>> Every now and then, an artist makes headway into the forefronts of people’s collective conscious. In the last couple of years, French artist Delphine Vaute has done so with her surreally delicate and hauntingly beautiful drawings, paintings, and etches.
Her work is no stranger to the surreal portrayal of birds, deer, rabbits, insects, children, and girls, all as one. It’s typical to see her illustrate girls with animal ears, deer antlers, or tree branches, or animals and humans quite literally blending into one another. Delphine pulls her work from the subtle throws of nightmares into hazy, warm dreams by using soft pastel colours to mask her strange imagery. She uses paper, metal plates, and porcelain as her canvases.
Delphine’s work portrays dream-like interactions between humans and animals, and her consistent portrayal of animals very well could have been inspired from her upbringing. She grew up along the Loire River, the longest river in France which extends from the western French-Atlantic, through the Massif Mountains, and all the way down into southeastern France. She recalls how growing up surrounded by nature inspired her artwork and that she has been drawing ever since childhood.
She studied and further developed her craft in the city of Angers at the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux Arts, where she also studied art history. Her artwork is very inspired by the Baroque time period, as well as paintings by Caravaggio. It’s clear that her study of Baroque art, mainly Caravaggio, helped her learn to illustrate both the human and animal form to precise and emotional measures.
Eventually, Delphine wanted to make art her job. She describes working as an artist in France as “precarious”, and how it is hard to be taken seriously as an artist in France. In a career-driven western world, it seems hard for artists to make a living and get by; however, Delphine runs a successful Etsy page and also has some of her work on display in a handful of galleries and boutiques in the French cities of Paris, Nantes, and Brest. So far, she most enjoyed working on her 2014 book Yvonne, L’enfant Château (which translates to “Yvonne, the Child Castle”).
In her free time, Delphine collects books about botany and natural history, and wherever she travels, she makes sure to visit natural history museums for inspiration.
She is also inspired by the photographs of Joël Peter Witkin, the paintings of Barcelo, and David Lynch films. Witkin’s photographs are surreal in themselves, and the draw of inspiration from his surreal works is evident in Delphine’s work. Delphine’s use both warm and cool colours similarly to Barcelo, and her surreal portrayal of humans and animals looks inspired by David Lynch’s 2002 short-film Rabbits.
She is currently working on two large scale projects that will be on public display in France later this year. She currently resides in Nantes and enjoys the artwork of other fellow Nantes artists like Pedro, Benjamin Bachelier, and Karine Bernadou.
She describes her work as “strange” and hopes people take away a sense of “strangeness in beauty” from her work. Her advice to other illustrators and artists: Always find some pleasure in what you do. According to Delphine, the drive of her artwork is similar. <<