Let us introduce you to our favorite French artists or craftsmen!

Novice or with many years of expertise, their work and creative art caught our attention. You might not find their final projects in Parisian shops, but there is always a way to buy them or ask for bespoke artwork (social media contacts, e-shops…). 

With these interviews, you will better understand their personalities and creative process. Thus, you may discover your next favorite French artwork!

We will regularly update this section with new interviews…:-)

  • Papier à Êtres, the sculptural paper lights

    The first time I saw a Papier à Êtres’ lighting sculpture, I was in awe ! This artistic brand displays sculptures and lightings in paper, paper-mache and ceramic. It was created by the French Sophie Mouton-Perrat and the Canadian Frédéric GuiBrunet. Let’s find out who they are !

    Who are you & what do you do ?

    We are a couple of creators of sculptures and light sculptures with paper. Recently, we have also been making pieces combining paper and ceramics. We have worked together for 16 years. Previously, each of us already worked with paper, each in our way.

    What is your background (or your artistic background)? How did you start?

    Sophie studied applied arts in high school. She explored paper from childhood, following modelling clay and clay in the form of foldings and paper-mâché. Frédéric studied chemistry; he approached the product from this angle. However, it was the material, its structure, and its attributes that first interested him.

    What is the main subject of your work / theme explored?

    We don’t have a favorite theme. Each collection starts from a different subject: nature, architecture, circus, the human…

    Where do you work? What does your workplace/workshop look like?

    We work in a house; the workshop is bright with a garden view. The workshop is constantly cluttered with tools, parts that dry out, prototypes for future projects, and inconclusive tests.

    What are your sources of inspiration?

    Readings, tales, the environment, the circus, films, and nature inspire us…

    What qualities are required for this job?

    Patience, adaptability, listening and perseverance

    What is the most significant moment of your career as a craftsman / artist?

    The decoration of the windows of the 107Rivoli, the Museum of Decorative Arts, and our first creations for the Galerie de l’Opéra Garnier, both in Paris.

    Name 1 to 3 favorite artists (why them)?

    Jean-Jules Chasse-Pot: sculptor artist, he mixes poetry, humor, sense of observation / Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne: an inspiring and creative couple of sculptors / Ingo Maurer for his creativity and his fantasy / And Jephan de Villiers, Méliès…

    What do you do in your free time ?

    When you are self-employed, you have very little free time. We have devoted our free time to our son for nearly ten years. We also like gardening. Journey…

    What makes you happy (time, place or activity) ?

    A walk on the beach, a beautiful exhibition, a Theater, a coffee at the counter or a beer in a cozy bistro

    What is your dream project? A professional goal ?

    For Sophie: working for a show set. For Fred: create a monumental chandelier in a hotel lobby. And more generally, our goal is to have more projects rather than being in a production process.

    Why are you doing this? What drives your passion ?

    Because we thrive in this activity which allows us to meet very diverse and enthusiastic people, to question ourselves often, and not to watch for vacations or public holidays. And this, despite all the administrative, accounting, and logistical parts that we would do well without!

    Any advice for those who would like to start like you ?

    You must take your time to find your place and language and remain open. Forget the business plans in this area and be ready to “shake up your ego.”

    A last word ?

    Perseverance and enthusiasm !


    You can buy these poetic paper lights and sculptures at specific retailers shops (such as The Opera Garnier boutique or the Talents boutique for example). Or you may order your own bespoke creation as Papier à Êtres also works on specific orders for individuals or professionals.

     

    Photo credit : ©Fabrice Besse & @ParisianSparrow.

  • Pierre-Yves Bonnot, the naturalist painter

     

    I discovered Pierre-Yves Bonnot’s work in a gardening/home decoration magazine a long time ago…!  I am now thrilled to share its talented and bucolic illustrations with you. As a keen observer of the flora and fauna around him, Pierre-Yves Bonnot has no equal when it comes to magnifying nature on paper. He presents an endearing bestiary. These kinds of artwork make you want to decorate your entire house again, don’t they?

    Let’s find out who he is!

     

     

    Who are you & what do you do?

    Pierre-Yves Bonnot, naturalist painter and interior architect-designer by training. I paint exclusively with gouache enhanced with pencils on old books.

