SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS Welcomes Artheline
We shine the spotlight on another collaborator, Artheline , who will be coming down to Raffles Marina for the SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS.
We have been featuring several brands and collaborators that will be making an appearance at the SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS this month and today we bring you another, this one quite different to the others. Husband and wife duo Arnaud Nazare-Aga and Adeline Buenaventura are the creative forces behind Artheline, and they answer a few questions about their work and what is in store for visitors at the luxury lifestyle event.
1) Could you tell us a little bit more about how “Artheline” came about?
Arnaud Nazare-Aga: Before talking about Artheline, which is the artist signature of Adeline and myself, let’s talk first about the PAJ’Art studio in Thailand, in Bangkok, which I created six years ago. In practice, it’s 1,000 square meters over four floors where nearly 30 people work that I trained and who help in the realization of the art pieces, carefully following my and Adeline’s instructions for the designs painted on the pieces.
The idea of creating the Artheline duo came naturally. While I was creating designs and crafting painted sculptures for other artists in our workshop, I felt like creating works with my wife Adeline. Initially the shapes were fairly simple like for example a woman, with the particularity of being round and generous, with very balanced proportions. Then paint (these shapes) with bright colors and more to give them the gaiety, beauty and a certain energy associated with each of the colors and their combination. All surfaces of the sculptures are covered with several layers of very bright marine varnish, which is sanded by hand several times between the layers to give great clarity and brightness to the surface of the piece. The originality of the work is in the aspect of finishing the piece, which looks as if it is blown glass or porcelain. This very elaborate surface is a job that often represents 50% of the time.
2) There are quite a few interesting figurines created by “Artheline”. How do you find your inspiration for each new sculpture?
Arnaud: Soon came the desire to make big pieces, that’s when I imagined doing a huge Sumo on one leg. Asian and Western collectors immediately appreciated these first creations which encouraged us to continue to make collections with the same inspiration, which is round, generous, with clean lines, very colorful, expressive bodies and little or no relief in the face.
The shape of the hippo came to me as I wanted to sculpt an animal not overly represented artistically speaking and a mammal that is dangerous to make it nice and friendly by the interpretation of form and color that we would give him.
Collections Whale Pop and the Goril’Pop have been created with the same inspiration to turn a dangerous animal into a joyous, peaceful and charming representation that you would want to see close to home on a daily basis.
About the collections of the Little Prince, which was shown last year for the first time in the world in Singapore, at The Fullerton hotel and the Alliance Française, if the technique is very similar, the approach is very different. The principle of these two sets of 14 sculptures presented in installation, is to bring to life, for all those who knew this wonderful book, the magic of the world of the Little Prince with an interpretation that is very faithful to the original drawings of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. For this project, the motivation is still the same: to awaken joy and happiness amongst people who see our work. And for those who do not have their entire visual faculty, the installation “The Little Prince in the Dark” was created to allow everyone to be able to touch the pieces and so to ‘see’ the drawings of the Little Prince with the fingers. These collections were then presented recently in Hong Kong at Pacific Place and in a South Korean national museum for almost five months, the Gyeonggi Provincial Museum.
3) How have the sculptures been received in Singapore?
Adeline Buenaventura: Very proud to say that the Singaporean public really loves our artworks. We are greatly blessed to share the joy we create with them, and Singapore is where “Artheline” got the first positive response from the public. It is also where we first showcased our sculptures so Singapore has been life changing for us.
Arnaud: The first time I went canvassing for a gallery outside of Bangkok, where we live and work, it was in Bruno Gallery near Tanglin Mall. The manager of the gallery at the time immediately wanted to buy a small sumo for himself, because he was not authorized to select artworks or artists on behalf of the gallery. As he had left it on his desk, customers wanted to buy it, and that’s how we started working with Bruno Gallery. A few months later, a gallery in Bangkok offered us a small space on its stand of the AAF; it was the first time I presented and sold directly our work at a big art show. Popularity with Singaporeans was amazing! Since then we present our work on a regular basis with large solo exhibitions such as the Hippop’Art exhibition at the Fullerton last year and the Little Prince.
