Marion Vallerin has always loved painting and drawing. Her career has led her to reinvent herself, until today when she devotes herself entirely to silk painting.
Meeting in her workshop in the 11th arrondissement of Paris.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Marion Vallerin. I’m from the southwest of France and have been living in Paris for the past ten years. I live near the Aligre Market and I paint on silk in my studio, which is located just a few steps away in the 11th Arrondissement.
Can you summarize your journey?
Drawing and painting have been part of the landscape since I was very young. It’s always been my way of expressing myself. I began by copying my favorite cartoons and drawing characters to colour in.
I learned about numerous techniques, from oil painting to sanguine (red chalk), pastels and watercolours.
After that, adolescence brought with it the desire to teach myself by experimenting with every possibility. I started out by studying architecture in Montpellier and then in Copenhagen before earning my degree in Paris. I stopped painting during this time, and was working as an architect six years ago when I started back up.
Tell us a little about your creations.
I discovered painting on silk two years ago. Countless experiments on various mediums followed in order to better understand and learn. The constraints of this technique forced me to concentrate more on the background than on the form. Me, who was always (too) detail oriented! It really taught me to let go. Silk can never be totally controlled. It’s a living medium. There are accidents, surprises and discoveries. This practice puts me in a contemplative mood, which calms me and allows me to stay anchored. My subjects come from meditations, feelings and dreams.
I’m very in-tune with colour and to the emotions they evoke. It can be intoxicating to combine colours, contrast them with each other and to search for them… Sometimes I spend more time creating my palette than painting! As for silk, it can be worn, hung on the wall, tied or stretched… It offers a great freedom of appropriation despite all the nobility it holds.
What are your rituals when you work?
First is the place, my studio. It’s a veritable retreat in the middle of the city. It’s located in a quiet courtyard of a lively neighborhood, where I never fail to encounter someone on a street corner or café.
After that, it’s the sound ambiance…a wide variety of music is always available! Or France Inter when I’m less in wrapped up in my thoughts. After that, a paper drawing as the basis for my composition, and after that I just let the work happen.
When I remember to, I film what I paint. It’s very soothing to see the colours fuse, and I try my best to share this feeling.
Where do you get your artistic inspiration from?
I’m currently very inspired by the landscape of the Mediterranean…waves, ancient architecture and Minoan civilization. It’s a baseline. Paris is rich in inspiration as well, with movies, expositions and meet ups, It’ll make me think of a colour, symbol or some vanishing point…
What’s your relationship with fashion?
My chosen path forced me to give up a certain amount of economic comfort. This led to a very different relationship with consumption in general. I have never totally followed fashion, and I’ve often just gone with what I’ve loved. Today more than ever, my choices are inspired by my feelings, which makes me rather difficult. Purchases are not as frequent, and I'm always happy to put on whatever I grab in the morning, even if I don’t have the mind for it, because it always looks like me. I’m sensitive to materials, shapes, and to clothing which can accompany me for years to come.
What’s your favorite outfit to paint in?
Since I paint standing up, I’m always wearing flats. I often wear my clogs in winter, with beautiful wool socks. And then I always wear my Le Laboureur work coveralls so I don’t get paint on the sleeves of all my shirts. Along with a little silk scarf, of course!
How did you first hear about Sessùn?
I’ve known about Sessùn for a long time, when I first went to architecture school thirteen years ago. There was a store near me that sold the brand. Each time I bought one of their pieces, I felt like I was asserting myself and stepping outside of the prescribed fashion trends. My first purchase was a pair of black overalls and a cropped sweatshirt! (We’re talking 2005 here!) And after that, my first silk dress, which I kept until it wore out!
How would you describe Sessùn in a few words?
Sessùn and I grew up together, got our bearings and dared to be ourselves. The company has evolved and has learned to take risks when necessary, all while staying true to itself. Today its identity is highly recognizable because it has stayed true to its values. Only by being yourself can you authentically touch people.
What are three things you always carry in your purse?
A notebook and a pencil (they always go together, so this counts as one!), my lip balm and my Mexican pearl wallet, which a friend brought back for me several years ago.
Your best vacation was where and when?
Not too far - Lisbon. A week with friends, where we not only visited but really experienced the city. It was a year and a half ago, and I’ve gone back twice since then, always discovering more. I love the people, the culture and the mentality there. And now I'd like to travel down the Douro River as well as along the west coast to discover the rest of the country.
Which superpower would you like to have?
To be able to fly. Very typical, but for me it’s the greatest thing!