• $ (USD)
  • Need some help ?

Meet Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine

French singer, writer and painter

Meet Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine - illustration 1

A portrait of Gwendoline

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine is an accomplished and complete artist, as she sings, writes and paints, she plays with our senses. From the Folies Bergères to the Place du Panthéon, her art honors the great artists who once surrounded her and who now inspire her. With Artsper, meet the artist of inexhaustible poetry…

1. Hello Gwendoline! Can you tell us about your multidisciplinary background and what pushed you to start painting?

Hello Artsper and thank you for this interview. I have always drawn a lot, in parallel to stage acting and writing. I come from a family of artists, my grandfather was a chansonnier - a friend of Jacques Brel -, and my father a contemporary dancer who later became a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist. Art in all its forms was an integral part of my education. Permanent creation was encouraged in my family, and the capacity for invention was most respected: composing pieces on the piano, sewing clothes, creating sets, painting... There was no limit to hyper-creativity. I won my first drawing contest at the age of ten, then two encounters marked my life in terms of painting: an exceptional art teacher at the Lycée Henri IV, and the discovery of Pierre Alechinsky at Sciences-Po Paris. When I was fifteen years old, we visited the Pi Foundation in Nantes which took care of young psychotics. One of the patients of the institution created paintings from small spirals with a blue ballpoint pen, of a fascinating beauty, which she executed for hours on end, without a break, as if hypnotized by her work. I think I was deeply marked by this approach, which seemed to do her good, and in which I find myself today with my caviar grains. Four years ago, we moved to Garches without knowing what we were going to put on the walls, and I always swore, since my childhood, to decorate my house with my own works. This was the trigger for my painting.

2. You don't limit yourself to one field, which makes your career extremely inspiring. As a woman artist, what message do you want to convey through your creations?

My natural, original language is singing. And I believe that this is felt in my creations. Twenty years of music, from the Radio France choir to the Folies Bergère, passing through the stages of Shanghai, the Zenith or television sets, I understood that the artistic expression, the breath that emanates from you, is fixed in various ways... But it is always the same expression, whether it is vocal, written or pictorial. My painting is a music put on paper, it is a synthesis of long classical studies and a late fantasy, a delayed adolescent crisis. I am a good student who went wrong: after Sciences Po, I left HEC to become a singer, and I am coming back twenty years later to do the fresco for the 140th anniversary of HEC Paris; I believe a lot in the crossroads and I encourage everyone not to obey the rules, to follow their own judgment. "Boldness has genius, power, magic," said Goethe. What counts is instinct and the passionate relationship one has with creation. I am guided by pleasure and freedom. If you are no longer happy in one field, change!

Meet Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine - illustration 1
Meet Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine - illustration 1

On the left: Fresco HEC © Marchlewska, on the right: Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine © Philippe Labereguerie

3. Painting, writing, music... In your experience, how do these artistic practices meet and influence each other?

My painting is a synthesis, a kind of personal score, a manuscript in acrylic, a therapy through images, always obsessive. I am very happy to allow myself to paint at more than forty years of age, after fifteen years of stage and writing, because all these disciplines are intimately linked and have made me who I am today. Painting is exceptionally powerful in that it reveals an implacable psychoanalytical mirror to the visitor. A painting is the artist's open-air unconscious. One can hide things with one's voice and writing, by technique, by disguising one's characters, by changing names. You can't cheat with painting. Sometimes I see paintings again two years later and decipher my condition as a fortune teller would read the lines of the hand, as an Egyptologist would decipher a papyrus. My first ladies at heart, for example, have tears that flow. It was an unconscious accident of the painting when I straightened it up vertically, which I transformed into a lachrymal expression, but it also revealed my transition and a less happy state than today. Painting is frank, it is not an invisible art like vocal singing, nor an art that must be "unfolded" like music or writing. It is the art of the immediate impact, of the shot, and I love that.

4. Can you tell us about your creative process and your preferred technique, which you call "caviar ink"?

Caviar ink came to me in 2019, when I was interested in esotericism and parallel sciences. I had a crush on the work of Japanese painter Akinori Haga at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. After returning from the exhibition, I started to draw these small pointillist patterns, this spidery web populated with biomorphic constellations and equivocal symbols. Caviar ink is tattooed on paper in the manner of the Yakuzas in Japan, who practice the ancient art of irezumi, which can be translated as "inserting ink" on the skin. I feel a great community of souls with Japanese artists, first and foremost Yayoi Kusama. My caviar ink is a form of intimate expression, a kind of automatic painting that ends up becoming a signature.

