Rex Rattorum : sacred linocuts

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Email : berteline.detarragon@gm

Behind « Rex Rattorum » we find Berteline. She lives in Senlis in the Oise. She makes linocuts. In life, her passions are the embroidery, the cats and the comics.

OJL: Hello Berteline .
Berteline : Hello.

OJL: Four quick questions before getting to the heart of the matter.
As you live in Senlis, can you tell us what is your favorite café there ? And what do you like to drink there ?
Berteline : There is a tea room that I like, called “Les Follies Potagères”. This establishment shows a rare attention to his customers. Indeed, the owners are very vigilant about the food intolerances of their users. For example, if you have some problems with dairy products, you can still find happiness there. And animal respect is also part of the values of the owners.

OJL: And what is your favorite park or place?
Berteline : I’m lucky to live near the woods (laughs). So I can go frolicking there regularly (smile).

OJL: Next, what was the last book you read? And the last song you listened to?
Berteline : _About the book, it’s a comic strip. This is “The Weight of Heroes” by David Sala.
_About the song: “Violin tsunami” by Kishi Bashi .

OJL: Finally, do you have a quote and/or proverb that you like?
Berteline : I don’t have a quote that comes to my mind… On the other hand, there is a poem that I often have in my spirit. It is “And Death shall have no dominion” by Dylan Thomas.

OJL: Let’s talk a little about you now. How could you introduce yourself?
Berteline : After three years of visual arts studies which left me… perplexed… I was considering changing my paths… And, when suddenly… I came across a kit of engraving stamps on the internet. It was, for me… A revelation !
Indeed, it turns out that arts studies are slightly… biased. And forms of expression like stamps are absolutely not offered to future creatives.
Although the stamps may seems like a ridiculous, even childish, medium at first glance. But it is in fact nothing at all. Indeed, the history of art is marked by the use of this style of engraving on wood, linoleum or gum which we call “eparation engraving” (“taille d’épargne” in French). Besides, what would printing be without the stamp method ? One of my goals is to restore some shine to this despised tool.

OJL: Who are the professionals who shaped you? Who struck you down? In a few names and why.
Berteline : Let us quote:
_The Viennese secession: Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser and Egon Schiele.
_Romanesque art in general

_Byzantine icons.
_And the designer Topi .

OJL: How did you choose your pseudonym… So barock !
Berteline : Rex Rattorum ? (laughs). Well it is some… fake Latin!
Indeed, I’m quite a fan of the cabinets of curiosities. So I wanted a name that sticks a little to this universe. That is to say :
_A name that sounds serious. I mean scientific. So it lends me to the Latin.
_And a name that can be…a little trashy (laughs).
In the end, I chose this pseudonym… Which means “king of rats” (laughs).

OJL: Let’s talk a little about your work now. What are you creating?
Berteline : I offer three types of products:
_First my own creations in the field of linocuts. In particular, I have a small collection of Saints which people are quite interested in (smile). These works are hand prints. I offer them in A5, A4 and sometimes A3 format.
_Then, I offer stamps which are also engraved by hand. And on these stamps, we find images that can be reproduced endlessly.
_Finally, I propose an oracle of the Saints of 32 cards, all linocuts. This last product particularly pleased your editorial team, if I am right ?

OJL: Indeed. Which Saints have you represented? Berteline : In A4 format I have in particular :
_ Saint Mary Magdalene
_ Saint Rita (patroness of desperate causes)
_ Saint Roch (protector in times of epidemic)
_ Saint Jerome (father of the Church)
_ Saint Martin of Tours ( patron of soldiers)
_The Archangel Saint Michael (support against evil)
_The Archangel Saint Gabriel (who helps with communication)
_ Saint Geneviève (patroness of Paris and support against fear)
_ Saint Sebastian

_Saint Georges
_Saint Maxence
_The Holy Family
_ Saint Anne, mother of Saint Mary (patroness of Brittany)
_And Saint Joseph, father of Jesus and protector of the family (he also helps to find work!).
I also have in small formats :
_ The four evangelists
_ As well as a Virgin and Child.

The oracle also gave me the opportunity to work on some Saints who are prayed to for specific reasons. I’m not going to list them all for you…In order to keep a surprise (wink). But you can find among other things :
_Saint Mary who undoes the knots
_Saint Yves for justice (patron of Brittany)
_Saint Christopher for protection during travel
_ Saint Joan of Arc to hold her convictions
_Saint Luke for artistic inspiration
_Saint Anthony of Padua to find lost objects
_Saint Lucia against blindness
_And of course… Ste Berthe obviously ! Who protects against lightning !

OJL: How can you define your style?
Berteline : My style is mid-medieval and mid-comic . That is to say that my graphic universe draws on medieval iconography (notably statuary). And then, I enjoy giving a little touch of modernity to these inspirations, by using more contemporary ways of drawing.

OJL: What techniques do you use?
Berteline : Everything I do is handmade. These are my own designs, I engrave them myself, I print them myself etc…

OJL: Can we place you a personalized order?
Berteline : Absolutely especially for tampons. In particular, I often make personalized Ex Libris to mark books.

OJL: Can we subscribe to your newsletter? Because social networks are a bit saturated…
Berteline : Not for the moment.

OJL: Do you have a story about creating one of your products? Or one of your sales?
Berteline : I started the series about the Saints with Saint Rita. Because I was in a complicated situation… And it turns out that Saint Rita listened to my prayer (thanks again). To thank her, I made her an engraving. And this was the very first in my series.

OJL: Last question. You definitely have friends who are doing amazing things! If you want to promote them a little, now is the time!
Berteline : I would like to promote two of them:
_ Caleana Major: who makes pyrography portraits :
_Claudia Dapino : who makes linocuts and oil paintings :

OJL: Bravo for what you do. May Our Lady protects you.
Berteline : Thank you. I wish you the same.

Rosa Mystica