Artist Feature #6 – Murielle Xhrouet

ART-IS-IN by Chriselda Barretto

About Murielle Xhrouet

Murielle Xhrouet is Belgian living near Liège, claiming ownership to that spontaneous, warm city.  She turns 52 this year and has been a stewardess for over 30 years.  Murielle thinks that she was really made for the job as she prefers meeting new people from all over the world. She is passionate about other’s lives, she learns and grows through them. She has two children; a boy and a girl aged 19 and 22. She started painting about 3 years ago and it has changed her life.

Her grandfather and her father painted. As one of her two brothers is blessed with the talent of drawing, she never dared to express herself and considered ‘the place’ to be already taken!

Until she got depressed a few years ago and needed something to get out of it.  Murielle started to paint at night (so no one could look at her), on the freshly repainted white wall of her living room. She cut, ripped, glued, painted and at first, it surprised her kids in a bad way! But when it was finished, they loved it including her partner, who immediately bought her some canvas. Her brother saw the wall and said : “Murielle, You are the artist of the family.” Those very simple and innocent words gave her the boost she needed. She finally gave herself the permission to become an artist!

Hi Murielle, welcome to ART-IS-IN! Could you tell our readers a little bit about who you are?

Hi Chriselda! My high sensitivity has made me suffer a lot but I am working in the acceptance of it. I know it gives me my creativity. I am very extravert but getting older has given me a quieter personality and I can sometimes be very discreet to give place to others. Humour is one of the most important thing to me, I am always looking for fun or even wacky people. I have no patience and everything has to be entertaining at a certain point with the risk of losing my attention. To get bored is the worst for me. If no one makes jokes, I will take the place. I have no confidence in myself and even suffer from the syndrome of the impostor because I am a self-taught artist. But I love to laugh about myself, it de-dramatises everything. I need emotions and art is the best place for them.


Tell us about your art style or process.

I like to say about my paintings that they have a high filling rate and it is your turn to decide if it is chaotic, tiring, tormented, troubled or on the opposite colorful, peaceful, telling stories, joyful.  One sure thing is that one painting has two sides : one from far and one from close.  Being far from it gives you an expression of an emotion and being close reveals a lot of details sometimes shocking, sometimes fun, sometimes serious. I usually use collages and acrylic together.

My photos are different, they are more simple and I take pictures of things you would never make a picture of.  I am not interested in nature or large views.  I love to add a nano-fiction that I write myself, it is a little text, like I took it out of a novel. I really would like to make a book out of it. The combination of a photo and a short text gives a higher emotion, at least in my work. 

I have many projects and I have decided to stop exhibitions for a while to concentrate on the phase of creation.  I am busy at the moment with some new collages that I will put under a plexi in a smaller size of what I usually do.


Where does your inspiration come from?

I paint the moment, I paint my feelings and my emotions.  I don’t calculate anything.  If I don’t like what I have done, it is simply that it is not finished.  I express myself spontaneously.

I am very much of a feminist in the sense of women should have the same respect and consideration as men, as simply as that.  I find religions not helping women.  But as a paradox, I love religious art and I love to mix my anger and my love of its art. I have never understood how people can truly believe that their religion is the right one, that the god they pray to is the right one.  Isn’t it arrogant to be sure that the other millions of people are wrong when you have chosen your side?  I am an atheist but I am not sure if I am right. 


I also like putting sex in my paintings because it is too much a taboo.  I also have a problem with Mickey Mouse and I love to mock him and Disney in general as a symbol of the right-thinking people and as a symbol of the easy solution to make your kids good little soldiers in the capitalist world. It is also a way for me to mock us, parents giving too much to our kids without being able to say no. Saying “Fuck Mickey” is refusing things that are too smooth, too conventional.

Have there been other artists/role-models or books that played a key role on your artistic journey?

Abstract expressionism is my first influence.

With my job, I have been walking everywhere where I could find art.  Museums, exhibits, galleries, streets, shops… It is impossible to say who I love, there are too many but Egon Schiele comes first with Gustav Klimt.

 If I had to choose two contempory artists it would be the Japonese Chiharu Shiota for her delicacy and patience and the Brazilian Henrique Oliveira for the strength of his art and the complicated task he has.


How has art impacted your life?

Other’s art have always had an impact on me. I cried in front of some paintings, art is one of my reason to live.  When I enter a museum, I get excited like when I was a kid just before going on vacation. 

My art has a good impact of course but it is still too new for me. It gives me joy but don’t imagine it makes me happy. It gives me pain too when I am falling asleep with my doubts and my questions. If I have one hundred people saying what I do is beautiful and one saying the opposite, I will keep in my mind on that one.  Even if I know that not everybody can like my work it is still painful when I have a bad critic. Sometimes, I wish I wouldn’t see the people looking at my paintings.


My biggest dream would be to be able to live ( at least a little bit) with my art but to get known is a very very long way and exceptional.  You need talent (and talent is not even enough), originality, chance, opportunities and a good contact network. To be in a good gallery, you need to be famous. To get famous you need to be in a good gallery.  Do you see the difficulty of it?  I will probably never be famous at all, it is not the objective. All I want is to share my emotions … and sell a little bit so that I don’t have dozens of paintings in my little house!

Tell us about your last work.

My last painting is completely abstract. I really enjoyed making it because it gave me the pleasure of being completely spontaneous and of feeling free.  I didn’t have to think, I just grabbed the coulours and let it out.  I want to start again, that’s for sure.

One of the pictures I published on Instagram was taken at an exhibition and I took a photo of a photo (a naked woman laying on a bed base, photo taken by Nathalia Edenmont) with the reflection of my partner and me in it.  It gives a strange feeling like we are watching her…like peepers, like voyeurs. That’s our world now. And the text I added is quiet cruel.

What is your current WIP?

Like I mentioned earlier, I am busy making some collages that I put under a plexi.  When I travel, I always come back with some old and dirty posters that I take off the walls.  I never touch a new one, I only take ripped and damaged ones.  I use tape too and even fabrics sometimes.  What I love is giving something raw with no finishing touch.  Women are usually my main subject, but only pieces of them.  I love to rip papers and cut the real picture my way.  I would love to use my own pictures but it is not possible.


What does the future look like for you and your art?

I need to work and work more.  I am a too young artist to have a legitimate claim to a precise future. My dream is really to work with a real gallery and to publish my photos-nano-fictions.


Any words of advice to aspiring artists?

How could I give any advice as I need some myself…except this : Let it all out!

How can my readers contact you or find your art?

My web site :

On FB : Murielle Xhrouet and my page is “But Darling your hair is pink”

Instagram : Murielle Xhrouet

Murielle Xhrouet

An Artist Feature by Chriselda Barretto


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