French ArtistInterviewPeople

Stéphanie Arpels

Excerpts from an interview

·          Tell us about your new work…

My new work expresses my feelings and my frustrations about the pandemic and its many consequences such as the lock down, which I felt was like a suppression of my freedom.I have expressed death and the unknown, but also about the new face of my Indian woman as she was suffering on her endless journey to her village; I am talking about the migrants that were left deprived and on their own on the roads.

I have relied on black and white and on a lot of texture to express the unknown to deal with the pandemic resulting in the appearance in my new works of new paths and abstract windows from which to escape.

I have also relied on up-cycled home-made canvases, as suppliers were closed..

·        Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your path as an artist?

As a teenager, I drew and painted to escape my unhappy environment. It was a way to express my anger and my frustrations, as I felt misunderstood.

Meeting my husband and looking ahead to become a mother, after years as an entrepreneur, convinced me to sell my business. This is when I felt the urge to begin drawing and painting again as I realized I needed to express myself.

·        Who motivated you to pursue your career in painting?

My husband has encouraged me a lot to pursue my career in painting as he appreciated my art. In fact, he compared me to Soulages, a famous French painter, who I had never heard about at that time! I was very flattered.

 From where do you derive inspiration for your paintings?

I am inspired by the inner beauty of women. My art represents the dimensions I perceive in the life of the women. I wonder about the present and the future, about that which can be seen and also the unknown. Since I moved to New Delhi my purpose in life, my relationships and the world around me have been profoundly influenced by India.

Endless paths emerge in my canvases where women are squatting, wandering, eluding and vanishing.I purposely paint my landscapes white and black, colors that ideally translate the contrasts in life and in the paths we take.

·         Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

I always begin my work applying my feelings on a canvas. Once my feelings and thoughts are translated on to my canvas, I begin my work on the technique. I can work on 2 to 3 paintings in parallel, as I must mark some pauses for the paint to dry. Sometimes, I draw sketches to organize my thoughts and my emotions better. Time spent on a canvas is very variable. It could take from a few days up to one or two month.

·        What is your daily routine when working?

Well, the last months have changed my daily routine, as it includes supporting my son’s on-line schooling.  I have become teacher to my son in addition to being a friend and a mother! As a result I have kept aside 4 hours per day to escape to my studio and work on my canvases to express myself. My day would not be full, unless I also spend time meditating.

·          Your comments on the present art scene in India as well as overseas?

I feel the present art scene in India remains very focused around Indian artists. The last Fairs were displaying only 30% works from foreign artists…Whereas, overseas, Fairs exhibit a must larger variety of international artists. My perception is that art is a much larger part of daily life in the West than in India.

·        What advice would you give to the young artists?

It is very difficult to find a place in the art world. So I will say, never give up but you need to be aware of the challenges you will face to be recognized, appreciated, and to have opportunities to be shown.

·             Your forthcoming projects?

I am currently working on small formats for a Diwali limited series supported by Devyani  Sahai from 1 AQ gallery.I also have a mixed media project with Parul Sharma, a well-known photographer, where we plan to portray and highlight issues related to women during lockdown.And I have a project with a Dubai based interior design firm that is commissioning me an installation of several of my works for one of its clients..

·               About your other interests?

I like to meditate and practise yoga, and I also play golf with my son and my husband. Following a small white ball is another form of escaping!

I enjoy sharing quality and precious times with my friends.

I like to travel and be surprised by my discoveries.

Music, reading, and dancing are also an important part of my life.

·        What is Success according to you?


·        How do you balance…home & work?

I don’t exactly know the recipe, but I feel that I am fortunate to have found the right balance between my family and my work. Obviously, at times, I am not able to accomplish what I set out myself to do, as my son takes a lot of space but it is wonderful to be able to spend time with your family. This is how I find my balance.

About the Artist, Stephanie Arpels

From a young age, Stephanie has been attracted to painting and fine art. She began practising as a teenager. Prior to her move to India in 2015, she had set up a holistic practise dedicated to women wellbeing where she guided and supported women in their efforts to explore their confidence and femininity. As a result, she helped hundreds of women in accepting themselves physically and morally. During this time, she had also started to paint and found that these interactions had significantly influenced her creativity. Self-taught, Stephanie believes her work to be a healing process which helps her live with a life-altering disease. Her move to India also significantly impacted her work as she was moved by the vastness, diversity and contrasts embodied in the country. In 2018, she received an award by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on the occasion of International Women’s Day for excellence in the field of art.

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