Lucie Monin is a gilder artist who has been revisiting for more than 10 years this thousand-year-old know-how, adapting it to all media: from fashion to architecture, through object design. Following in the footsteps of the craftsmen who maintain the existence of ancestral traditional creative arts, she safeguards this rich heritage through technical transmission, adapting it to today’s tastes. From Loewe, Balenciaga, Delvaux and Weston, her skills are called upon by the Grandes Maisons for the customisation of unique decors for events or the sublimation of unique pieces.
You revisit a traditional know-how. In recent years, the manual creative arts have tended to get lost and are not necessarily recognized by the public. Moreover, the Luxury Houses are fighting to promote their learning before they decline. How did you discover gilding and why did it transcend you to the point of wanting to make it last?
I fell in love with this art and its history about 17 years ago. I initially wanted to go into book restoration since I have always been fascinated by archaeology and ancient objects, including writings. It was while studying at the Centre des Arts du Livre, formerly part of the Arts Déco, that I discovered these works covered with gold watermarks engraved on leather worn by time, reflecting a style, an era and a history that had remained unsettled.
I very quickly became immersed in it and was able to start exploring new materials and different designs thanks to a stint at the Ecole Bleue, a school of architecture and design. The Balenciaga house also allowed me to really get my foot in the door. This know-how attracts me because of its authenticity, the need to appeal to patience and passion. I also have a great freedom of expression since this technique is halfway between craftsmanship and art.
Can you tell us about this precious art of yours? For what kind of needs do brands call on you? How do you approach the elaboration of a project?
My work is deliberately precious because of the material I use – gold – but also because I do everything by hand. The Houses contact me in order to create unique decors that will be sold in limited editions or exceptional pieces. These artistic collaborations come naturally when the universes but also common values of excellence, meaning and humanity come together. When a project begins, there is always the research phase; I present sketches and different graphic proposals, one of which will later be selected. I have also been working with brands for 10 years for the engraving of initials for events in France and abroad. I always enjoy sharing my art with clients who are sensitive to it or simply open to discovery.
From murals to handbags to interior design, your supports are varied. In terms of techniques, how is the process of engraving on a wall different from that on leather or any other material? How do you choose the latter? And how do you adapt your work according to them?
As I have chosen to always use the same technique, I adapt the support to it. The field of possibilities remains large because many materials can accommodate these gold watermarks: such as wood (burnt, varnish … ), Plexiglas, paper, wallpaper, soapstone, acetate, lacquer … I choose the supports according to the feasibility but also according to the aesthetic aspect because the result must be strong and coherent.
You have achieved the feat of gilding leaves. You realize that everything can be an element conducive to sublimation. What is the most unexpected or atypical project you have worked on?
I like to have fun with objects or surfaces. Yes, I presented a rather unexpected and atypical project at the Hoxton Hotel last June during my exhibition “L’Antre de Lucie Monin”. It is an artistic collaboration with the photographer Laurente Depaepe: a limited series of photo portraits (70cm x 100cm) entitled “Balance”, evoking the balance of forms and volumes. The golden pointillism underlines the areas of light, creating relief but also an osmosis, a balance between the two techniques. We are in the process of imagining other series to come. The result is very singular, very precious and integrates wonderfully into the decoration!
What project would you love to do?
The project I dream of would be to express myself through a whole space, to intervene from floor to ceiling, through all the walls and objects related to this place in order to create a precious cocoon in which one comes to dream, read and feel good… A good environment maintains the spirit, doesn’t it? Beyond the artistic creation in itself, however elaborate and harmonious it may be, lies a search for meaning.
Beyond the artistic creation in itself, however elaborate and harmonious it may be, lies a search for meaning. What would you like to tell? And how do you inscribe this narration through drawing?
I wish to highlight the softness, the femininity. The idea is to give life to all my creations, to create movement through each work: to bring a rhythm, to define breaks, to express a poetry, a story and to find a notion of aesthetic balance. I like the notion of surprise,
intervening where you don’t expect to.
For many artists, the question of time is paramount. That of knowing how to stop the unbridled race of time in a hyperactive society. We also find it in this need to escape and dream. How do you express them?
Indeed, it is essential! It allows me to perceive the world differently and to share part of my sensitivity. I like to give rise to this same feeling of escape in others, to create a break that goes against the “futurism of the moment” present in today’s society where, in the end, time for dreaming has no place. I am in search of aesthetic balance, of something simple, spontaneous, beautiful and precious. By using a very authentic and “raw” know-how, requiring patience and passion, I have access to a freedom of expression that allows me to take my time. And this know-how in itself is a balance between the past and the present…time is therefore of the utmost importance.
By the choice of your profession, which arises in the transmission, your sources of artistic inspiration, your search for history and meaning, as well as your interest in time, you seem attached to the cultural, emotional and creative heritage that nourishes civilizations and guides them in their expression. What does tradition mean to you? How do you harmonize it with progress and innovation?
History gives us a better understanding of today’s world. I see tradition as a pillar on which we need to rely and an inexhaustible source of ideas. For me, the idea of transmission is important and tradition reflects this approach. For example, I have great difficulty with acts of vandalism perpetrated against the vestiges of the past. How can it be harmonized with progress? By creating a fusion between tradition and innovation: by continuing to draw and engrave my designs by hand using this ancestral and magical know-how on different materials, whether they are noble, modern, with specific features… or within contemporary spaces. Isn’t luxury to have in the end a unique creation, thought and designed just for oneself?
Featured photo: © Lucie Monin
[EN] CÉLIA MASTORCHIO-FABBRI IS AN ARTIST AND PROFESSIONAL OF DIGITAL COMMUNICATION. GRADUATED FROM AN ESC IN LUXURY BUSINESS, SHE WROTE A BOOK ON ARTKETING AND LEGITIMATE COLLABORATIONS BETWEEN ART AND LUXURY. HAVING ACQUIRED HER SKILLS WITH SEVERAL BRANDS, NOTABLY BETWEEN LONDON AND PARIS, THROUGH A DIGITAL AGENCY, SHE WAS ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF A JEWELLERY WEBSITE. TODAY, SHE CREATES NARRATIVE AND VISUAL CONTENT (ILLUSTRATIONS, PHOTOGRAPHS, COLLAGES, ANIMATIONS...) TO ACCOMPANY THE HOUSES, PARTICULARLY JEWELLERS, IN THE DEPLOYMENT OF THEIR IDENTITY. ****** [FR] Célia Mastorchio-Fabbri est une artiste et professionnelle de la communication digitale. Diplômée d'une ESC en Luxury Business, elle a écrit un livre sur l’Artketing et les collaborations légitimes entre l'Art et le Luxe. Ayant acquis ses compétences auprès de plusieurs marques, notamment entre Londres et Paris, en passant par une agence digitale, elle fut également responsable du management d'un site joaillier. Aujourd'hui, elle crée des contenus narratifs et visuels (illustrations, photographies, collages, animations…) pour accompagner les Maisons, particulièrement joaillières, dans le déploiement de leur identité.