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.

Resignation

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.

Novocaine

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. 

Skin

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.

ALX

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.

Pieces-of-me

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.

Screens

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.

So-close

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 :https://xhrouet.com

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

USE THE CODE “CHRISELDA” & GET 15% OFF MURIELLE’S WORK

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Contact : Chriselda Barretto

Check out more projects by Chriselda Barretto :

Her Blog – chriselda.blog

Her Podcast – The 3 Pillars

Her Books

The Dig

ART-IS-IN

Artist Feature #5 – Natasha Lalla

ART-IS-IN by Chriselda Barretto

About Natasha Lalla

Natasha Lalla has been painting for over two decades. She has developed a distinct style of her own, which involves painting with her fingers. The artist has never owned a paintbrush and makes use of vivid colours to create stunningly abstract pieces that unleash a host of creative and universal energies.

Natasha’s use of colour and her unique style of painting is unmatched. She has a deep understanding of how colours impact one’s overall sense of well-being!

In the Artist’s own words: “Colours have healing properties and the method of treatment that uses the visible spectrum of electromagnetic radiation to cure diseases is called chromo therapy. A centuries-old concept used successfully over the years.”

Natasha Lalla

Hello Natasha, could you tell our readers a little bit about who you are?

I do not know where to begin about my journey.  I think it started as a child.  I just knew I was different and my unconscious would reveal to me what I should do and as I grew up I just learnt to trust it totally. Complete surrender is what gives me this unique gift to do what I do.  I have had no formal training in art but just a love for it since childhood.

I have never been a religious person but a spiritual being. I also believe there are no coincidences in life.

Horizon IV – 89cm x 94cm – Acrylic on Canvas

Tell us about your art style or process?

My canvas is my smorgasbord where I unleash a host of creative and universal energies.  Abstraction in acrylic is what I derive in my paintings which to a lame-eye can be summed up as exuberant harvests of blending colours and finger strokes. 

Where does your inspiration come from?

Painting in free form, stream of consciousness is a form of artistic meditation that reflects the style. I have a unique way of reflecting spiritual and sublime experiences by expressing images from my subconscious onto canvas by swirling finger strokes.

Horizon XXIV – 97cm x 143cm – Acrylic on Canvas

Natasha, are there other artists/role-models or books that have played a key role on your artistic journey?

Kandinsky, one of the first abstract painters, was keenly interested in colour in art and developed many theories on the properties of colour in art and how they are best used. Many traditions and cultures, such as Chinese, Ayurvedic, Theosophist and ancient Greek and Egyptians believe in the healing power of colours, based on the effect their vibrations have on the body and mind. I have a vivid use of colours.

My gallerist and curator Jalpa H. Vithalani draws a parallel of my art style to be something on the lines of the famed artist Rassoulli; whose work has been quoted as “The little realities we can’t see or the art that dances… without dancers”.

Artist Natasha Lalla with Jalpa H Vithalani, Creative Head and Director, Cosmic Heart Gallery

Wow! That is an impressive comparison. How did you learn/acquire this technique?

My technique is completely self taught and it keeps evolving.

How has art impacted your life?

For me painting is a form of artistic meditation. I feel it is important for people to see the artist through the works. Painting centres me and bring peace and balance into my life.

The recent most exciting development, was that Cosmic Heart Gallery was invited to participate in Art Bahrain Across Borders, Bahrain’s International Art Fair. This was under The Patronage of Her Royal Highness, Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Wife Of His Majesty The King Of Bahrain. Cosmic Heart Gallery was one of the 16 international galleries which had a presence.

My gallerist chose to commemorate the work of two Indian artists at this prestigious exhibition and I was one of them.  I understand that my work was widely appreciated there and is even with the royal family in Bahrain. 

Horizon XIII – 112cm x 86cm – Acrylic on Canvas

That must have truly been an unforgettable experience for you. An achievement actually! What is your current WIP?

I just got in a fresh lot of colours and expanded my pallete and created a beautiful blue and gold work. I always send in images to Jalpa, as I am in the process of creation. This somehow stimulates me and encourages me, to get to my next level each time. I value her feedback and input. She always remarks that this is my work and your gallery.

