i-D and Boucheron asked four artists to take a self portrait.
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Painters, poets and sculptors, Inès, Bianca, Apolonia and Jan create vivid pictures of life as artists in 2017.
Haïku-shaped poems, mystical pop ballads, oil-brushed portraits, chalk drawings and stolen snapshots, later to be reincarnated. A prolific artist irl, the social media shy Inès Di Folco uses all mediums and multiplies avatars. Her art defies categories but responds to one rule; that of urgency. A Parisian Beaux-Arts student, the young french artist draws inspiration from blues and pop music to historical myths. Her work is brutal and poetic, and connects her story with history. For i-D and Boucheron, Inès Di Folco accepted to engage in a little self-portrait exercise.
Inès, where do you come from and what’s your story?
Growing up, I had no pressure about building up a career. I’m lucky for that and I’m conscious of it. My family taught me how to be eccentric. I’ve cherished other people's secrets since childhood: strangers, children, friends and family members. They take different forms and metamorphose continually: in the shape of poems, drawings, paintings, songs... I cherish historical legends as wells as personal secrets from my childhood best friends.
Do you consider your work fictionalised autobiography ?
I don’t think so. Though some people think they can recognise me in a drawing. In one of the paintings in which someone thought they could see me, I was trying to capture the concept of waiting. It was an homage to blues, the ultimate soundtrack for survival, a sound born out of suffering,and the creativity it generates. When I was working on that painting I was listening to a specific song that takes me back to my teenage years, Delia by Blind Willy Mctell, a blues singers who lost his sight. His lyrics communicate what he feels but can’t see I painted that canvas in honour of him.
Where does your desire to create come from?
It stems from urgency. I paint to free myself, to relieve myself of something.
What are your favourite materials and formats?
I’ve gotten used to creating with anything that comes my way. I barely buy anything. I recycle materials from friends, or find them in the street. Once, during an art show organised by the Beaux-Arts, I presented my first oil paintings, and I couldn’t resist adding some charcoal, lines of pen... that approach helped me demystifying the format, by intertwining different methods..
What type of art do you cherish most?
Anything unprocessed is very special to me. In art as well as in life. Take the the Prussian Blue pigment, for example. You can work it as much as you like, but you’ll never manage to regain the brightness of its powder form. Each molecule reflects the light and and gives the powder a velvet-like aspect. It’s a bit like the wing of a butterfly: if you touch it, you lose the spark.
Can you tell us a bit about the self-portrait that you’ve taken for i-D and Boucheron?
It’s a format I’m not really used to yet. The photograph was very beautiful, and I wanted my portrait to be wild. I tried several takes that I didn’t like. Then suddenly, I went into a sort of hypnosis-like state, and I forgot everything: the format, the structures, any sense of fear. This portrait embodies a rebirth period in myself, a new phase. I wanted to evoke the power of being a woman. What it is to be a woman being fully conscious of what you want and what you can do. Whether people like it or not.
In a time where artworks are shared and infinitely reproduced on Instagram, how do you use social media?
No selfies, no smartphone and no Instagram. I never felt the need to use them.
What do you dream of doing?
My dream is to start a publishing house for female writers. And if men want to be published through it, it’ll have to be under their mother's last names.
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