Singapore represents an important and extraordinary exhibition space for us because here we present our work to all nationalities and cultures of the world.
4) Working together as husband and wife must be rewarding. But you might have your differences as well. How has that synergy helped or affected the process of creation?
Adeline: Working as couple can be complicated and it is a difficult venture: two persons with different perceptions, two sets of needs to be considered, and two expectations which are involved. Especially, being brought up in two different worlds, combining forces from these two different cultures helped us achieve our goals and a sense of mutual accomplishment. We have worked together to serve a purpose greater than ourselves.
Clarity is very important, we both knew what each other’s goals were and we defined our roles and fulfilled our purpose in creating, Arnaud creates the sculptures and is in charge of technical matters while I design, draw and paint on the sculptures.
It is rewarding that even with all these differences, we were able to create and bring together our creative potential. Very rewarding indeed, to bring and share happiness through our art with the people who love and appreciate our work.
Arnaud: Adeline and I have very different origins, Adeline is Filipina and I’m French. So, we don’t have the same cultural background, education, or even the same religion. We got married 20 years ago when we were living in Hong Kong and we decided to create art together five years ago. For my part it was something natural to work collaboratively, it was the continuation of what I had started 18 years ago when I was building Buddhist temples in France, where I was in charge of the carved and moulded decorations.
We respect as much as possible the work of each other while providing personal touches on the work of the other.
Today we also work individually. Adeline creates abstract paintings and she is preparing for an exhibition and I realize the Little Prince projects that correspond to a very personal and spiritual project.
5) How do different cultures respond to the various sculptures and themes?
Arnaud: I think one can see in our work an expression of both genders and the influence of Western and Eastern cultures. This probably the secret of Artheline’s success as we are appreciated by both men and women, and our collectors are both Asian and Westerners.
6) Are the sculptures meant to be interactive? Was it intentional and how do you feel about viewers interacting with the sculptures?
Arnaud: Our creations have always triggered a joyous emotional reaction for people who look, whatever their age, their origin, their culture and their sex. This reaction is part of the creation of the work, it is intentional when we realize the pieces. We intend for people who see the works to want to take pleasure by sight and touch, to take the pieces in their hands, see them in their arms or even to sit on them as is the case of the Hippop’Art or Whale POPs of larger sizes which are made to withstand the pressure despite their lightness. We want children to live with our sculptures and love them without the frustration of not being able to touch them and ride on them.
7) How has Adeline’s background as a florist and artist contributed to the way in which each piece is produced?
Adeline: As a self-taught artist, being a florist is the very essence of my creativity. Floral art was a big contribution in developing the artist in me and it is my stepping stone. From this background of designing, creating and arranging flowers in different aspects, mixing of various elements with graphics, and composing of different colors. This contributed to all the hippos and to all the rest of our sculptures in their playful and sometimes quirky designs and personalities with eclectic colors, which is pleasing to the eye like flowers!
8) How do you reinvent and experiment with various models?
Arnaud: Each collection of sculptures must bring or send rather different energy. Some collections are a bit similar as are Hippop’Art and Whale Pop, or Venus and Ballerina, but each of the forms is different enough to make our collectors want to acquire at least one piece of each collection.
9) We love the hippo sculptures, how did you come up with those?
Adeline: The idea and inspirations of “Artheline” sculptures is to work on the roundness and character of the sculptures.
Why Hippo? We did the hippo because it is his roundness and his aggressive character that gives us the inspiration to turn this into something lovely, attractive, colorful, happy and touchable.
Hippos are well known for their aggressive behaviour and they can lethal. The hippo is not lovable at all. Our hippos are just amazingly friendly, beautiful and happy.
10) These sculptures will be showcased at the inaugural SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS. What does it mean to you, to be part of such an event?
Adeline: For us, it is a great pleasure and a huge opportunity to be a part of this event and to showcase our artwork and surely it is a huge compliment and exposure for us as artists. After our Hippop’art exhibition at The Fullerton Hotel and Marina Bay last year it will be a continuation and we hope it will be a great success!
We are very grateful to Art Porters for their initiative together with the organizers of SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS.