When confinement ended in France, we found the time to talk to painter Lucie Duban, located in her studio in the Royan region. After 15 years in Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, London, and Madrid, the young woman felt a need for greenery, calm, and simplicity and settled down in the town of St Georges de Didonne.
Lucie has been working as a painter for 13 years and has agreed to tell us about her latest creations, her inspirations, and her outlook on the world’s current situation as well as her experience in confinement.
What inspired your last three series?
Lucie Duban: My last series arose spontaneously from the mature evolution of my work over the years. I deal with interconnection, links between the living and the invisible, in the sense that materialism does not describe reality. Quantum mechanics, cosmology, and shamanism are therefore sources that inspire my work. My series are built around each other and nested in each other, a bit like Russian dolls. Everything is interconnected and nurtured by interactions at all scales, and it is also the form that my work takes with these series that are all linked.
"Cosmos" speaks of the unheard-of character of life on our planet from the cosmological perspective, as a call to reconnect with the magical dimension of Life.
"Tropical" is a series of paintings that celebrate the colorful vibrations that the living world is capable of generating on Earth.
"Luxuriance" focuses on the intertwining of the living and this intelligence of the living, at scales imperceptible to the human eye, but whose dynamics are essential.
The dominant colors of Tropical, Cosmos, and Luxuriance are orange and blue. What does that mean to you?
LD: The orange coral of “Tropical” balances beautiful contrasts with English prairie greens and clacking turquoise, colors found in the fauna and flora of the tropics. And that's also the effect you get when you look at exotic plants, they’re colorful, and it creates a certain visual excitement; and therefore particular, joyful vibrations. The midnight blue of the “Cosmos” series symbolizes the propensity to escape, contemplation, dreaming, and calm. For “Luxuriance”, the color palette is more varied, each work has its own palette. Whatever the case, the colors give off vibrations and therefore a certain energy. That also comes into play.
Your work is largely influenced by the links that unite us all, whether it be between each other or with nature; do you therefore find that this pandemic has accentuated this feeling of connection in your work?
LD: With the deliberate intention and desire to summon dreaming and contemplation, my painting is influenced by the interconnectedness and connections in the living on all scales. The current particular period has not accentuated this idea in my work, since it has been its raison d'être from the beginning. On the other hand, this period improves the receptivity of my work due to this echo. As the awareness of the notion of interconnectedness and the invisible resonates more with people, my paintings can be better understood, and hopefully more relevant.
Has confinement been beneficial in the creation of your paintings? Or on the contrary, has confinement set you back in your artistic creation?
LD: On a practical level and apart from the aspect of not being able to go out, confinement changed very little for me as even before I would spend long hours in his studio. However, for once the world was moving in slow motion, so I didn't feel like I was missing out on things, but it didn't change my daily routine. On the other hand, we've seen initiatives on social media, such as Instagram, that have come forward to help artists, which is really beneficial and I would like to see them continue. We should do this all the time, in fact, not just in times of crisis. On a personal note, being a very curious person, I started looking into spirituality during this period. This will probably nourish my paintings in the long run.
Were your last three series directly influenced by COVID-19 and the confinement that followed?
LD: Not directly, except for the mini-series I started during the confinement called "Alam- Al-Mithal" on the world of suspended forms. With that, I explored smaller and faster formats. I usually paint with oil so the process takes time. With "Alam- Al-Mithal”, I wanted to try a mini-series where the time of creation and the format would be reduced to the maximum. I am now still continuing this series.
In this particular period, how do you manage to remain productive and inspired?
LD: I've already mourned the collapse of the world we knew before, so the harder stage has passed for me. Now everything remains to be done. I think it's time for everyone to create, tell, write, transmit, teach, make, recycle, finally invent a new story to shape the world we want to live in. The masks that have up until now hidden the dysfunctions and anomalies have fallen and that was necessary for a collective awakening.
We know the state of the world. It is better to devote our energy to the things we love and wants to see happen than to spend it hating on this and that.
I find this era exciting despite its falsely apocalyptic aspect because it is full of promise. If we are courageous and clever, we can succeed in shaping a better and more coherent world thanks to the respect for the living, mutualism, common sense, and priorities. It won’t be easy but frankly, a better world is possible. So, while I am lucid, I still remain enthusiastic.