The Art of Ciou
‘Cute & Scary’: The Art of Ciou.
Like a contemporary of funky female artists, including Miss Van, Camille Rose Garcia and Tara McPherson; Toulouse-born artist Ciou weaves elements of the adorable with gothic imagery to bring a cute, scary style to her mixed-media works. Drawing on her love of collecting vintage toys, taxidermy and pin-up within her artwork she paints a cheerfully gothic landscape in which doe-eyed girls and disturbing creatures co-exist.
In Ciou’s sweet and sinister world cute cats, stuffed bats, birds, fairies and beautiful ladies are given a deliciously dark and macabre twist so that all is not as it seems. Real eyes stare out from her painted creations and tattoos, injuries and stitches track their pretty forms to create art that is fascinating, inventive and nightmarish.
Interview with Ciou:
Here the artist tells us more about herself and her art.
What do you feel passionately about/what inspires you to paint?
I live in Belgium, and the architecture of Art Nouveau inspires me. But my first source of inspiration is my private collections. This collection includes a lot of toys, taxidermy, bugs and a lot of books. I am inspired by Japanese culture, religious art, mysticism, dolls and pin up, primitive art, cemeteries, art nouveau and lots of movies and animated films. I paint/draw all the time. I have an addiction!
You are a collector of vintage toys, are they the inspiration behind creating your stuff monsters?
Yes, but not only for my stuffed monsters, for my paintings and drawings too.
You use 'wall painting' as a medium during exhibitions. Do you enjoy the opportunity to create art which exists off the page?
Yes it's really interesting, I made wall paintings for exhibitions sometimes and I love the idea that after the show, the wall paintings disappear, covered by white paint...
Some of your paintings have a tattoo style to them. Do you have any tattoos yourself? Is it an art form that you enjoy?
I love tattoo, I have tattoos and I want more. I made a trophy last year for the tattoo convention of Paris. I am very inspired by the circus lady in carnivals and by old school tattoos.
Who are your personal hero’s or heroines?
Julien Lesur, Frida Kahlo, Junko Mizuno, Mark Ryden, Camille Rose Garcia, Miss Van, Elizabeth McGrath, Fabesko, Tim Burton, Yayoi Kusama, Annette Messager, Louise Bourgeois, Chiho Aoshima, [Animals Dead and Alive] Birds, Cats, Snakes, Bambi, Freaks, Tkato Yamamoto, Mucha, Vania Zouravlio
Do you have a favourite band or type of music that you listen to when you are painting?
I love listening to music when I am painting. I listen to Neurosis, Joy Division, Death in June and fifties/sixties cute songs and a lot of stoner music.
Can you tell me a little bit about your forthcoming book Siamese cat?
Siamese cat is my first book. It's a cute, creepy, violent and romantic story written by Guillaume Bianco. The book will be published in French and in English.
You can find out more about Ciou on her website. (All images courtesy of Ciou).