Marbling artist Julia Genet

Working from her studio in Paris, the artist Julia Genet of Tomàs Avinent Atelier keeps the tradition of paper marbling alive.

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN MARBLING AND HOW DID YOU LEARN IT?

”Marbling is a painting technique traditionally used in bookbinding. I studied cinematographyand knew nothing about crafts or the world of books. I discovered this painting technique thanks to a video in the middle of hours lost on the internet. This know-how fascinated me, the dance of colours on the bath, the movements of the motifs... it captivated me and seemed so easy to reproduce. I then tried to make the colours float too and I quickly realized that the seemingly easy nature of this technique was misleading! Then began a long journey of self-taught learning to master this craft. I gathered information from all over the internet, experimented with different types of paints, asked for advice in fine art stores and finally managed to get the results I was hoping for. This period was a long time of searching filled with frustration and determination. I didn’t think I could be that persistent. I then perfected my technique of the Ebru - one of the marbling techniques that comes from Turkey.”

 

 

“It is a pleasure to work with matter, to produce with my hands, it helps me to anchor myself in the moment.”

 

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WHAT ARE YOUR SOURCES OF INSPIRATION AND HOW DO YOU GET NEW IDEAS?

”I don’t quite know where my inspiration comes from. Abstract drawing and contemporary photography, which I also practice, must certainly influence me. I am continually learning and experimenting around this savoir-faire. It’s a bit like I never leave the research and development phase. I try to mix this technique with collage, gilding, and trying new patterns and colour combinations. There is never a shortage of new ideas.”

 

HOW LONG HAVE YOU HAD YOUR OWN STUDIO?

”I have had my own studio since spring 2017. I still clearly remember the joy I felt in this space. It is very difficult to find a workshop in Paris. Having my own creative space, what a joy!”

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CAN YOU TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR GRANDFATHER?

”Tomàs Avinent was my great-grandfather. I didn’t know him, but my grandmother always portrayed him as a gentle and cultured man who was the only one in the family who could read and write perfectly. He was a typographer in a press newspaper in Barcelona. His job has always been a source of pride for my grandmother. I have chosen to call my studio “Tomàs Avinent” as a tribute to this man I would have liked to know, to craftsmanship and typography which are two passions, and to highlight my Spanish origins.”

 

HOW DO YOU WORK WITH COLOUR COMBINATION AND FINDING JUST THE RIGHT NUANCE?

”It’s quite intuitive. There are associations that enchant me right away, others that “sound” wrong. I started doing David Hornung’s exercises, presented in his book ”Colour” on the theory of colours last year, and since then my perceptionof hues, saturation and brightness has been more accurate. The combinations I prefer have a narrow range of values, to use David Hornung’s vocabulary. In the context of an assignment, I generally receive colour references and I create shades from my primary pigments to get as close as possible to the reference. This step can take a long time! ”

 

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“The know-how fascinated me,
the dance of colours
on the bath,
the movements of the motifs...”

ARE YOU EASILY INFLUENCED BY TRENDS?

”I have the impression that I am not. But I’m like many people, so full of images that I find it hard to think that it doesn’t have any influence on my work. Anyway, it’s not an intention, following trends to satisfy tastes is not part of my approach.”

 

MANY ARTISTS THESE DAYS HAVE TURNED TO DIGITAL WAYS OF CREATION, BUT YOU STILL INSIST ON MAKING EVERYTHING BY HAND. WHY IS THIS A SPECIAL WAY OF MAKING YOUR ART?

”It was specifically the marbling technique, its process and results that I liked so the question did not arise for me. Digital patterns can be created that imitate the spirit of marbling movements, but the volutes and arabesques obtained thanks to the fluidity of the bath are very difficult to reproduce virtually. Regarding the question of digital versus handmade, these are different tools, but I am not opposed to them, the approaches can be the same. That being said, it is clear for me that it is a pleasure to work with matter, to produce with my hands, it helps me to anchor myself in the moment.”

 

WHERE DO YOU FEEL MOST AT HOME?

”I feel most at home when I have settled my daily life into a kind of melody, a habit, that makes my environment familiar and loved. This familiarity makes me feel secure and allows me the freedom to experience all kinds of things in the world.”

 

SHOP THE JULIA GENET COLLABORATION

 

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