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Interview with French illustrator and architect Zoé Bourhis

Géraldine met Zoé Bouhis, a French illustrator, during the Place des Arts exhibitions in Strasbourg in 2022. We both participated in the Open Workshops in my Written Image workshop in Hochstatt, near Mulhouse. Zoé is an enthusiastic and sparkling artist that I particularly appreciate. I take advantage of this interview to present it to you!

Presentation of Zoé Bourhis illustrator by Géraldine de l'image ecrite, Hochstatt, Alsace, France

Who is Zoé Bourhis?

I am 26 years old and I am a young architect from Strasbourg. I studied in Nancy and Buenos Aires in Argentina. When I returned to Strasbourg, I decided to develop my artistic activity. Passionate about drawing, I like to develop graphic universes with ink pen. The pen is my medium both in my profession as an architect and an illustrator.

What are the values that make you vibrate?

I like to integrate some of my ecological values into my work. I favor the use of real materials in my work: natural cotton, paper, solid wood frame, cardboard. I favor reuse as much as possible: all my frames are found in flea markets and are cleaned in order to live a second life.

When you create a work, where do you start?

The frame, as described above, is a big part of my work. When I create, it is the frame that defines the spirit and the dimensions of the painting. Today we must rethink our consumption patterns and our art evolves with them. We no longer create anything, but with what already exists and this also applies to my job as an architect.

Depending on the material (wood, gilding, metal) and the dimensions (which are rarely standard), I draw a universe populated by characters trying to find their place. I often find a theme: tenderness in a couple or a family, the theme of a medieval battle, a market day….

it's the frame that defines the spirit and dimensions of the painting" Zoé Bourhis , French illustrator

How do you come up with ideas?

I draw ideas from personal experiences and relationships. Then, the ideas come by doing… But I also have periods of emptiness. When I lose inspiration, I recharge my batteries with those around me and in museums.

What are your paintings saying?

My paintings tell scenes of life. Universes where the characters try to find their place in a more or less turbulent environment.

What are your plans for 2023?

I am in the process of building a website and an online store. I also plan to exhibit in markets and galleries, but everything in its time…

You can find Zoé, French illustrator on Instagram.

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