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5 Minutes with Vianne Savoli

Vianne Savoli is an experienced painter from France whose work has been exhibited in solo and group shows internationally. Creating art ever since she was a kid, Savoli developed her unique style combining 1920s art deco influences with contemporary concepts and the politics of today. Working in oil on canvas, her paintings are full of bright color palettes and mannequin like figures that provide fresh narratives. We sat down with Vianne Savoli to talk about her current projects, inspiration, and the start of her artistic career.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

For as long as I can remember! It started with me drawing on the walls of my living room when I was three years old. I was depicting the visual representations of the words that I was learning; words like “day,” “night,” “mountain,” etc. So gradually the wall became a gallery, of course to the dismay of the adults living in the house! Also as a child I loved the idea of giving people an experience, sharing something from my soul with theirs.

Glass Ceiling (2020), Vianne Savoli

Can you talk about your artistic influences and other artists you are most inspired by?

Censorship played a big role in my childhood, I was born in Iran in 1979 on the day of the revolution. Having been through a revolution, war, and multiple exiles throughout my childhood, my art is heavily marked by women and men seeking expression, freedom, and justice. I put together scenes from inspirations from my own daily experiences, literature, philosophy, opera as well as pop-culture and social and psychological questions.

Influenced primarily by Carl Gustave Jung and in depth psychology, I depict archetypes of the human psyche in imaginary scenes where female and male anatomies in closed interiors narrate stories. The language of each painting is coded through symbols, originating from elements of our collective psyche, enabling the viewer to read the story in a common universal language.

My painting style is influenced by Expressionism (Henry Mattise, Pierre Bonnard, Egon Schiele, Otto Dix), as well as the Art-Deco and the Pop-Art (Tamara de Lempicka, Thibaut Wayne).

Can you tell us a little bit about your process of creation?

The compositions come spontaneously from my imagination directly onto the canvas without prior sketches, and there is a strong storytelling element in them. All I know is that suddenly I see a vision, with details, and it wants to come out. Once I start to draw the visions on the canvas I start to understand them and get the story, so I discover the stories as they come to life.

For example the women in my paintings have no hair, as a protest against the mandatory veil. This happened completely unconsciously, first I was surprised that they had no hair, later I discovered why.

Coffee in the morning helps, as well as good lighting, and no background noise.

Gentlemen’s Club (2020), Vianne Savoli

Do you prefer to work alone or collaborate with others?

Being an artist is by definition a solitary existence. I need lots and lots of alone time in order to see the images, and to bring them into the outside world in the way they want to come out. However too much solitary time can be heavy and even act as a blockage, so it needs to be balanced out with a good social life or by collaborating with other artists on collective projects, which can be very enriching and inspiring at times.

Thus staying open to the outside world, consuming other forms of art, and getting nurtured by anything that feeds the soul is necessary in my process of creation. However, mostly I have a vital need to paint alone in my own space to be at the service of my subjects.

Can you tell us about a project you’re currently working on?

Currently I am working on a collection called the “Office” for a solo show this summer in Hong Kong. Inspired by my own corporate experience as a former investment banker, I am putting together a series of big paintings where the creative energy gets to express itself in the office environment.

Also incidentally due to the pandemic and remote working coming into fashion, the concept of Office has started to get a different meaning within the last year, and has become a quite ambivalent topic. I have another secret project that will be unveiled hopefully before 2022 that is so far confidential.

Quota (2020), Vianne Savoli

What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t an artist?

A banker, writer, or TV presenter.

Have you found any other artists on Singulart whose work you admire?

There are lots of great artists on Singuart, too many actually, but a few I like are Ta Byrne, Luc Villard, Niki Hare, Hugo Pondz, and Jean-Pierre Kunkel.

What advice could you give to young artists starting out?

Define your own style, understand why you are doing it, and stay faithful to yourself and your value. In addition, be genuinely kind to other people including other artists because everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle as Plato says, “Last but not least grow a tough skin.”

Click here to view the SINGULART profile of Vianne Savoli!