The primary ingredient of the practice of Paris-based illustrator, Léa Maupetit, is simple: colour. “I love to find harmonies,” Léa tells us “to see how pigments react to each other and also to find the right tone of each colour.” Having started collecting five years ago, Léa now has an extensive collection of colour pigments and colour swatches that she finds “both very playful and very useful.”
Her love for colour translates to a love for anything colourful, be it "plants, fruits, animals or bugs” Léa finds joy across the spectrum. “I feel inspired when I am really happy: everything seems effortless and obvious, everything is joyful,” she explains. The bad days are less inspirational for Léa, but she concludes that “it’s important to find moments to breathe.” In these moments, she Léans towards exploring “combinations of colours, reading botanic books, or just doing something completely different!” This enthusiasm and optimism beams through her jubilant paintings, with infectious results. You can’t help but be transported to a radiant scene in France, accompanied by a happy dachshund.
Léa also has a flair for the 3D, manifesting in beautiful, brightly glazed ceramics. Under the current circumstances, however, she is resorting to alternatives – “I really miss my ceramics time and paper maché is a way to fulfil the need to create in 3D.”
What Léa finds most rewarding about her work is seeing people interact with it, such as “hanging prints in their rooms or playing with games I’ve illustrated. I really love seeing a finished project.” In commercial work, Léa finds it most fun to work on projects “that I would love to use myself.” This includes her recent Ancient Egypt-themed memory game, for Laurence King Publishing with the British Museum, and an upcoming cluster puzzle game called 299 cats and one dog. Léa describes this as “the perfect commission for me: patterns, animals, Egyptian divinities and even organs…” Other recent work has included a capsule collection for Arket children last winter “about animals from various climates.” Prior to lockdown, Léa was due to launch Fleurs de saisons, a new children’s book split across all four seasons. “I am very proud of it!” Léa tells us, “it was quite a challenge since it’s a documentary collection, which required a greater level of detail than what I usually pay attention to.”
A reoccurring star of Léa’s practice is, in fact, her dachshund – Olive. “Since I work from home, I spend a lot of time with her and I love observing her behaviour,” she explains. “She is very lazy and loves spending hours in a sunny spot by the window.” Her dachshund interest didn’t start with Olive but long before adopting her, previously drawing “imaginary dachshunds” that brought her work to life. Reminiscent of David Hockney’s dachshund series, Olive seems the perfect embodiment of Léa’s work and an appropriate recurring theme. The hounds show a warm simplicity that is mirrored in Léa’s style, the crude but considered mark marking and joyous colours result in an overwhelming feeling of contentment. “She helps us carry on during quarantine time,” Léa adds, “she is as stubborn as ever and even happier since we’ve been staying home.”
About the Author
After graduating from Winchester School of Art, studying graphic arts, Harry worked as a graphic designer before joining It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in March 2020. He nows works as a freelance writer and designer, and is one half of Studio Ground Floor.