Taking from the past and present, Paris-based artist and designer Léa Augereau highlights commanding and confident female figures in her work.
Posed in front of a canvas next to an ashtray and coffee mug sat on the nearby table with the calming sound of Egyptian jazz faintly playing in the background, Léa Augereau finds her happy place.
The prolific Parisian artist is just 29 years old, but she’s already made a name for herself as a painter. Through her use of block colours, design cues and vibrant patterning, Léa’s work has a signature calming effect that draws from past and present life. With a hint of Matisse and maybe a bit of Rousseau, her figurative portraiture has come to be known for the depictions a commanding female figure that mix strong women, societal expectations and individuality.
“For me, a strong woman is a female who made her life how she wanted and not by following the rules of patriarchy,” Augereau explains. “They’re the kind of women who inspire me.”
For Léa, however, it goes far beyond a relatable cause. She highlights what she calls the “modern woman,” sometimes depicted posing next to a bong, drinking alcohol or in other leisure situations.
“I think in the future we should be free of all stereotypes,” she continues. “I have grown up surrounded by women like that and they’re my example, my inspiration. I’m a feminist, but firstly a humanist.”
From the subtle cues throughout the interior design to the personality of her depicted heroines, Léa also concedes that classic European cinema is a driving influence in her visual form. Between old French, Italian and Spanish films, Léa channels her own feelings and experiences into visual depictions and colours across the canvas.
Elsewhere the seaside views and natural beauty of her hometown La Rochelle play an important role in the back of her mind, while the lively nature of human society and interaction found in Paris has its own place. While she certainly strives to inspire and shatter stereotypes through her art, Léa’s images contain an essence of uniqueness and urgency.
“In France, we are late when it comes to a lot of social subjects,” she admits. “That tempts you to make things move for yourself, even if sometimes it’s demotivating.”
After carving out her own career in the art world, Léa perhaps herself is a shining example of the women she strives to depict in her painting. In addition to painting, she’s also a designer with her own fashion label. On the surface, it’s a logical step for somebody with a background in painting, art and design as Augereau, but she admits it was more of a natural progression, rather than a conscious decision.
She’s begun to intertwine her painting into fashion. After working a few years in clothing production, she began experimenting with different techniques of manufacturing and painting the clothing. Ethereal “It seems me that it can be beautiful, and also mix my two passions,” she says. Most recently, Léa has taken her expressions and conveying them onto blankets as another way of mixing art and fabric.
Whatever the medium may be, Léa strives to mix her passions to create a form of expression that depicts the modern woman confident and alive.
Words by Braeden Alexander – Discover Léa Augereau’s work here.