Horizon XXVIII – 234cm x 110cm – Acrylic on Canvas

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

I am completely in the moment, but when you ask me this question I would say the future looks bright. Cosmic Heart Gallery and I share a common vision of bringing beautiful and affordable art into people’s homes. So many people can not only appreciate my paintings, but also afford to buy them. God has been kind and Cosmic Heart Gallery has hosted seven solo shows of my work and curated my art in twelve group exhibitions in a period of seven years. My work has reached people around the world.

Do you have any words of advice that you would like to share with aspiring artists?

Believe in yourself and trust the process. I have been lucky to find a gallery and curator who understands my work and believes in my talent. There is huge synchronicity in the way we work together.


*A remark from ‘Cosmic Heart Gallery‘ Creative Head and Director – Jalpa H. Vithalani on Artist Natasha Lalla!

“It is an absolute delight to watch Natasha create one of her signature pieces with her fingers. This is one in a million artists who does not own a brush.”

How can my readers contact you or find your art?

Readers can contact me on my gallery facebook page, my personal page or instagram handle @natashalalla

They can come and see my works at Cosmic Heart Gallery, New Marine Lines.

Readers can read more on – http://www.cosmicheartgallery.info/artists/NL/natashalalla.html

View artworks on – http://www.cosmicheartgallery.info/artists/NL/natashalalla_artworks.html

Natasha Lalla

An Artist Feature by Chriselda Barretto

USE THE CODE “CHRISELDA” & GET 15% OFF NATASHA’S WORK AT ‘COSMIC HEART GALLERY’

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Contact : Chriselda Barretto

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Her Blog – chriselda.blog

Her Podcast – The 3 Pillars

Her Books

The Dig

ART-IS-IN

Artist Feature #4 – Richard Bernabe

ART-IS-IN by Chriselda Barretto

About Richard Bernabe

Richard Bernabe is an internationally-renowned nature, wildlife, and travel photographer as well as widely-published author from the United States. His passion for adventure has been the driving force behind his life’s quest to capture the moods and character of the world’s most amazing places, from Africa to the Amazon to the Arctic and countless places in between.

Editorial clients include National Geographic, The New York Times, Time, Audubon, The BBC, The World Wildlife Fund, National Parks, Outdoor Photographer, and many others. Corporate clients include Canon, Patagonia, Orvis, REI, Apple, Microsoft, American Express, and more.

Richard was named one of the “Top 30 Influential Photographers on the Web” by the Huffington Post and included in the “20 Photographers Changing the World Through Social Media” by Influence Digest. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than 1 million social media followers.

Richard is a highly sought-after teacher and public speaker who accepts many invitations from around the world each year in order to help educate others on matters of photography, adventure travel, and our natural world.

A group of Atlantic puffins (Fratercula arctica) huddled along a sea cliff at Dyrholaey, Iceland

Hi Richard, you are an internationally acclaimed photographer, book author, educator, and keynote speaker. Quite an amazing portfolio you have there! But tell us which one speaks to you the most and why?

I would have to say photography, out of everything mentioned above. It’s at the core of my business and my one true passion. In particular, wildlife and wild places are the subjects that inspire me most and speak to me as an artist.

I know that the current focus of your work involves Earth’s endangered species and African wildlife conservation. Could you tell us a bit more about this, specifically why did you choose this aspect and have there been any obstacles or interesting stories from this part of your journey?

Well, given the answer above about where I draw my inspiration, it’s heartbreaking to see our animals disappearing before my eyes. 70 percent of our African megafauna has disappeared over the past 50 years. Let that statistic sink in for just a minute. And I’m not going to speak out and lend my voice in trying to save what we have left? How could I not? I’m particularly disgusted by the greed and stupidity exhibited in humans when in comes to wildlife poaching and the barbaric nature of trophy hunting. It sickens and depresses me.

Alaskan brown bear in late evening light, Lake Clark national Park, Alaska

Your art and photography are stunning, dynamic, eye-catching and so “real“. Tell us about how you go about getting the still that you want and your art style or process.

