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ARTISTS / Interview with Stella Falduto

Stella is a watercolorist from Nîmes, she publishes travel books in the form of watercolor drawings but also Travel Posters on cities of character in the South of France, Italy, Morocco ...

Trained as an architect, she returned to her first love: drawing. Her studies have made her sensitive to urban space and the atmosphere of public spaces, and she tries, humbly, to restore them in her work.

What kind of creations do you make?

Since 2013, I have been creating watercolor drawings of cities that particularly touch me. They are gathered in travel books that I publish, a small collection of Promenade dans....

I also offer travel posters, in the spirit of vintage posters.

How did your creative adventure start?

Like most children, I loved to draw, and I quickly knew that I wanted to do a creative job. Quite naturally I went to study architecture in Montpellier and at the Politecnico in Milan.

After graduation, I worked for ten years in Montpellier region, in an agency specialized in rehabilitation of public and religious buildings. Although rich and demanding, the job left me feeling frustrated, not being able to master all the links in the creative chain, and wanting more immediacy...

That's when I realized that I wanted to return to my first love: drawing.

I started by drawing my native city: Nîmes, then Arles, a neighboring city, with the desire to restore the atmosphere, through a series of watercolors in the form of travel books. In parallel, I elaborated a version of the notebook on Nîmes to be painted and colored.

I then had the opportunity to live in Rabat, so it was only natural that I published a third book, Promenade dans Rabat.

Upon my return to South of France, I published my fourth travel book Promenade dans Montpellier, and recently the version of Montpellier to paint, to color. My books serve as my business cards, and each time, they have allowed me access to amazing and interesting private commissions. For example, I had the opportunity to create a notebook for BRL about the Monts d'Orb dam, or a book commissioned by Mohammed VI Foundation for Protection of Environment, to offer to its president SAR Lalla Hasnaa, princess of Morocco.

What are your sources of inspiration?

I draw my inspiration from my travels. I draw above all cities that I love.

My architecture studies have made me sensitive to the quality of urban spaces and public places, I like to tell a city through its atmospheres, I try to capture them. Everything is played out in details, to cite a few examples, in Promenade dans Nîmes we find hip-hop dancers in front of the Carré d'Art, in Promenade dans Montpellier we can see passers-by wearing masks and people taking the tramway. These are moments of everyday life, temporal markers, that animate and make places come alive. I love it when people tell me that they find the city of their childhood, or the city they love, through my drawings.

What do you need to create?

A mechanical pencil, an eraser, a sketchbook, watercolor squares, and a computer to view photos I have taken that serve as a support for my inspiration.

What technique do you use and why?

I do watercolor drawing. Drawing is very present in my work.

During my studies I was taught to build perspective, it is a kind of deformation, I like to leave construction lines. I like to leave construction lines, and then I add touches of color.

When we think of watercolor, we often have image of old paintings of lavender fields, I wanted to place it in a more current context and use to break this old-fashioned image. Moreover, watercolor is easy to use, it allows me to bring out the contrasts of my drawings, to bring color in a fluid way without having a certain opacity that would mask the features of the drawing, one can leave "blanks" in the creations more easily than with other colorization techniques.


Let's stay on watercolor technique with the work of artist Patrice Vermeille who is part of the catalog of Artothèque Sud.

He was born in 1937, originally from Nancy, he has lived in Montpellier since 1965, where he was a professor of Fine Arts. His watercolors and acrylics highlighted with pencil in a harmony of gray and earth color are inspired by techniques of printmaking and digital imaging.

His technique and use of watercolor is completely different from Stella Falduto's, highlighting multiple possibilities that this product offers. His work entitled Three is done in pencil, watercolor and airbrush.

He has also published a notebook, entitled Permis de déborder, it is a coloring book made during the exhibition of his prints at the Maison de la gravure méditerranée in 2008.


What is the creative process for a notebook?

What is the creative process for a notebook?

I take my time for each of my creations.

First of all, I need to have the idea of the city I want to illustrate. Then there is the work of research and location on internet, I always learn about the city and places that are essential or emblematic.

Then comes the location scouting to take photos that will serve as a support. I try to go over several periods in order to immortalize key moments in city's life. For Arles for example, I chose the event of election of the queen of Arles, which takes place only every three years. For the current project, which will probably be about the city of Avignon, it will certainly be a location during Avignon's Festival.

Then comes the creation of plates and colorization, it takes about ten hours per plate over several days. I like to take my time, it allows me to integrate certain details that I had not thought of at beginning and to have a more concrete visual of what the "finished product" will look like.

It takes about 9 months from the emergence of the idea to the finalization of the booklet.

But it doesn't stop there. I am a self-publisher, so the next step is the commercial part, contacting printer and then tourist offices, bookshops, etc.

Tell us about your workshop...

Strictly speaking, I don't have a workshop. It is rather a corner of a table, a desk on which I can "spread out".

Where can we discover your creations?

Over time, I realized that it worked better to offer them in the cities that were dedicated to them. They can be found in bookstores, tourist offices, etc. of the city illustrated by the notebook. You can also find them on my online sales space on the Unik website. You can also follow me on social networks, Facebook and Instagram, where I regularly post my work and excursions.


Photos crédits :

© Christophe Marcouly and Ozan Sezguin - Photo of artwork Trois by Patrice Vermeille.

© Midi libre - Photo portrait of Patrice Vermeille

© Maison de la gravure Méditerranée - Permis de déborder photos

© Stella Falduto - For all photos of interview with Stella Falduto


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