The poetic watercolours of Claire Tardieux

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Claire Tardieux is an illustrator from Rennes in Brittany [France]. Her colourful watercolours tell the story of her fantastical imagination where mermaids, fairies, chimeras and also science fiction interact.

OJL : Hello Miss Tardieux.
Miss Tardieux : Hello.

OJL : Three quick questions before getting to the heart of the matter.
As you live in Rennes, can you tell us what your favourite café is in Roazhon city ?
Miss Tardieux : I have a little crush about “ Le thé aux fourneaux” ! Run by two charming ladies. The salon is hidden behind “Les portes Mordelaises”. I really like this place for his discreet charm and his warm welcome !

OJL : And what is your favourite park in Rennes ? Or in Ille-et-Vilaine (35) for the rest.
Miss Tardieux : The one that I explored the most remains the Thabor park which brings together many different worlds. But the surroundings of Rennes are full of green spaces and small forests. This is where I like to go when I have the time and the desire for a breath of fresh air.

OJL : Nature has an important place in your work. What animals and plants are your favourites ?
Miss Tardieux : Difficult question ! I have always loved wisteria and depicting horses. But there are so many others !

OJL : Can you tell us about your background ?
Miss Tardieux : I am from the South of France. After studying biology at the University of Rennes, I decided to devote myself fully to illustration. These studies have influenced my works in which I seek to maintain a link with the natural sciences. I then decided to train as an illustrator at the EDAA where I graduated.

OJL : What are your inspirations ?
Miss Tardieux : I have several.
First, the exploration of themes that touch my imagination (Greek mythology, Arthurian legends, Shakespearean literature, etc.) makes me very sensitive to the Pre-Raphaelites movement. The place and representation of nature in this movement matters to me.
Then, Art Nouveau and Decorative Arts also touch me.
Finally, I have a lot of admiration for both oriental prints and the Surrealist and Symbolist movements. I love the poetry, the dreaminess and the power that can emerge, in many ways, from these different movements.

OJL : How can you describe your world ?
Miss Tardieux : I create original illustrations mainly in watercolour. On these, dreamlike landscapes and fantastic bestiaries coexist. I also do commissioned illustration for individuals and professionals.

OJL : What types of professionals have you already worked for ?
Miss Tardieux : Breweries, publishing houses, event structures (Paimpol in Rock festival, bars and cafés as part of exhibitions). Projects with music groups are underway.

OJL : Which artists do you admire ?
Miss Tardieux : I could name three illustrators whose work I particularly appreciate:
_Aubrey Beardsley and his illustration work for La Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory.
_Ivan Bilibine for his theater sets and his illustration work.
_Roger Dean, for his work illustrating progressive rock covers in the 70s in particular.

OJL : Do you exhibit a lot ?
Miss Tardieux : I particularly like the opportunity my job offers me to interact with and mix the arts; by exhibiting alongside other creators, but also in a more direct way by collaborating over the long term with other artists.

OJL : Can you tell us about these collaborations ?
Miss Tardieux : Of course! To date, I am developing two long-term artistic collaborations:
_With Maureen Piercy : we created “Olathe”. We create collaborations together on various media (textiles, posters, boxes, etc.) in an aesthetic where our tastes for naturalistic illustrations and old engraving come together.
_With Quentin Foureau : we created “Le Bestiaire en Crépuscule” where we combine our common passions for fantastic imagination, zoology and popular traditions. To find out more about the Twilight Bestiary:

OJL : Thank you for this interview. Bravo for your work. May Our Lady protects you.
Miss Tardieux : Thank you.

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