Julie Lansom, obsessed with shapes and colors
Julie, we have been following you for years on the networks, we regularly exchange with you, but we still have the feeling that we don't know much about you.
It’s true, it happens a lot nowadays. Then one day you come across these same people in the street and you don’t know how to act : say hello at the risk of not being recognised, or walk away. It’s still strange. In any case, greet me if it happens to us one day!
I am not very talkative on the networks. I rarely speak out or show what’s private in my life. I’ll try to say a little more here.
I was born and raised in the South of France, in a very Mediterranean family, with lots of laughter, emotions and generosity. My maternal grandparents worked at the post office, my paternal grandparents were bakers. My mother works in the medical-social field, my father is an art dealer. My brother is a musician. There is no need to look very far for my taste for aesthetics.
I was introduced to photography by my mother, to painting by my father, and I have always done a lot of tinkering, touching, transforming, making.
“My brother was already an artist and I had never really considered taking that path professionally, as if the place was already taken in the family”
When I arrived in Paris 11 years ago, I finished my studies with a Master’s degree at the French Press Institute. My brother was already an artist and I had never really considered taking that path professionally, as if the place was already taken in the family. I worked as a freelancer for a while, but I always kept experimenting with things on the side. Then one day I just needed a light for my house and I got out this old lamp from the 70s. I thought the idea of notches and wires was interesting but I was sure there was more to it. I started to think about new materials, new shapes, new weaving techniques and created the first Sputnik lamp, entirely homemade (with a lot of help with the wood cutting of course).
Once I was settled at home, my friends started asking me for them, then my friends’ friends. I thought I’d put them on my website (which was basically a photo site) and the orders came in. Without realising it, I was doing this full time…
It happened quite organically but I embraced this new adventure with the greatest of pleasure.
Photography, lighting, painting, ceramics... what drives you daily ? How do you manage to give life to all these ideas without losing yourself in them?
In fact, I think I just had the trigger one day to allow myself to live and experiment freely. All creative people know that what blocks us is doubts, anxieties, the question of legitimacy, and above all the way others look at us.
I’ve obviously been there, especially given my background. I heard remarks that made me waver, almost flinch, but one day it “clicked” and I simply stopped worrying about it. Yes there will always be bad tongues, yes it will always sound a bit like something that exists, but the main thing is to be clear and calm with what you are doing. The day you get rid of all that, you are free. And freedom is the most wonderful feeling.
So I don’t forbid myself anything anymore, I wander around according to my desires, from support to support, from object to object, from project to project.
I don’t think I get lost in the multiplicity of my ideas simply because they have one thing in common : they all come from the same head.
The love for colours and shapes
That’s exactly it. When I describe my approach I simply say that I am “obsessed with shapes and colours”. That’s what the world comes down to for me, as if I have the vision of an infant. I synthesise and simplify everything I see in this way. I think this is most obvious in my paintings. They are my vision of different landscapes that I know.
For me inspiration is everywhere, all the time. A memory, a silhouette, nature, a manhole, a film, a building… I believe that we are never really aware of this process at the time it takes place, that things are swallowed, digested and then come out in a new form, without us even realising it.
I don’t have an art and design education and training so I have a very intuitive and almost naive approach. I think it’s quite important to preserve this naivety. I’m not a technician and I don’t try to become one. I learn every day from the extraordinary craftsmen I work with.
“I’ve always wanted to work with ceramic. I love to touch things and it’s the perfect medium”
I’ve always wanted to work with ceramic. I love to touch things and it’s the perfect medium. I have launched a small series of vases called Paris and Luxor. The Paris has straighter, more urban lines and the Luxor reminds me of the amphorae of antiquity.
I wanted soft colours, but also much more impactful ones, like this royal blue. All the vases are worked in engobe, which gives them a very matt finish and feel. This is quite unique, especially for the blue, which has a slightly grainy feel. It is not the most common ceramic technique.
I couldn’t make these vases myself. I’m not trained in this technique and my hands are already very busy weaving. The artisans I work with are in France. It is a beautiful house that exists since the 19th century. Everything is made by hand, which means there are small differences between each piece and gives them their unique character.
Any new creative projects in the pipeline?
Plenty. Tables, rugs, cups, new paintings, new lamps… lots and lots of things !
Julie's favorite on Cool Machine
I love the care taken in the selection of the pieces and the artistic direction of the site. It’s very coherent and immediately recognizable visually. There are the artists and the pieces, but there is also a lot of you and your own creativity in Cool Machine.
I love the colours of Mari Masot’s creations and the softness of Cassandre Bouilly’s pieces !