5 questions for French artist Victoire Cathalan

January 28, 2018

For Victoire Cathalan, who visited Costa Rica this week to participated in the Tamarindo Art Wave festival in Guanacaste, nature the driving force behind her paintings. Using natural colors and light as a tool, she uses oils to reproduce what she observes.

Her work involves “observing in order to find our relation to nature and how we can connect more. I think that’s very important today, because humanity has lost a lot of its nature,” Cathalan told The Tico Times.

Cathalan, who is from Paris and lives in Switzerland, has traveled to Brazil, Spain, Mexico, England, the United States, and Costa Rica thanks to her art.

On a warm, beautiful morning at Langosta Beach, Guanacaste, The Tico Times sat down at Cala Luna with Cathalan and to talk about her life and work. Excerpts follow.

Why did you choose art? 

I think I was in communion with myself… I couldn’t say no. I will make art until I die, and it will be my way of life.

I have children and even when I was pregnant, that was related to what I was doing. All the travels of experience, you feel it in your art.

"Immersion" oil on canvas. Courtesy of Victoire Cathalan

What is your process to create artwork?

I tried everything… structures, photos, video, engravings… and finally I decided on painting. For me it was more complete. Everything I could have done in three dimensions, I wanted to express in two dimensions.

A little story: at this exhibition here, somebody came to me and said: “Oh, you’re painting’s still wet.” It’s two paintings that have been in the water. For me it was nice for someone to tell me that, because it meant they really feel the wetness.

"Nude" oil on canvas. Courtesy of Victoire Cathalan

Which technique do you enjoy the most?

Oil on canvas, because I make my colors myself. I mix oil with pigments… some are industrial, but most of them are natural. [I like] oil and not acrylic because it takes a longer time to work. For me it’s important not to be in a rush when I work.

I like to come back the day after and just begin where I was. Sometimes I don’t sleep. It takes a long time to dry and you can change something, even a detail, two days later… or even months later.

"Rencontre" oil on canvas. Courtesy of Victoire Cathalan

What do you want to communicate through your paintings?

I really try to make more connections between humanity and the world of nature. I’m very moved sometimes by what’s happening in the ocean, what’s happening to the trees. I can’t say I’m really doing something for nature, but I hope to transmit some ideas of connection. Some people see the painting and say: “Oh yeah, there’s this connection. We didn’t think about that.” Just to have more dialogue and not thinking of it just like an object.

"Street to Inspiration," ink on paper. Courtesy of Victoire Cathalan
"Sun Palms," oil on canvas. Courtesy of Victoire Cathalan

Since you’ve been here four times, what do you like the most about Costa Rica?

The ocean and the jungle. I went to Arenal… where there’s all this jungle and the weather is very different. I love the changes… I really like the people because they are very open-minded to people coming from other countries.

Victoire Cathalan was at the Tamarindo Artwave Festival from Jan. 25 – 27.

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