    What is your background (or your artistic background)? How did you start?

    I took the entrance exam for the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Appliqués-Duperré in Paris at a very young age, and I spent seven years there obtaining my advanced diploma in designer in applied arts.After my studies, I left for Africa to St Louis, Senegal, to carry out my national civilian service at the St Louis Cultural Center as a graphic designer… It was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful experiences of my life! After these two years in Africa, which opened me up to the world, I returned to France, where I joined the JSA agency in Paris, specializing in very “high-end” events… For ten years, this is how I traveled the world to design decors and all the accessories necessary for these events (tablecloths, table services, wedding cakes!!, …) in magical and sometimes improbable places!

    What is the main subject of your work / theme explored?

    Everything concerning life in the garden and nature fascinates me: flowers, plants, vegetables, insects, birds, animals… The living, in its tiniest, most straightforward aspects…. upsets me!

    Where do you work? What does your workplace/workshop look like?

    I draw inspiration first of all from my garden… on sunny days, I go, every morning, to take my little garden tour, very early, with my camera… I observe, I listen, and this is where the desire for future drawings is born. I then work in my workshop, which is located upstairs in the house. It is an ample, very bright space with double exposure. My work table is large and “U” shaped, where I spread out all my gouache tubes, brushes, and different color palettes.

    What are your sources of inspiration?

    As a naturalist painter, my garden is my primary source of inspiration! Depending on where I will exhibit my paintings, I always look for a working angle appropriate for the place. For example, I just exhibited at La Maison de la Pointe in L’Île-Tudy (Finisère south—29), which has a breathtaking view of the ocean. So, I did a lot of work on crabs and seabirds that I rarely encounter in my garden in the Perche region!

    What qualities are required for this job?

    Knowing how to observe and take the time…

    What is the most significant moment of your career as a craftsman / artist?

    My arrival in Dakar to take up my position as a graphic designer in St Louis, Senegal…It was November 4, 1992; I was 22 years old and took a plane for the first time… I left France under a gray, cold, and humid sky. I discovered Dakar under a blue sky deep, with an incredible quality of light, and the bougainvilleas were in flower. It was an aesthetic shock of such intensity that more than 30 years later, the emotion is still just as intense….

    Name 1 to 3 favorite ar tists (why them)?

    There are so many, but sometimes they are in opposite universes. But if I had to choose just one, I think I could say that it would be Paul Sérusier… leader of the Nabis movement. I was 15 or 16 years old when I visited the Musée d’Orsay and stopped in front of the “Talisman,” also known as “Paysage au Bois d’Amour” by Paul Sérusier. It is a small oil on wood but an iconic and significant work of modern art! I still remember the long minutes spent in front of the painting, captivated by the play and the intense vibration of the colors. Again, immense emotion!!I can also cite Pierre Chareau, the great architect and interior designer of the early 20th century, for the coherence of his work and Mathurin Méheut, the Breton painter, for the beauty and precision of these gouache studies…

    What do you do in your free time ?

    I discover the world… but the world can also be right next to home!!! I like hiking in nature. Walking allows me to observe the surrounding plants and landscapes and smell the perfumes, but I also want to “dive” into a city’s twists and turns to discover its architectural elements. I have just returned from Le Havre, which I had dreamed of visiting for a long time. Auguste Perret’s vision is fascinating. Making an all-concrete space beautiful and bright that we readily say is cold and gray—what a challenge! I will use my free time to discover gardens, museums, and spaces and meet artists—so many things that will fuel my creative approach. All this is undoubtedly recreational but necessary!

    What makes you happy (time, place or activity) ?

    Discovery and sharing… otherness in all its diversity! The other, the others in what is different, complex, and unique… having been shaken by an unexpected encounter and feeling grown by this exchange.

    What is your dream project? A professional goal ?

    Find a house in Audierne city (West Britanny)… right there, on the Pointe du Raz side, the far west of the European continent. Open my gallery to exhibit my work and discover the work of artists that I like.

    Why are you doing this? What drives your passion ?

    It’s my passion, and like any passion, it can’t really be explained except that I experience such happiness in getting down to work at my desk every day. I’ve been drawing since the age of 3 or 4, and it has been an integral part of my life!

