Stargazer and illustrator extraordinaire Camille Le Saulnier takes a moment’s pause from daydreaming to scribble down a few words about her artistry and fascination with the night sky.
Dash Majesty: For those who don’t know, tell us a little about yourself.
Camille Le Saulnier: My name is Camille, I’m a graphic design graduate and have recently been developing my illustration work under the name Camissao.
DM: You’re originally from France but now reside in the UK – what are the most striking differences you’ve noticed, both within and outside of the art scene?
CLS: The price of wine! My experience overall hasn’t been a shock, although there are of course slight differences. I think the thing that surprised me the most at first was the 5 o’clock “Everyone to the pub!” It was very unusual for me to see everyone out having a drink. In my mind, it was more of a weekend thing.
In the art scene, more specifically with regards to design in general, I feel that England is less influenced by the Swiss aesthetic compared to France. Shapes and colours feel more free/wild, maybe an influence from punk culture? But again, that’s just my personal experience.
DM: The majority of your pieces have been done in black and white, why is this?
CLS: For as long as I can remember, I have always been more of a pencil than a coloured pencil kind of person. Not that I never use/have never used colour – I do actually enjoy adding colour to my work from time to time, if it fits with the composition.
DM: Weekend mood is an arresting piece – could you tell us where the idea for this illustration came from?
CLS: This one is quite straightforward. It’s a mix of observation and personal experience, from being younger/a student. It’s my interpretation of the post-party junk food that a lot of us may indulge/have indulged in. It’s a combination of hunger and tiredness coming together.
DM: Are there any musicians who make you want to pick up your pencil and draw? Could you tell us who?
CLS: I don’t think any musicians in particular “jumpstart” my creativity, but I always listen to music when working. The style of music depends on my mood. If I’m cheery it might be some rock (Queen/The Who), if it’s sunny it will be some indie and if I’m sad or stressed I’ll probably go for some instrumental or classical music.
DM: A lot of your work places a focus on stars and the night sky. May we ask why this is?
CLS: I grew up in the countryside. If I remember rightly, the closest village had around 2000 inhabitants – we were in a very rural area and it was so easy to see the night sky. With my brother, or sometimes with friends when we were having sleepovers, I would put a blanket in the garden and lie down to look at the sky for a while. It gave me such a strange feeling, a mix of anxiety and fascination.
It makes you feel small and insignificant, looking at something that is tremendously big and trying to imagine the infiniteness of the universe. It was such a beautiful sight, especially when the sky was so clear you could see the Milky Way. It’s a lot harder to see it when you live in the city of course, but whenever the occasion arises to do it, it’s still a treat. I guess maybe I make up for it by creating pieces that include those memories.
DM: You seem to prefer to draw female figures – would you agree? If yes, why?
CLS: No disagreement here. I think it’s just a habit. Being a female myself, and having studied art history, I’m more familiar with female figures. Maybe I’m just talking nonsense here, but I think there’s a fascination with the female body in general, fascination for its shapes and forms, and I don’t mean in a sexual way, but in a purely visual one.
DM: Do you concur that your work has some feminist undertones to it?
CLS: If there is, it was not a conscious choice. I don’t create art to be political, but if people see something in it that goes along with their convictions then I think it’s good. Art is personal, the piece itself might tell a particular story, but if you see something else in it, that’s fine as well. As long as people don’t associate my work with hateful ideas, I’m happy with them interpreting it in whichever manner they choose.
DM: Are there any upcoming projects of yours which you’re particularly enthusiastic about?
CLS: Not in particular. Not that I’m not excited about anything, but more that I’m excited about everything. Having started my work recently I even get excited if someone contacts me just to tell me that they like a certain piece, it’s a very rewarding feeling and I appreciate it so much. I’ve been working on illustrations for a book recently and that’s been a new experience in which I find pleasure.