Over the last couple of weeks, shoppers around Brick Lane will have noticed that the homeware store Cuemars has been taken over by an enormous inflatable sculpture of a stark naked woman diving into a satisfying splosh of water. With her bubblegum-pink skin tone and her voluptuous curves, this could only be the work of Marylou Faure. The installation seeks to embody the “weightless freedom” one experiences when “fully immersed in water”, Marylou tells us. With the last few weeks of stinking hot weather, the timing of the piece couldn't be more apt.
When we first fell in love with Marylou’s illustrations, it was for her joyful and sensual 2D work. But her recent ventures into large-scale, three-dimensional sculpture marks an exciting new chapter in her creative practice. For Marylou, everything about this new step has felt natural. “I always felt like my characters were almost a living thing; that they could move, that they had a physical presence in their curvy shapes and their confident attitude,” she explains. “I knew the translation from 2D to 3D would be seamless,” she continues, “because everything that makes my characters what they are would be accentuated and embellished in 3D.” You only need to look at her recent body of work to realise how right she was.
However, her new vision hasn’t become without its challenges. The design for a new piece usually needs a lot of adjusting, “things like separating the arms and legs, or simplifying the design a bit”, and the 3D samples often come out very different to how she had imagined them. In fact, for her diving woman in Skinny Dipping, “the sample couldn’t have been more wrong”, laughs Marylou. “The angle of the girl was not working, the water was way too big and it looked quite clunky and unbalanced.” Nevertheless, with a little clever tweaking Marylou brought her idea to life, magically summoning the incomparable joy and freedom of a skinny dip.
In fact, Skinny Dipping is not the first nor the largest inflatable sculpture in Marylou’s oeuvre. In February of last year, her Daydream piece, initially designed as a 30cm-tall resin figurine, was re-imagined as a mountainous 40m inflatable for the Openfile exhibition in Shanghai. Working in collaboration with V Collective which curated the show, the decision to go inflatable was a practical one because it helped achieve the enormous proportions they had envisioned. “We also thought the playfulness of an inflatable went well with my work,” adds Marylou.
Marylou has also explored other methods for achieving enormous dimensions without the help of her trusty inflatables. At the VR Museum, which was created by Secondary Bounce and designed by Boldtron, her digital sculptures fill a whole room. “I chose to have two of my girls, Arise and Blossom,” says Marylou. “The two pieces fit together well as they are both a display of sensuality and playfulness, which I thought went well with the idea of the room being their own.” Despite their impressive scale, Marylou’s aim for the piece was to create a sense of intimacy between her “girls” and the viewer; to “enter their private world”.
Since 2019 – the year she first dreamed of imagining her work in 3D – Marylou's creations have powerfully emphasised the three things which make her characters her own: “their bubbliness, their curves and their glossiness." Satisfied with her experiments so far, she affirms that going 3D was the “last step” needed for characters to be “complete”. But don’t be fooled into thinking that she’s done experimenting. “There is still so much to be discovered and to be done within the 3D world,” she finishes. “I’m very excited to keep pushing this as much as possible.”
Marylou Faure: Skinny Dipping (Copyright © Marylou Faure, 2022)
About the Author
Elfie joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in November 2021 after finishing an art history degree at Sussex University. She is particularly interested in creative projects which shed light on histories that have been traditionally overlooked or misrepresented.