Meet Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine - illustration 1
Meet Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine - illustration 1

On the left: Work in honor of Joséphine Baker in front of the French Panthéon, on the right: Hold On !, Paris

5. On June 3, 2022, you unveiled the work Josephine in front of the Pantheon. How does it feel to work on a monumental fresco of 1000 m2?

I am fortunate to have met two exceptional women, Sophie Lecourt, who is in charge of culture at the Vth arrondissement town hall, and Florence Berthout, the mayor of the Vth arrondissement. Both of them are working in a remarkable way for culture in Paris, with audacity and a real vision. They commissioned me to create a piece for the seventh Quartier du Livre Festival sponsored by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt and we were able to deploy this extraordinary project on the Place du Panthéon, on the occasion of Josephine Baker's birthday, on June 3rd. The original idea was to propose a puzzle canvas that could be cut up that evening and offered in autographed pieces to Parisians, so that they could take a bit of Josephine's heart home with them. It is a tribute to the generosity and universal values of Josephine Baker. This creation has deeply marked me because the canvas was placed on the cobblestones that welcomed the entrance to the Pantheon of exceptional personalities, this is not neutral for a woman artist. It is a great honor given by my country, the Pantheon and these women that I thank once again for their trust.

6. Did you feel any pressure during the creation of your work in honor of such an important figure as Josephine Baker?

Of course, I was lucky enough to be very well accompanied by the scenographer Athem, the city hall of the Vth, the Ellia Art Gallery which represents me, and the Artcher agency. At the same time, I feel some sort of a community of souls with the figure of Josephine Baker. I attended the Folies Bergère and I admire her line of conduct infinitely, she is a woman who always makes the right choices, like a compass that does not compromise, in any situation. When ethics and courage are equal to talent, you can speak of pure heroism; it is a great source of inspiration.

7. Finally, what 3 books would you take to a desert island?

Le Très-Bas by Christian Bobin, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and The Allure of Chanel by Paul Morand, three works with a sparkling language, where everything is said.


Their favourite artworks

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine, Météores arc-en-ciel, Fine Art Drawings

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine

Météores arc-en-ciel, 2021
23.6 x 16.5 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$3,629

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine, Josephine, Fine Art Drawings

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine

Josephine, 2021
48 x 31.9 x 0.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$31,106

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine, L'homme qui vient, Fine Art Drawings

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine

L'homme qui vient, 2021
16.5 x 23.6 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

Sold

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine, Le Funambule, Fine Art Drawings

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine

Le Funambule, 2021
26.4 x 37.4 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

Sold

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine, L'heure Miroir 17, Fine Art Drawings

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine

L'heure Miroir 17, 2021
24.8 x 32.7 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

Sold

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine, L'élixir d'amour, Fine Art Drawings

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine

L'élixir d'amour, 2022
26.4 x 39.4 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$7,258

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine, L'oeil de la danse tatoué, Fine Art Drawings

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine

L'oeil de la danse tatoué, 2021
15.4 x 11 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$2,592

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine, Météore Chance, Fine Art Drawings

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine

Météore Chance, 2021
23.6 x 16.5 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$3,629

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine, L'esprit de la mer, Fine Art Drawings

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine

L'esprit de la mer, 2021
31.5 x 31.5 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$10,369

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine, La Reine des Songes, Painting

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine

La Reine des Songes, 2021
55.9 x 44.9 x 0.1 inch
Painting

$15,553

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine, Reine Mage Extravaganza,, Fine Art Drawings

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine

Reine Mage Extravaganza,, 2021
30.3 x 22.4 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$7,258

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine, Sikh Guru, Painting

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine

Sikh Guru, 2021
55.9 x 44.9 x 0.1 inch
Painting

$15,553

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine, I Love You, Painting

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine

I Love You, 2021
31.5 x 47.2 x 0.1 inch
Painting

$5,184

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine, L'équilibriste, Painting

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine

L'équilibriste, 2021
48.4 x 32.7 x 0.1 inch
Painting

$10,369

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine, Crazy Caviar, Painting

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine

Crazy Caviar, 2021
30.3 x 22.4 x 0.1 inch
Painting

$4,148