    Any advice for those who would like to start like you ?

    It isn’t easy to give advice because we are all so different, with multiple life stories and trajectories…But “Believe in yourself, no matter what, and follow your dreams, whatever the obstacles and failures, you always emerge from it” seems to me to be advice that can be adapted to everyone!

    A last word ?

    Thank you for this interview opportunity !


    All illustrations are original works painted directly on the support: award books, atlases, general staff maps, and wallpaper. He uses gouache exclusively, which allows him to rework his pencil drawings, thus providing the desired colored nuances and details. His approach to working on old papers is part of a desire to highlight media doomed to be discarded.

    You can buy Pierre-Yves Bonnot artwork on his website and social media. You can also order a portrait of your favorite animal !

     

  • Sarah Saint-Pol, the pleating virtuoso

     

     

    Sarah Saint-Pôl’s fashion creations are undoubtedly eye-catching. Through her brand ‘ÊKÔ’, she offers us superb pieces inspired by origami and made using exceptional know-how: artisanal pleating.

    Also passionate about collaborative projects, and thanks to her experience in the orchestra, Sarah Saint-Pôl enjoys working in synergy with actors from fields other than her own to create innovative and original works, combining varied know-how. In 2023, she made a fold laboratory and developed various projects: pleated paintings and acoustic panels, lighting, bags, corporate gifts, packaging, and scenography… She is not limited to classic textiles and pleats from acoustic felt, leather, Tyvek, or PVC.

    Lets’ discover who she is !

     

    Who are you & what do you do?

    My name is Sarah Saint-Pol, and I have been working since 2018 to reinvent and promote excellent know-how – artisanal pleating – thanks to ÊKÔ, my pleat laboratory.

    What is your background (or your artistic background)? How did you start?

    My journey was not linear, leading to the creation of ÊKÔ. Passionate about art and Japan since childhood, I initially chose the path of music as an orchestral instrumentalist, then as a manager following an injury. In search of meaning, creativity, and manual work, I learned about origami and then pleating in a self-taught way alongside my job as a production manager. Coming from a family of artists and seamstresses, the desire to work with textiles did not come from nowhere. If the company was created in 2018 to respond to orders, I left my job at the end of 2019 to dedicate myself full-time to this new project. However, I have never denied my love for music and everything this field has given me in rigor, creativity, perseverance, and even… digitality! Because the gesture – and its repetitiveness – of the instrumentalist and that of the pleater are similar, music gave its name to my company: ÊKÔ, for echo. Echo of gesture, of shadow and light, of tradition and innovation.

    What is the main subject of your work / theme explored?

    I work daily to push the limits of my know-how by inventing new uses, using new materials, and collaborating with new artists and craftsmen. Each project is unique and innovative, and I like to use my know-how in new areas. There is, therefore, no main subject apart from the fold and all that it brings to a piece in terms of structure, depth, and versatility.

    Where do you work? What does your workplace/workshop look like?

    My workshop has been set up next to my house in two spaces: one to welcome customers and partners and present my activity to them, and the other to house my manufacturing equipment and raw materials.

    What are your sources of inspiration?

    Of course, Japan is my first source of inspiration, but I draw my ideas every day, more or less consciously, from the art and architecture that surround me.

    What qualities are required for this job?

    Pleating is an art profession that requires patience, finesse, and precision of gesture, qualities acquired during my training as an instrumentalist. For example, you must agree to fold the same pattern on paper for several days. When the materials are very thick or rigid, this work requires physical strength – but flexibility – to force the material to follow the shape of the pleating machine

    What is the most significant moment of your career as a craftswoman/ artist?

    The most memorable moment was being awarded a subsidy linked to innovation from my city. As a finalist in this competition, I had to present my project to an assembly of 12 elected officials and professionals three days after my child’s birth. Self-taught, obtaining the highest grant of the 2022 edition was the first time I felt utterly legitimate.

    Name 1 to 3 favorite artists (why them)?

    Edda Gimnes, fashion designer, because she brings art into clothing / Pina Bausch, choreographer, because with her everything is just suggestion, chiaroscuro / Gustave Mahler, composer, because there are so many facets in his music.

    What do you do in your free time?

