Here is a chance for you to see Thumbelina as you’ve never seen her before! Re-imagined by Ciou in her distinct and unmistakable drawing and painting style, Thumbelina ceased to be a helpless little thing at the mercy of fate. Through Ciou’s works, she blooms into a spirited girl who braves the hostile world as she journeys towards a better future. To me, this is proof of the power of perspective and the influence of imagery. Ciou never sees Thumbelina as a powerless, tiny creature. To her, Thumbelina is an outcast who escapes her predicaments and finds a place within a community where she truly belongs. Recently, I had the pleasure of chatting with her about her current exhibition at Kochxbos Gallery, her current projects, her sources of inspiration, and a host of extra topics that have not been covered in beautiful.bizarre’s 12-page editorial about Ciou in beautiful.bizarre #012.
May 7 – June 28, 2016
Eerste Anjeliersdwarsstraat 36
1015 NR Amsterdam
Miu: Will you tell me more about the concept of this exhibition?
Ciou: The title of my solo show is “A Journey into Fantasy”. It revolves around fairy tales and wonderlands. This is my 5th solo show at Kochxbos Gallery in Amsterdam. I worked on a 3D medium: I painted a wooden horse, named Hector, on the road. I love to work on different supports and this is a way to give a second life to an old wooden horse. It’s like a resurrection for vintage toys. I also introduced the original artworks from my new illustrated book – “Thumbelina” – through this show.
Is there any reason you chose to illustrate Thumbelina?
I love Hans Christian Andersen’s stories. Also I chose Thumbelina because I love the character. The story could be scary in a way but it is always beautiful. I love the way the nature could be dangerous but also protective and save the girl. She is different and suffers due to her difference, she is always seen like a freak but she finds a way to escape from her torments and – finally – found happiness.
Are there highlights or challenges in preparing for this show that you can tell us about?
The show was prepared in two stages. The first one is a synthesis of the European inspirations from the North fairy tales. The second part was inspired by our trip to Tokyo. When we come back from the group show “Aestheticism”, curated by beautiful.bizarre, I was more than inspired by the temples, creatures, and amazing art I saw in museums. This travel was the most important one in my life. It was a dream come true, and now it changes everything. I am totally in love with Japanese culture, now more than ever.
What project(s) are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a group show: “Summer 16” at Copro Gallery this July. I’m also working on an other group show in August/September: “The Tarot project” at Alexia Era Gallery in Oregon. I am working on a new illustrated book “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”, a Norwegian fairy tale in French and English language edition, edited by Scutella.
Do you have a work ritual? What’s your typical day like?
I am working 10 hours a day, almost everyday. I am also doing some research and sketches at The Museum of Natural History‘s library. I am working on several pieces, two or three, at the same time. I paint, draw and sketch every day. When I am not in my studio, I am traveling for shows.
What do you do for fun in your free time?
Oh, what’s fun for me will be very boring for most of people. I love to collect vintage toys and Kaiju, and I love gardening, walking in the woods and at the ocean. I don’t have lots of time for myself or for holidays. I am very busy all the time. I really love to travel when I have a show. It’s very important for me to travel and see the world, nature, museum and my friends all around the world. It’s my biggest inspiration.
What does art mean to you?
Art means life.
How did you come up with your distinct and highly recognizable drawing and painting style?
I love to paint and draw. I started discovering art when I was a child and never stopped. Of course my parents gave me this chance and took me to art schools and museums. I looked for what would be the best for me and mixed different mediums. I use acrylic, gouache and ink on different kinds of paper: vintage paper, regular paper, etc. As long as I can draw on it, it’s good. I learned a lot by myself and worked all the time. It has taken me many years to find a good combination and I’m still learning everyday.
At the moment, what would you consider a dream project?
I have so many dreams. I would like to come back to Japan, learn more about Japanese culture, local legends, and yōkai.
To you, what’s the most important thing in this life?
My boyfriend and artist Malojo, my parents, family and friends are the ones on the top of my list. It’s selfish but it’s true. I also love nature : flora, fauna, and space.
If you get an absolute and irrevocable option to change one thing in this world, what would it be?
A way to live in a more symbiotic way with nature.