she says. “I hope that through my art, people can open their eyes to a culture that is not so prevalent in the contemporary art world, but is still beautiful and worth looking at and understanding more deeply.” ⠀ After receiving two Bachelor’s degrees from Gettysburg College, Sneha studied abroad in Geneva and Bali. “I learned about leadership, technology and creativity in education at Harvard University,” says Sneha, who founded the Children’s Art Museum of Nepal in 2013. See more of Nepal-based artist @imagine876’s story during #IWD19 this week on @vogue.
5 of 6 Follow Nepal-based artist @imagine876’s story during #IWD19 this week. ⠀ “For my paintings, I get glimpses of the aesthetics at random times. I constantly write my ideas down whenever they pop up. Sometimes they’re just words, visions of complete paintings or visions of colors. ⠀ “For my large bodies of works on buildings, the process is slightly different. For the 60ft-tall MIT building I painted in Cambridge, I spent a lot of time sitting in front of the wall and looking at it from all angles, near and far. I think about what I want to paint and how I want people to experience it. It’s a positive and peaceful state of mind. A lot of my pieces center around positive mantras that can feel very healing. As my paintings and my letters are Nepali, I want to connect with people through positivity in my mantras. That is how it has been taught to me by my culture, tradition and its philosophies.”
4 of 6 Follow Nepal-based artist @imagine876’s story during #IWD2019 this week. ⠀ “All children need art. Art is an integral part of childhood development. Art experiences can help children to develop critical thinking and leadership skills, to equip them for the 21st century. Art can also help children to build self-confidence. ⠀ “Arts in education is important, especially in Nepal, because the arts provide children and young people with a medium to express themselves and their individuality.”