Thank you. Well, I am trying to evoke some sort of emotion from my viewers. If I can make them feel something – tranquility, peace, power, awe, majesty, melancholy, sadness, ANYTHING really – then I feel I’ve done my job as an artist. In order to do that though, I need to genuinely feel something myself at the time of the capture. I need to be truly inspired when the image is created. It’s not something I can fake.  When I pick up a camera, my mindset needs to be receptive to feeling something so I can translate these emotions through my chosen medium, photography, where others can feel like they’re behind my camera as well, experiencing the scene vicariously through me. 

Where does your inspiration come from?

My gut level emotional reaction to exotic, wild places, and the wild creatures and people that live there. My initial, emotional response to a subject or scene is the core around which I build my image. That’s the heart and soul of the photograph. That’s the energy. Without it, I’m just making pretty pictures like the millions of others out there who own expensive cameras.

Giraffes reflected in sunset light, Etosha National Park, Namibia

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

There have been too many photographers who have influenced me to some degree to name here. The influence of the late Galen Rowell was at the fore when I was initially learning and growing as a young photographer and artist, especially his writing in books like Mountain Light and his monthly columns in Outdoor Photographer magazine. 

Now I find artistic inspiration in other places such as the works of master painters, music, writing, and other forms of creative expression. There are examples all around us in our daily lives if we pay attention.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

My biggest challenge is staying focused and conserving my time. In addition to photography and traveling, I’m also running a business and its day-to-day demands can suck a ton of creative energy from my life. I have learned to say no to requests and impositions on my time that in the past I couldn’t or didn’t do. 

Coastal seastack formations of Reynisdrangar near Vik, Iceland

Which project/work has given you the most satisfaction from all your endeavors?

As I stated above, I try to make an emotional connection between my photography subjects and my viewers with me being the conduit. This is essential to creating a successful image, in my opinion. So when I do create a compelling image of a threatened or endangered animal, for example, and my viewers are able to connect emotionally and empathetically, I get satisfaction in knowing that my photograph, if even in a small way, might help in its ultimate survival. Our wildlife needs as many constituents as possible and if my images can help in that regard, it provides additional satisfaction above and beyond just the joy in creating.

How has art impacted your life?

It’s enabled me to see – to really see – the world around me in a different way. It’s opened me up emotionally as well and taught me how to express myself better on a personal level. That’s something that I probably wasn’t able to do very well when I was younger or before art became the central part of my life. 

Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua), Paradise Bay, Antarctica

Tell us about your last work.

My last major piece of work was writing a book, Wildlife Photography: From First Principles to Professional Results. It’s basically a how-to book on wildlife photography with guides to traveling and where to travel for wildlife photography. It went on sale in October of last year and I’m told it’s doing well commercially. 

What is your current WIP?

My current personal projects involve traveling and pursuing wildlife that are threatened by illegal poaching and trophy hunting. That will be an ongoing project for many years and will, unfortunately, never end. I will also be doing speaking events, photography assignments and leading photo workshops and tours all over the world.

Gray langur monkeys (Semnopithecus entellus) Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

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

I just want to pursue photography subjects that inspire me. That’s my guide. If at some point my interests shift to other avenues, then my photography will follow those paths. It’s that simple. I have no desire to focus on anything that I am ambivalent about or doesn’t inspire me. For example, I have never photographed a wedding and no amount of money can motivate me to do it. 

Any words of advice to aspiring artists?

If you must choose a career in a creative field such as art or photography, do it for love – not money or fame or public recognition. 

Iguazu Falls and the Devils Throat, Iguazu National Park, Brazil and Argentina.

Richard you lead photography classes and workshops for photo hobbyists and fellow travellers. Could you give us some more information on this?

I lead photography workshops and tours all over the world. More information can be found here: https://www.richardbernabe.com/workshops 

How can our readers contact you and find your amazing art/books?

The best and easiest way to contact me is through my website, www.richardbernabe.com.

Richard Bernabe

An Artist Feature by Chriselda Barretto

Signup to receive a reminder to my next Artist Feature on ART-IS-IN

Contact : Chriselda Barretto

Check out more projects by Chriselda Barretto :

Her Blog – chriselda.blog

Her Podcast – The 3 Pillars

Her Books

The Dig

ART-IS-IN