Laurence was in touch with the editorial staff and made the team dream with her incredible journey. At a time when more and more of you are considering changing jobs or following new professional paths, it seems important to us to show you successful transition paths because yes, “anything is possible! »The proof with Laurence who followed her childhood dream by becoming an artist and who shares with us her vision and her career.
Can you tell us about your career before you became a professional artist?
After my studies, I spent over 15 wonderful years in marketing. But art has always been there and in 2003 I took a year off to paint. I then resumed this dual career and it was in 2016, following my expatriation in the USA, that I chose to devote myself entirely to my career as an artist.
What place has the artistic in your professional and personal life until today?
My mother is an artist and allowed me to have, on the one hand access to material, to encourage this interest and on the other hand to go to see museums, exhibitions, to dig into her large library ... In my corporate career, I was far from the art world but on the other hand it was often necessary to be creative!
How did you become a full-time artist? Was there a click, an event that consolidated this new professional choice?
The click came from an alignment of the stars. In 2015, after moving to the USA, I had older children, more time, a real studio and the desire to give this dream a chance to live from my art. I was fortunate to be supported by my husband in this project and to have been able to devote myself 100% to it.
What were the keys to the success of this change of path?
First of all, I tried to learn this new profession. Because between knowing how to paint and being a professional artist, I knew there was a very wide gap. I read a lot and I connected with artists and then other art professionals. As with any independent profession, building this network has been key. I communicated about my work, and I actively sought out opportunities to exhibit. Little by little, things moved ahead.
Many of our readers feel like artists at heart and would like to take the leap, but they often wonder about their legitimacy. Did you experience impostor syndrome as an artist at any point in your transition? How did you get past it?
This impostor syndrome exists, it's true! The first few times I introduced myself as an artist, I really felt it. I believe that my previous career and meeting in New York with many entrepreneurs in various fields inspired me a lot. You have to dare and persevere.
You told us that it is a mixture of "a lot of work" and a few "good fairies" that allowed you to reinvent yourself in your career and make your dream come true. Can you tell us about these "good fairies" who have been in your way. How did they manifest themselves?
I believe that life is made up of encounters and this is what inspired me to start my blog The Curious Frenchy where I share the journey of people I meet. There have been many people who have played this good fairy role. This includes my first collectors, the artist Allan Gorman who supported my application for the ESKFF artistic residency. Eileen Kaminsky who offered me a residency, the critic Paul Laster and the curator Renee Riccardo, Claire Obry who introduced me to Latifa Metheny director of Azart Gallery ... and so on. Each of these encounters allowed my career to take a step forward and to meet new fairies.
What messages do you send through your artwork?
In my Post series, I combine an artwork, which I appropriate, and dialogs based on my research. My goal is to share the stories of these artists and their works, to underline the links between artists through times because the history of art is a continuum. It is also an opportunity to highlight the place of the digitization of artworks. The positive side of this digitization is that it continues the democratization of art initiated by photography.
One of your canvases appeared this year alongside Hugh Grant in the HBO series The Undoing with Nicole Kidman. Could you have imagined it 10 years ago? How do you feel today now that it's "real"?
It always seems a little surreal to me! I would not have imagined that for sure. Just as I never imagined exhibiting alongside Andy Warhol as it happened to me in 2018 in Munich. This appearance on the screen is also due to two good fairies: the gallery owner Michele Mariaud, based in New York and the head of sets for HBO who both supported my work.
How can art help us create the world in 2021?
2020 brought the world of entertainment and exhibitions to a halt, and paradoxically, art was put back at the center of our lives. This made us realize the importance of art to create links and to escape. Science will help us overcome this pandemic. Art helps us to cross it.
You only have to see the enthusiasm for streaming, virtual exhibitions, book sales and the success of the @tussenkunstenquarantaine account on Instagram.
If one of our readers who read this interview has a deep desire to become an artist but doesn't dare, what would you like to say to them?
I will share the advice I received: build your community. There are many ways to be an artist: between an artist who creates works for public spaces, a figurative painter and a graphic designer, the end customers and the paths will not be the same. It seems important to me to learn from the experience of others.
What's the positive phrase or mantra that boosted your career change?
What would you do if you were sure you would succeed? We often hesitate to do things for fear of failure…
To follow Laurence de Valmy