    I like reading, making music, cooking, drawing, playing board games, and playing sports, but currently, as a business manager and mother of an 18-month-old, I don’t have free time anymore!

    What makes you happy (time, place or activity)?

    Each new project and the potential it reveals make me happy. It is a real pleasure for me to work every day with different materials, objects, and craftsmen who each bring me their vision of creation. It is another joy for me to find my son and my husband in the evening, knowing that the day was fruitful and that my business is gradually becoming sustainable.

    What is your dream project? A professional goal?

    For some time now, each project has been a dream project because, often, it is something that I would not have thought of on my own and is born from my collaboration with another artist. However, creating acoustic pleats for a large concert hall is a dream I want to realize as quickly as possible to link my passions for music and the pleat.

    Why are you doing this? What drives your passion?

    I believe that I have progressed for a long time in my training in search of perfection and excellence, but I don’t know why. I wanted to be the best musician and then the best pleater. Now that I feel legitimate, I have found meaning in all this. I want to be free and to transmit. I haven’t found freedom in music, where we demand perfection above all. I learned pleating alone, and I don’t know the codes, so I can experiment and try to push its limits without fear. I also want to pass on this rare know-how to the next generation so that it is not lost.

    Any advice for those who would like to start like you?

    Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. I made mistakes a thousand times before finding my technique and my way, but at least they reflect who I am.

    A last word? Thank you!


    You can order tailor made ÊKÔ fashion creations on the website.

  • Charlotte BOURRUS and her city globes

     

    The first time I saw a globe made by Charlotte Bourrus was few years ago in a travel agency shop window in Paris.

    A beautiful paper decoration illuminated the window with, in the middle, the center piece: a very creative city globe all made with small paper elements. Since then, I always look forward for her new creations!

    Let’s find out who she is!

     

     

    Who are you & what do you do?

    I am Charlotte, paper artist

    What is your background (or your artistic background)? How did you start?

    I was not the best at school but I still managed to integrate the National School of Decorative Arts in Paris, « Arts Déco » for the insiders. I graduated in visual communication section. My main project was about Algerian immigration. My work was already focused on territories and the humans who live in them.

    What is the main subject of your work / theme explored?

    The geography, the limits, the borders, and above all the men who live there. Everything is about the world.

    Where do you work? What does your workplace/workshop look like?

    The workshop is in Bidart (NB : close to Biarritz city, South West coast of France) . We are a team of 5 people. It’s a beautiful space, with crazy high ceilings. It looks like a big teeming globe. Paper everywhere, large tables…let’s create !

    What are your sources of inspiration?

    Literally everything. Everything that happens in front of my nose. The landscape, and the people who live there. A bar, the ocean. My collection of books. Lots of pictures.

    What qualities are required for this job?

    It’s a meticulous job, you have to work in flexibility but nevertheless dare to manipulate each small element. Master the volumes, to create breathing spaces between each element; you obviously have to have creative eyes and imaginative thoughts.

    What is the most significant moment of your career as a craftsman / artist?

    There were some very special orders for VIPs, well-known people. It’s always an ego boost.

    Name 1 to 3 favorite artists (why them)?

    Jacques de Villéglé, Raymond Hains, who glued posters. Christian boltanski, accumulation. There are a ton that I worship. Hockney is full of sunshine. More contemporary, Jules de Balincourt, I’m crazy about these paintings. These lost cities with people zoning…

    What do you do in your free time?

    I stay with my daughters, I walk, I do yoga, I eat out, I smoke, and I savor drinks.

    What makes you happy (time, place or activity)?

    To see my daughters happy, that the workshop is running well. When I have ideas that turn out to be the right ones.

    What is your dream project? A professional goal?

    Yes, create shop windows decoration for the Hermès brand. Or a défilé for a Haute couture brand. A huge delirium with an unlimited budget.

    Why are you doing this? What drives your passion ?

    No idea. I like it, it’s not an effort. It’s even better.

    Any advice for those who would like to start like you?

    Be sure that your idea pleases you, and at least a few people. Test it. And above all, do it and do it again and again.

    A last word?

    Tchin! (Cheers in French !)

     


    You can buy the city globes on Charlotte Bourrus e-shop. You can choose from regular city globes ranges, limited editions or  ask for custom globes (for a special event, even including your own pictures !). 4 sizes (XS to L) are available.

     

  • "MELLE LOUISE & LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES " and her Playmobil®creations

     

    “Melle Louise & les enfants terribles” (Miss Louise and the unbearable children)

    It’s always possible to rediscover the childish pleasure of handling Playmobil®! And the artistic creations of Mannaïg Valton will bring you a smile and back good memories. They are poetic or mischievous, chosen from historical, artistic, or sporting references…but they always convey an emotion, what the artist seeks to give above all through her work. Let’s find out who she is!

     

     

     

    Who are you & what do you do?  

    I am Mannaïg Valton, better known as “Melle Louise et les enfant terribles” (Miss Louise and the unbearable children). I am an artist in Playmobil®

    What is your background (or your artistic background)? How did you start?

    My background is quite different from the job I do today. I worked in communication and marketing. I had been working for 15 years in large companies in Paris. And then in the 2000s, I moved to the West of France out of Love ! I had a lot of different activities there: communication, shopkeeper …In 2011 I discovered the principle of these creations during a family wedding in Spain: the friends of the bride and groom offered them a frame with these figurines glued inside, a gift that was given quite often there at the time. I found this idea purely brilliant, even if I did not necessarily like the interpretation given to it. Back in France, I started to make a creation around these emblematic childhood figurines for a little cousin… Then two, three… The reactions to my creations being positive, I thought it was an interesting subject and I decided to go further in this area; I created my activity at the Maison des Artistes (the main association of visual artists in France) in 2016. Over time, it has since been my main activity and my one and only job.

    What is the main subject of your work / theme explored?

    Playmobil® is my main subject. I only work with these figurines and accessories in addition to the papers and frames. I work on them in such a way as to transmit them a soul, emotions. All themes are represented with a preference for the world of pop culture. There are many references to music, cinema or series, to comics…

    Where do you work? What does your workplace/workshop look like?

    My workshop is in my home. This allows me to move from one universe to another. It is bathed in light and there is a view of the garden and trees. This allows me to benefit from its tranquility, which is necessary to my creativity.

    What are your sources of inspiration?

    There is not one particular source. Anything can inspire me: walks, an emotion, a TV program seen the day before, music, a memory… I am a sponge that absorbs everything. I feed on it then I try to convey it with, I hope, a little poetry, delicacy and smiles. Above all, I believe that I have an overflowing imagination.

    What qualities are required for this job?

    Imagination, hankering, not taking yourself seriously…and a lot, a lot, a lot of work anyway! Hours…so you have to love what you are doing be passionate about it…And you also have to love giving of yourself in order to give a soul to a little plastic character which is 7.5 cm tall. You simply have to be generous in the way you work…

    What is the most significant moment of your career as a craftsman / artist?

    Certainly in 2020 when the “Le Bon Marché” Department Store in Paris offered me to exhibit my creations in its Imaginary Gallery This marked a turning point in fact, a year of preparation to be able to change everything a little bit, to be able to evolve, understand the whole. And succeed in exhibiting the following year despite the complications due to the confinement of the Covid. I spent 3 months at “Le Bon Marché”, shared my work with a lot of people. And that gave me an incredible strength, that of surpassing myself again and again..

    Name 1 to 3 favorite artists (why them)?

    I have too many…For me, art is emotions so it encompasses so many authors, musicians, singers, painters, sculptors, architects…it would be extremely reductive to name just a few

    What do you do in your free time?

    In fact, I have very little free time, I work a lot. My husband is hyperactive and so, I think I end up becoming one myself. I work almost every day and I have no schedules. And I have so many ideas to satisfy, projects to achieve, that I can’t stop working… But it’s not really a job, it is a passion!

    What makes you happy (time, place or activity)?

    My job, the smile when the emotion is transmitted… this moment is indeed great. The gaze of my husband, my children, sweet things, things to discover, the life…

    What is your dream project? A professional goal?

    It would be to take part in an exhibition. Being in an art gallery would be great! But for that I need time, to be able to work and create the exhibition. And today, I have too many orders to be able to take this time..

    Why are you doing this? What drives your passion ?

    Always the same thing: emotion and sharing, benevolence and kindness. The positive and regressive side. Never forget that you were a child once and keep it all, in order to approach life with more philosophy, pleasure and gentleness

    Any advice for those who would like to start like you?

    Do not listen to those who tell you that you will never make it and meet success! You need to believe. You have to work hard and stay focused on your goal.

    A last word?

    Thanks ! Thank you for choosing me, I am delighted and I hope that others will also like my Playmobil® world !

    (NB:PLAYMOBIL® is a registered trademark of Geobra Brandstätter Stifung & Co.)


    You can buy these Playmobil® artworks on the Melle Louise & les enfants terribles e-shop. All creations are made with Playmobil® only + background paper and frame. You will have the choice among musics, movies, comics, Art, History, trends, sports and more references!

     

     

     

     

  • Lili LEBEL and "Les Boutiques Chéries"

     

    A few years ago,  I discovered the Parisian miniature shop fronts of Lili Lebel in a concept store displaying French craftsmen.

    I like the idea of working on the theme of Parisian boutiques, many of which have unfortunately disappeared by now.

    Lili Lebel is one of the kind when it comes to recreating an atmosphere, a decoration. As a result, her tiny shops have a sweet nostalgia.

    Let’s find out who she is!

     

     

    Who are you and what do you do ?

    I am an Artist and/or craftswoman, either term suits me.

    What is your background (or your artistic background)? How did you start?

    I am a graphic designer, illustrator, trainer, I did graduate studies at the National School of Applied Arts and Crafts. I had the chance to grow up in a family environment that made me aware of the visual arts. I worked for a long time in visual communication, on the computer, now I distance myself from this tool.

    What is the main subject of your work / theme explored?

    My main subject is small neighborhood businesses, in town and more specifically in Paris. Businesses that tend to disappear, alas. I like to quote the designer Wolinski, who died in the terrorist attacks of 2015: “The shop is the homeland of a shopkeeper, he is ready to die for it. No one will die for a large area. “I imagine shops that never existed, according to my imagination. In fact, I play the merchant…

    Where do you work? What does your workplace/workshop look like?

    I have a dedicated room that sometimes overflows all over the house. It’s both an office and a workshop, full of clutter most of the time, because I accumulate all kinds of materials for the creations.

    What are your sources of inspiration?

    The past, even if I am a woman of today. When I walk around Paris I take pictures or sketches of quaint shops. I also listen to what people suggest to me, their memories. As I am a lover of literature, certain descriptions of Balzac or Zola give rise to my visual ideas.

    What qualities are required for this job?

    Creativity, perseverance, care, patience.

    What is the most significant moment of your career as a craftsman / artist?

    There are plenty of moments of joy, pride and frustration in this journey. Maybe the best moment is when people tell you, “You really have a world of your own.” It means that what you do is unlike anything else and it strikes a chord with others.

    Name 1 to 2 favorite artists (why them)?

    Mucha and Klimt because they sublimate ornament. I love « Art Nouveau « ..

    What do you do in your free time?

    I work a lot, when it’s not production, it’s projects. To balance my life, I see friends to laugh, I play sports to let off steam, I visit exhibitions to open my mind and I cuddle my cats to relax.

    What makes you happy (time, place or activity)?

    Look.

    What is your dream project? A professional goal?

    I have lots of dream projects like sharing my know-how in some kind of course or internship and also making my creations known abroad. I am someone who dreams a lot.

    Why are you doing this? What drives your passion?

    I do this because I have had this gift since childhood and it is what I do best. One day I was told that my creations were “singular” and I like to be. I am in my place as well.

    Any advice for those who would like to start like you?

    Tenacity, patience, self-confidence, modesty.

    A last word?

    I wish time didn’t matter: there were no boundaries between past and present. Neither nostalgia nor oblivion.


    You can buy ” Les boutiques chéries” on Etsy and in 2  Pooow! concept stores  (La Défense & Gaité Montparnasse)

    Theses miniatures (20 x 15 x 4.5cm) are numbered and signed by the artist. With a gold and black color mould frame (resin), the interior decoration is graphic conceived and print in the workshop. The miniatures are also light diffuser if you place them in front of a lamplight; the delicate glow will reveal even more the inside details 🙂