The colorful XXL paintings of the French artist Carla Talopp immerse us in a vegetable world, of jungles and marine depths, full of life and propose interesting crossings between botany and contemporary art.
Carla weaves networks, crosses disciplines and escapes categories. Installed in the French countryside, she translates her work into other languages and materials in collaborative projects.
Co-founder of the Karma Milopp Studio with her partner, the photographer Thomas Millet, they invite families to pose in front of their large paintings, creating relaxed staging with elaborate lighting. The result is a portrait that is halfway between a work of art and a family memory.
Estefanía Radnic: Which is your academic background? How did you immerse into the artistic world?
Carla Talopp: I studied literature and then graphic arts in Paris (Esag Penninghen), where I learned the basics of drawing for two preparatory years and then for three years the craft of art direction and illustration. A strong academic background, but personally lacked the freedom to create without restrictions. For that reason I spent a year in RISD, United States (Rhode Island School of Design), to learn engraving and learn about other methods of working and relating to others. As a result, I was lucky enough to be selected by the French Institute for a residency in China (Chinese Academy of Arts in Hangzhou), and then I produced filmed travel diaries in India and Cuba for the Franco-German cultural channel Arte. It was my first job and I was very happy to start my career traveling!
Estefanía Radnic: Your work is multidisciplinary, which makes it difficult to typecast you: you do wallpapers, design, painting, illustration, textiles and fashion, literature, posters, videos … Are there any of these areas with which you feel more identified and more comfortable to express yourself?
CT: Although my training had to do with illustration for the press, publications and luxury items, I could not find a particular style because I was limited to fulfilling assignments. I was also spending too much time on the computer editing and submitting files. My wish has always been to be an artist, to create with my hands, free from the restrictions imposed from the outside, according to my inspiration. So I decided to dedicate myself to a creative search, and thus the series The octopus was born, a very intimate work on a disease that I suffer, exhibited at the Baudoin Lebon gallery (Paris) a few years later.
Once I assumed my artistic approach, I was able to regain the freedom to create what I wanted, and the joy of adapting it to other languages. Prints on paper, fabric, porcelain, among others, are a true passion and I am interested in crossing the imaginary border between decorative arts and contemporary art.
ER: How was the nomadic project Karma Milopp born, which brings art to a wide audience?
CT: As soon as I met Thomas we started working on joint series. The first was called Love, it is a photographic series of both of us naked in nature that evolved over the years with our children.
The Karma Milopp Studio was born from our move to a new region: in 2014 we left Paris to settle in a small town in the south-west of France. We didn’t know anyone and we were eager to imagine a project that would make us meet our neighbors and beyond, bringing art to people’s homes, at an affordable price. It was not easy and even today the project is more successful in large cities than in the countryside.
Thomas “commissioned” me a first large-format canvas (beginning of the Jungle XXL series) and we began to move this painted decoration to: photograph families that surrounded us, the square of our town, Art Centers of the region, the International Jazz Festival, Ciné 32 Film Festival and the Vichy City Photographic Encounters, where the portraits were exhibited all summer in the open air, together with the renowned American photographer Mark Seliger.
ER: Your artistic path is full of nature, dreams, travel … what other subjects excite and inspire you?
CT: I made the decision to leave my small Parisian workshop to settle with my family in the countryside. We found this old house, after having traveled all over France, and it was “love at first sight”. We have not finished renovating it yet, but when I cross the garden to the atelier, from where I observe the changing sky and the hills, I hear the song of the birds and the rhythms of the butterflies, the wind gently shaking the trees and the children walking home since school, all this calms me and fills me with joy. It is a dream we created with Thomas Millet, which eases life’s difficulties and my tormented artist spirit! My fragile health was part of this decision to leave the city, but also our unconditional love for nature and the great outdoors. The great jungles that animate my paintings could not have existed elsewhere!
© All photos courtesy of Thomas Millet.