Artist Inès Longevial has been painting since childhood, with a constant interest in representing herself, people in her life and her surroundings; and an ever-changing approach to tools and medium, she tells It’s Nice That, “I do not want to limit myself”. Inès explains, “I don’t like to reproduce what I’ve done [for] too long. Tool change is always a renewal for me, a way of turning the page and finding new things to say as a technique evolves and changes.”
While she switches up her tools, Inès’ ability to represent people in an abstracted, but readable way is consistent. She builds up bodies and faces out of parts, as if the women depicted in her work are wearing their memories on the outside, as part of their body or as an adornment. The balance between facial features and patterns are worked out according to what’s “natural enough to appeal to imagination, dreams and memories”. Simultaneously, the colours and forms that make up each portrait also suggest shifts between light and shadow, as well as the impact of the surrounding environment. But the location of a portrait is often out of reach because of Inès’ close-up focus: “I’m short-sighted and it’s a pleasure to look very closely and to concentrate on a certain zone. The way light shines is often my starting point, and what inspires me to paint."
Inès describes her inspirations as “constantly changing”, but recent influences include: “Cities like New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles, where you see far and the light is very intense. I saw The Favourite recently, I thought it was excellent; and The Jinx. I also went to see Hilma af Klint’s exhibition at the Guggenheim in New York, it was a revelation. She’s a genius.”
On her creative process, the artist adds, "I draw everyday with models but it’s more like an exercise, I’m often catching up with self-portrait. I’m not sure I’m intimate, but it’s something more obvious to me that allows me to convey messages. Also, my painting is like a logbook, so it is natural that the self-portrait is present”. There’s a consistent message running through Inès’ work, “that of being a woman in 2019”, she tells us. “Working on portraits is also a testament to my desire to return to a neutral zone, on equal ground whatever the genre”, she continues. “I am a spiritual person and my work is a projection of all that. For me, the paintings touch me and send me as if I were under the effect of a spell, and that’s what I paint for.”
Inès has exhibited internationally, and is currently preparing for her first show in Paris, of works made between Paris and Marrakech. She’s also working on a book, which “will trace a year of work from January to December 2018, as the seasons go by”.
About the Author
Billie studied illustration at Camberwell College of Art before completing an MA in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art. She joined It’s Nice That as a Freelance Editorial Assistant back in January 2015 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis.