Meet Laurence de Valmy, who 'modernises' art masterpieces

Published on ArtLab in February 2018

Laurence is one of this artist who didn't need the magic of Paris to be inspired ! She feels rather attracted by the dynamism of the USA where she lives. And of couse, if you love the USA and you love art, well.. you love Pop art ! I found her paintings so interesting and, indeed we could classify it in the Pop art movement. Laurence reintroduces identifiable imagery drawn from mass media and popular culture with the representation of social networks such as Instagram.  It looks like that she wants to elevate popular culture to the level of fine art....

The artist' studio

The artist' studio

In a few lines, who are you and how did you discover this passion for painting ?

I am a French born artist currently living near Philadelphia. I’ve been lucky to have a mother who’s an artist herself and so I started to paint too. She would expose me to a lot of art so it really started thanks to her I guess. I worked in oil, watercolor and then acrylics, which is the medium I currently use the most. 
What was your best experience in the art world ?

Definitely the people I get the chance to meet along the way! I’ve been lucky to meet many very positive and creative persons. By the way, this was what motivated me to create my blog The Curious Frenchy, to be able to share the stories of passionate persons I know. I like to know more about them, it’s inspiring.

Can you tell us about your current exhibition ?

I am working with different galleries and I’m very happy that my work will be presented in February at Art Wynwood. Then I have a group show in Los Angeles and other exciting projects in New York which are under way.

What do you want to express in your paintings ?

My recent work, the POST series, is based on the life and work of some of major artists through anachronic Instagram posts combining an original painting and some imagined dialogues between the artists and their friends. My goals are to share about the stories behind the artworks, the connections between these artists and to make my viewers consider these iconic artworks with a renewed interest.
Do you think it is easier to be a French artist abroad than in your native country ?

Being abroad and near New York in particular has certainly encouraged me to take some chances and create connections. I got to meet the founders of French Wink who support French creators and that led me to meet Azart Gallery. But I also work with Arena Gallery or bG Gallery in LA who are American. The USA offers a lot of different opportunities but there are also a lot of talented artists!   

Are you part of French artists community there ?

I am part of different communities some are structured and some are informal. It’s important for anyone and it’s vital when you’re an artist! So I’m part of French Wink to start with and I am connected with some French artists or art dealers that I got to meet either in New York, Miami or through social media! Social media have certainly facilitated the connections between artists and I got to meet artists of all nationalities living all around the world thanks to that. 

If your paintings were to be illustrated with a quote, a poem or a song, what would you choose ?

That would be a quote from David Hockney, who is one of my favorite artists. I like his art and his vision: « What an artist is trying to do for people is bring them closer to something, because of course art is about sharing. You wouldn't be an artist unless you wanted to share an experience, a thought. »

An ongoing project you want to talk about ?

It’s been about a year that I’m working on the POST series and I still have plenty of stories to explore! Inside the series, I have started to focus on women artists some famous and some less well known. Then I’d love to show the POSTS in a solo show.

What advice would you give to young artists who want to live of their art ? 

I would share good advice that I received. One from a gallery owner: “take a stand” or find your voice and create something that is truly yours. In this appropriation series, I merged my passion for stories and painting. The second advice from an artist friend is “build your community”. There is not One art world, there are different communities and different ways to be an artist. The path is not the same depending on your style, medium and scale of your work.