Journal

September 2019

Arrows

Bears

Arrows

BIO

Laure Cuvillier is a multi-disciplinary artist expanding two bodies of current work. Her abstract series tells time/space-transcending stories through shapes and symbols.  Her other body of work explores feeling-based idioms of the social media and street vernacular, and the freedom they allow to express oneself openly.

Originally from Paris, Cuvillier has been drawing and painting since she was a young child with an active imagination. At 14, her mother enrolled her in a still-life drawing class at the “Carousel du Louvre” where the world-famous museum held art classes for adolescents, where she honed her drawing skills for two years. By the time she was 15 she knew her path, and decided to follow her passion to the US, moving to New York when she was 19, with a drive and desire to become a successful artist.

She began figurative drawing and painting classes at the Arts Students League of New York for a couple of years, and started her BFA studies at Hunter College on the Upper East side of Manhattan, but soon decided that the East Coast was not where she needed to be. Moving to California changed her perspective, and she enrolled in the printmaking BFA program at California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco/Oakland, graduating with a BFA in printmaking and a minor in painting. Following graduation, she became bored with San Francisco, and upon hearing that Los Angeles LA hires more artists than any city in the US, she made her way to the city of Angels, and has never looked back.

Although Cuvillier is adept at illustration, etching, lithography, silkscreen, woodcutting, figure drawing, painting, ceramics, and mixed media, her current focus is on painting, specifically, a series of graphic bears expressing various emotions. Her signature pop characters appear like emojis with bear ears, accompanied by with a meme that expresses how the bear feels. Some of the paintings just have the words that address the emotion, with a freedom of expression that was not considered “polite or proper” in France. The mixed media works are created in acrylic accented by paint markets and loose glitter, giving them a whimsical pop art appeal.

“ The Bears paintings celebrate how I feel and emote as a person; they also represent the collective feelings of humanity. They capture the Zeitgeist of urban culture through the iconographic language of emojis and slang.

An ever-changing dialect of expressing feelings is generated by the new street vernacular and popular social media phrases.  This new language is capturing the mood of these times.

I grew up in Paris where I was brought up to see life through a Cartesian lens and to think rationally. The French are very big on analytical thinking, often at the detriment of emotions.  As a French artist looking into American culture, I am fascinated by these expressions which are bold, fun and sassy.  They reflect the paradigm of a new generation that was granted an unprecedented level of freedom by the digital realm of the internet. The statements we see are often tongue in cheek and mirror this levity; an “Epic Fail” can quickly turn into a “Like a Boss” thus charting how moods can shift on a daily basis, which is now the new norm.

Although originating from younger generations, the expressions tap into universal emotions, and we can all relate to them, as we all have the similar aspirations, fear and anxieties.  The expanding world of Emojis, which are globally recognizable symbols, has also been adopted across cultures and generations; it is an inclusive language that connects us through our shared feelings.

Transposing these digital icons to an analog realm through the traditional medium of painting gives them a personal presence.  Each of them is unique; the hand drawn lines bring an organic depth and vulnerability.

Bears in nature are fierce and powerful animals. The primary meaning of the bear spirit animal is strength and confidence; it also indicates healing.

The expressions are modern mantras; the paintings are reminders to bring the bold, sassy and powerful parts of ourselves forward.”