Creating mesmerisingly structural paintings and drawings, Parisian-based artist Claire Nicolet pulls her inspiration from the things around her. “People at first describe my style as naïve but my aim is to show something essential using simple shapes, perspectives and bright colours,” she tells It’s Nice That. “Also, if you look close you notice how intricate it is, like thousands of tiny brush strokes to represent grass that you might not see at first.”
While musing over Claire’s work, the deep blues, intricate detailing and rich colour palettes send you on a trip to a voyeuristic land. Her perspective frames each canvas in a way that allows the viewer to focus on the architecture and nature of a scene; whether it’s a red-bricked hotel eloquently placed on a hill, or a “vanishing point” that sees a train track disappear into the sea, her portfolio is filled with sun-drenched locations with the architecture to match.
“I draw my inspirations form architecture (urban) or natural spaces, but also from imaginary spaces or mental images,” she explains. Evident through representational buildings and those that are slightly more fictitious, this comparison creates unusual connections – where a stairway leads to an empty platform and all that surrounds it is a glistening moat of water. A further influence comes from her day-to-day journey to work. “Most importantly, I started commuting almost only by foot which has developed a way of perceiving things.”
Claire describes herself as a creative yet contemplative drawer, and recalls how she’s always had a pencil in her hand. Having studied fine arts in school, she experienced a slight hesitation while choosing her next step – deciding between literature or art. She went on to graduate in graphic design and engraving at ESAIG Estienne, before heading to study a national diploma of fine arts at Fine Arts of Paris. “It was a progressive decision,” she says, “but I wanted to be an artist and nothing else, in order to experiment with a complete sense of freedom.”
A usual day for the artist begins in her flat-cum-studio, with an early wake-up call allowing her some time to read in bed before the work begins. “Before lunch I go running or walking for one or two hours,” says Claire. “A fulfilling day of work is one where I have had time to completely loose track of time while painting or drawing.” This implementation of mindfulness throughout her day has allowed Claire to accomplish her goals, with shown now shown at Yishu 8 in Paris and Beijing, Under Construction Gallery in Paris, as well as various others across Seoul and France’s capital.
Evoking somewhat of a reference to David Hockney and Henri Rousseau, Claire explains that people have also likened her work to the Italian Primitives – “but I feel mostly inspired by the music I listen to and the books I read.” For the artist, her main goal is to create an honest expression of the way that she sees the world. She concludes: “I hope to bring a spiritual look on the environment that’s around us.”