Inside the Studio

Aleksandra Bouquillon

Favorite material to work with?
Acrylic paint, definitely. I had some attempts with the oil pastel and the oil bar in the past, but I returned to acrylic without any regret. The paint dries quickly, which allows me to complete a piece of work within only one painting session. It is also well adapted to my painting method.

I wish my day were at least twice its length as there is never enough time, and when I am starting to paint I get so much involved that the hours pass like minutes…

What themes do you pursue?
I try to stay within the abstract, which doesn’t mean I totally avoid figurative aspects in my work.

I am particularly interested in organic-like abstract forms lately, and my palette has softened towards the shades that are more close to nature.

Also, the images from the space – as those from Hubble telescope or space missions – are the source of great inspiration to me, which I hope to explore in the nearest future. I especially admire Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, which – based on the photographs – I consider one of the most breathtaking places in the Universe…

Where is your studio?
My flat is my studio and because it consists of a single, tiny room – the boards, easels and canvases are all over the place…

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
What I consider a useful experience was an opportunity to watch children painting. I greatly admired their approach – curiosity, freshness, and lack of prejudices. They are sincere in whatever they create. In my opinion creating is all about sincerity, sincerity towards oneself. You just cannot cheat the viewer.

Art school or self-taught?
Self-taught, or rather still self-learning. I think it is more a constant process of improving skills and deepening the artistic research. I feel that I am only in the very beginning of my path.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?
With music, and very wide range of it. I might as well listen to classical music, John Zorn, Coil, or to Monolake and after that immediately switch to some Korn songs. I guess I wouldn’t be able to work in complete silence. The titles of the songs I listen to, while painting, often become the titles of my works.

What’s around the corner from your place?
After a long stay in France, in the area around Paris, I recently live again in one of the new districts of Warsaw, which is called Ursynow. Its oldest part was built in the communist past and was intended to be a dormitory of the city. It consists of very similar, cube shaped apartment blocks. Fortunately, with the passing years, strips of green appeared among the blocks of concrete, making the place more human. The huge green areas wake up in spring giving the district an appearance of a vast garden. As I live on the ground floor, I adapted the little space in front of my windows, and created a tiny, pleasant garden.

Where can we find you outside the studio?
In the shop where I buy painting materials.☺ I am lucky to have a very well equipped one close to my place. The team of vendors is great, always smiling and helpful, so it is a double pleasure to spend my time in there. I also spend a lot of time in the DIY shops, as I mostly use the panel boards for my paintings.

What do you collect?
A little bit of everything that I can use as an inspiration. Especially flyers, postcards, magazines pages, and everything that might be of any use to paint over. Also some Pantone scales prints, as I like to surround myself with colors to check their influence on the background and possible matches. I brought some stones to my studio as well. They cannot be called a collection, as there are just a few of them because my place is too small to store more. Anyway, they are very special, they have kind of wooden-like patterns, and a very warm appearance, unusual to a stone.

Favorite contemporary artist?
Many names, starting with one – modern, not really contemporary: I am fascinated anew with the work of de Kooning. My favourite is the Bolton Landing; I could look at this one for hours. It seems to me so ultimately contemporary as if it just left the painter’s studio and not almost 55 years ago…

I used to be an unconditional fan of Nouveau Realisme, with its decollage method, especially work of Dufrêne but also Jacques Villeglé (who is still active and producing new art pieces). I find their approach particularly powerful, it is almost a physical fight with matter. Also the idea of binding and recycling the elements of reality in their work, such as posters, garbage or objects of everyday use, seems to me very interesting. Of course the term “abstract” is to be avoided as they claimed the big “return to reality” and openly opposed themselves to the lyrical abstraction, but their work was very powerful inspiration for my abstract composition for a long time.

From Polish young generation of painters I particularly admire the work of Michał Minor, who is also one of the professors of Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice. In my eyes he is a master of color matching, some of his color choices are surprising and really powerful.

Finally, I have my favorite artists on Saatchi Online site; if I were to choose one name it would be Alexey Adonin. I think we have a similar vision of things in many aspects. I also invite you to visit my favorites collection for other names and art pieces.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
I hesitate between one of de Kooning’s paintings and the “La demie sœur de l’inconnue” by Dufrêne (which I would definitely hang in the horizontal position).

Use anything other than paint?
From time to time I use paper for collage. I also paint over printed paper or pieces of glass and walls.

Is painting dead?
It would mean that the world is full of living dead painters (laugh). Seriously, I believe it is not, and hope it will never be.

Palette knifes?
Almost exclusively. I have a whole range of sizes, triangle shaped ones, and I have made some tools myself. Occasionally I use also spalter brushes, synthetic ones.

Monet or Manet?
Manet. For the painting of Normandy coast, the place that I love. He was probably the one to capture best its real lighting and shades.