Mathilde Deschain is a wonderful artist from Genoa (Italy). This 31 years old illustrator lives now in Bologna (Italy).
How would you describe yourself?
I am a sunny person and I love to make people I love laugh. I’m very sensitive and empathetic and art helps me to stay healthily connected with my emotions and feelings. I also consider myself sort of a warrior, but a good one, who unsheaths her sword only in defence, but with vigorous tenaciousness and strong resilience. I believe that sense of justice is what moves me the most along with my continuous pursue of intersections among beauty, aesthetic and the themes I feel closer to me in all their aspects.
How would you describe your art?
I feel my art as constantly changing. It changes along with me and it recently withstood a drastic change. My father died about three months ago and that profoundly changed my inner self and since then my artworks became very personal, more personal than they were before. They speak about me or what I believe is important to tell and spread. The most important thing to me is for people to feel something by looking at my art and by feel I mean empathetically. This is the reason why I like to experiment with different techniques and with colours, to create more levels of storytelling in order to let my art speak out loud and reach people with different experiences and beliefs. I like to make my paintings look playful, whether by their palette or by decorative elements I add, even when their subjects talk about something negative. I guess that’s my sunny personality which wants my art to look so and I like for people to come unveil the different narrative levels I painted.
How would you describe your field?
I find art is both an individual and a communal field and that is amazing. It can be a very lonely job and every artist knows how much this is true. Inner research always plays a big role in the artistic path and that also means experiments and failures and frustrations, but it also brings joys. On the other side, as an artist I find our community very supportive and this makes our working days less lonely. I love the art community! I met so many lovely and also caring people who have been helping me to keep going even when I have a lot of doubts about my art. “Collaboration over competition” is a motto I often read within the online art community and I find it such a beautiful thing, not taken for granted in every working field yet.
What do you want to say through your art?
Even if for different reasons, we all feel the same emotions and feelings, but we’re often more divided than united. That’s something I will never completely understand and I don’t want to accept it, it’s not in my nature, so with my art I want to move people closer and put them in contact. I want people to find themselves by looking at my paintings, to feel not alone but understood. So my art tells about ups and downs of life, about loves and fears, sadness and happiness. So, all I want to say is that, even in the darkest places life can bring us to, we’re not alone.
What / Who inspires you?
This is a tough question, because I have so many sources of inspiration. While I’m working I like to listen to music and I embody what I listen to in my work, mostly electronic, jazz and 80’s music or sometimes my friends playing in the same room. I also take inspiration from photography and movies, but most of all from nature: when I walk in a park or in the woods I collect leaves and flowers which already died and fell to the ground and I take them home with me; I also take pictures when I see interesting palettes to remember them and I work with these treasures nature gives me once back to my paints.
As much as for nature and music, I am very inspired by other artists’ works: the ones from the past I appreciate the most and feel closer to my art are Matisse, for his colours and shapes and also for his amazing cut outs, and Modigliani, for his marvellous portraits. I am very fond of several contemporary artists’ works, to name the main ones: Isabelle Feliu, Ana Leovy, Bodil Jane and Claudia Melchor Delrio. Also Frannerd will always have a special place in my heart, she’s been the one who made me want to start posting my art online.
Does your work comment on your social or political issues?
I think it does: I try to depict femininity in all its aspects, therefore untied from the stereotyped image of beauty. In the past years I talked about menstruation and also homosexuality and transsexuality and I’m sure I will do it again. Last October I took part for the second time in Inktober and I decided to talk about anxiety, which is a social issue to me, since in its pathologic form is something that affects an individual’s life from socialising to work, from how people see you to more in general living every aspect of your life. Also, I am a vegan and I sometimes speak about this in my work. I like to bring people to reflect about what’s important and urgent in my point of view.
What obstacles have you faced?
One of the main obstacles, and it still is so, is the fact I never studied anything art related and this makes me feel very insecure about what I create, but after all I know it’s not essential and that with practice and a lot of patience everyone can get to the results they wish for. I’ve always been drawing or at least doodling since the very first moment I was able to hold a pencil, but I only started painting in 2017 and I think this has been a hurdle at the beginning, since everything comes easier if started as a child.
Apart from this, I think my biggest obstacle is myself: I am very self-critical, as much as I am not critical towards others, and I tend to dislike my work and find flaws in it too easily – the best thing in these cases is to leave it and get back to it on the next day. I also suffer from anxiety and, even if it doesn’t define me, in some moments it can decide the flow of my work, but I learnt that I only have to be kind to myself and allow me to heal.
What is the best advice you could give to someone entering the same industry as you?
I don’t feel I am the best person to give this kind of advice since I’m still learning a lot, but what I can say from my personal experience is: don’t ask too much of yourself. Being productive 24/7 is as insane as it is impossible. Learning how to draw and paint something is as important as understanding our own rhythm and, once we got it, we have to respect it. Procrastination is also part of the process and by accepting this I managed to work in a more serene way. So, connect with your true flow and follow it
On a more pragmatic level have you been supported during your project?
I am lucky I can say so. My mother, my sister and my best friend (or partner in crime!) have always been here for me. If I know they believe in me, things look easier. My best friend has always been supporting me since my first ugly scribbles with brushes and the fact he believed in me kept me going even if I knew they weren’t good at all. I also have a few more friends who have been supporting me a lot during my path and I feel extremely thankful I have them in my life.