Cendrine Rovini is a French visionary whose creations set her aside from a multitude of other extraordinarily talented people who work in her field. Born in Nîmes, Cendrine disliked school and yearned for solitude and peace, spending the majority of her spare time reading in her bedroom or walking in the countryside by her home, particularly infatuated with the hills and the vines and the secret places where she could build hidden cabins. She soon became old enough to go to university, where she studied the ‘Romantic Languages’ (languages derived from Latin) and while at university, she briefly taught Spanish. Again, she hated this, and since her childhood, felt that she wasn’t in the right place and yearned for something that she could enjoy. After finding a love of drawing her notebooks, she soon decided to become a full-time artist and with this, she says she ‘at last found solace’.
Her work is exceptional, with a fine attention to detail and like nothing you have seen before. The images she creates are almost surreal with faceless ladies, contorted bodies and a selection of wonderfully haunting and beautiful ladies regularly cropping up in her work. I am exceedingly happy and thankful that I was given the opportunity to speak to the lovely lady behind these awe-inspiring creations.
1) What is the thought process of your work? (How is the idea born and how does it progress?)
If truth be told, behind my work there is few thinking. Most of the time I don’t have ideas coming in my mind, just images or pulses, something really visual. Usually I feel the need to transcribe it onto paper, fabric or wood (it depends on the final rendering I want to reach). I simply follow the lines I innerly see and just draw them, colour and texture them until the final result.
2) Who/what are your biggest influences?
Since my childhood I [have been] very intrigued , fascinated and inspired by the late medieval imagery (precisely illuminations) and by the renaissance art. Recently, I discovered the magic of vintage photography, and the oriental ancient paintings and it had a significant influence on my works. I adore many artists from all over the world.
[You can see more of Cendrine’s influences on the ‘LINKS’ section of her portfolio, which can be found here]
3) There is such a fine attention to detail in your art, how long do you spend on one piece of work and why?
For the medium format pieces, it is around one full day if it is not too detailed, otherwise it can take 2-3 days. For the little pieces it takes on or two hours. Generally, I hate working wide ranges of time on the same work, I feel unable to spend more than 2 hours straight in my studio on a drawing. After one hour I generally feel the need to go out or read or do the home tasks in order to ‘relax’. Nonetheless, at the beginning of the work for an image, I never stop until I have established the main direction. The lines have to be precise in order for me to be able to rest. After this fundamental step, I can go away for some time and visualize the rest of the work before starting again.
4) What are the key themes your art explore and why do you explore these themes?
My images are about the relationship human beings have with their biosphere and inner world. I am fascinated by metamorphosis, the way “nature” and imagination belong to one another. I put nature in commas because weird this word which supposes we are not part of our biosphere, and we so recklessly believe we can be masters of it, just for the sake of some artificial “needs”. For me, the world of true images is the point of meeting for us to find the energy of real connected life.
5) Describe your state of mind when working. (What do you see, feel etc?)
When I am working I feel a strange mix of excitement and peace. I feel peaceful when I clearly see what I am slowly making visible on the paper, and this vision makes me happy and grateful. The vibe of my studio is also really important to me, if the light is beautiful, if I feel in tune with the garden behind the window in front of me. I am very aware of those things, it is like we are working all together, the environment and me. And when I start drawing the face of my women, I literally see each of their shapes, I just have to focus on them.
6) In your opinion, why is art so important?
I don’t know if art is an important word in itself. What I feel is important are the images, the true ones, not the fake amount of images you see everyone on advertising and cliches about beauty and all these sort of fleeting trendy things. Honest, deep images from all the ages, the ones connected with the art of living on earth within imagination are for me essential. We all need them. Something about a familiar mystery.
7) What do you recommend to people who have talent? How do they get recognition for their work?
The thing I would tell them is to never stop drawing, writing, singing etc., as long as they remain honest with themselves. If you make things for recognition first, then you are in danger, [both] you and your images. For this it is perhaps necessary to spend not much time thinking, trying to find justifications to what you are making. When you are making images you don’t have to really build and think them before they are done. I feel this is one of the best ways to express yourself the best. In a society based on money and fake success, it is important to know that having images to render or see for real is an incredible richness in itself. With your images you can make the most exciting swaps with other true human beings and even with nature and spirits from other worlds.
8) Finally, how do you see yourself in five years time and how do you see your work progressing?
In five years I trust the project I have with my family to go off-grid. I love being alive right now of course, totally present to my current reality, with my family, our friends and marvels, but I now wish to be more coherent with my inner world. My images talk about this. I see the fact of being part of the current way of life as a true problem for me, the ones I love and the biosphere. So, the key words for this are: tribe, local life, imagination, herbs and presence. My work will progress – or not -within them.