Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Meet Artist Gabrielle from Reunion Island

Born on Réunion Island in 1971, Gabrielle Manglou is an artist who graduated from Beaux-Arts de Montpellier & amp;  Marseille in France. Poetical and playful, heavy and light, Gabrielle’s work invites you into a fantastical world coloured with eventful images. Her aim is to create a magical world where humans, animals and plants can communicate and co-exist in harmony. She currently lives and works in Réunion and Excuses Excuses! is her first project with Tara Books.

We at Saffron Tree ( ST) are really happy to have Gabrielle( G) here with us during Crocus. Truly multicultural as she is!!

ST- Can you share with us how did you decide on your calling? What inspires you when you illustrate?
G- I am an only child. My mother was working in a highschool as an accountant and my father had many jobs. But he worked a lot in cultural field (music or painting, handcraft ). I chose Art in secondary school. I tried my chance at the university (psychology, then sociology) but it wasn’t for me, and then I went to Art School.

I studied graphic design. Now I’m working since many years with La Lanterne Magique on old movies or old pictures with musicians and actors. I’m also teaching colors at the Art School of La Réunion since last year.

For me the best thing about being an artist is the bliss, the liberty of doing something that no one could manage, something magic that comes out of me, something that request to learn about everything I see.

As a child and now, who are your favourite kids authors/ illustrators? Any French childrens’ books you think must be translated and read the world over?
It will be just some examples because so many people do right, beautiful and unforgettable things !
I love picture’s books about anatomy, Voodoo, painters, photographers…
Children Books : Lewis Caroll, Kitty Crowthers, Beatrice Alemagna, Pacovska…

Tara is known for its stand out production values- what was your experience like? How did you collaborate?
I was working with a gallery, and two years ago this gallery hosted an exhibition by indian artists. Among the Indian artists, one of them, Avishek Sen, conducted a workshop which I attended. Following the workshop, I was selected to go to India for a residence. As the choice was mine, I decided to go to Chennai to work with Tara Books Publishing. Indeed, I was already fascinated by the drawings of the artists who were collaborating with Tara Books Publishing.

How did the illustration style for Excuses Excuses evolve? Do you think a collage style can work for any picture book? Did you personally interact with Anushka?
I feel close to Anushka. We have the same humour and her way of playing with words would be my way if I were a writer. I play with shapes, I mix them and I also like to work with repeated patterns. When I illustrate a text, I don’t want to make a copy of the words or a copy of the story. It’s just like body and mind. I have imagined a body for this mind, but someone else could do it in a different way. Tara introduced me to Anushka when I came to India a few years back.

Who and how was Neel ( the boy in the story)identified? Did you take the photos yourself? How was it working with a child, that too from a different culture?
Neel is Anushka’s nephew, and he came to the Tara office where we had lots of fun all together.

You have used the typical Tamil day sheet calender on the inner covers. How did this catch your fancy?
The calendar was used in my art, and it was Tara who decided that this particular image would work well on the inner cover.

How did you decide the cultural icons the collages are peppered with – eg. An ambassador car and not any other brand let us say?
The ambassador comes from my personal collection of visual insights from India, it is something that really struck me as unique.

You conducted a class on collage making in Chennai, can you share some highlights/ pointers?
I love the fresh mind of children, they speak as they think and they want to dream. They are open to ‘’travel’’ to a world that doesn’t exist. They need to play, they need to transform reality.


How has your experience in India been? How do you see Indian art , especially in picture books?
India had influence me of course, crows, kolams, the gods, sounds in the Streets, the liquid way of driving a car…the colors.

What are your upcoming projects?
I am preparing two art exibitions in La Reunion to be presented in September. And I’ll enjoy to work finally with my friend Ann. We want to work about a strange but dramatic true story about a boat who failed in 1761 on Tromelin Island. On the boat, there were slaves who stayed 15 years on this little desert island with nothing, just sand, birds, and the rest of the boat. We want to make an Art Installation inspired by this story.


Sheela said...

Thank you, Gabrielle for sharing your story with us. And, thanks Art for bringing the story to us.

Choxbox said...

Very interesting, would love to be part of your workshop Gabrielle!

Artnavy said...

Welcome Sheela

Chox- Yes Tara shld get her over to Blore no?

And note " liquid way of driving "!! How true.

sandhya said...

Thanks for this interview, Art. Loved the way she has of expressing things.

"They are open to ‘’travel’’ to a world that doesn’t exist. They need to play, they need to transform reality." How true.

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