The Block

Interviews — 7 months ago

Charlotte Chauvin: Illustrating the 5 Senses

French-born, Brussels-based artist Charlotte Chauvin’s illustrations are shedding a soft light on the tenderness that underpins the human condition. Her hand-drawn figures twist, curve and intertwine as they explore romantic themes such as sexuality, desire and solitude.

 

Recently, we delivered a brief to Charlotte centred around the 5 senses. In response to the “5 Senses” brief, her first collection of T-shirts was created – 5 unique designs that highlight each sense. Charlotte’s minimalist style and provided the perfect vessel to communicate such a brief.

 

We spoke to Charlotte to trace her origins as an artist and find out how her art became a catharsis.

 

Charlotte’s first collection in response to our ‘5 Senses’ brief is available here.

Words
Everpress Team
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Jacky Li wears Charlotte Chauvin's '5 Senses' T-shirt
Jacky Li wears the 'Sight' T-shirt by Charlotte Chauvin

Can you tell the community a little bit about yourself?

I’m a french illustrator based In Brussels, Belgium. I studied graphic design but as I’m very bad at it, I work in a bookstore and as an illustrator instead.

Original artwork by Charlotte Chauvin
Original artwork by Charlotte Chauvin

When and why did you first start creating?

I’ve always had a lot of fun drawing and creating images. Drawing is a catharsis to me; it’s a self-therapy. It helps me to express what I can’t describe or understand at first. 8 years ago, a friend convinced me to show my creations off. Since then, it’s become a habit and a bit of an addiction (a pleasant one).

Work, create, draw every day.

Original artwork by Charlotte Chauvin
Original artwork by Charlotte Chauvin

Can you tell us about the poetic nature of your work?

My drawings are about love, relationships, erotica, distance and solitude. They’re pretty romantic themes and I think that speaks to everyone. The thing is, we’re a generation that finds a lot of joy and happiness on social media which has plenty of choices all the time (Tinder, online stores, etc) and it’s exhausting. It can be hard to have real connections with others. I think my work is a kind of link with people or a way to create a link between people. I try to ask all of these questions when I draw.

Original artwork by Charlotte Chauvin
Original artwork by Charlotte Chauvin

How has your style developed over time?

My drawings used to be a lot more complex but with time they became “simpler”. Maybe it was because of laziness but then I really like refined aesthetics as well. Colouring is a real job and I’m very bad at it. One of my teachers once told me “If an image works in black and white, it will work in colour, it does not work the opposite way”.

Original artwork by Charlotte Chauvin
Original artwork by Charlotte Chauvin

You’ve created a collection of 5 T-shirts in response to a brief titled ‘5 Senses’, what’s your starting point with a brief like this?

I tried to connect a feeling with a sense, in a very straightforward & poetic way. With a basic aesthetic that people can connect to their experience.

Original artwork by Charlotte Chauvin
Original artwork by Charlotte Chauvin

You can’t establish yourself if you are hiding your work

Can you give some detail about how each T-shirt embodies its accompanied sense?

Taste – the memory of a kiss. Sight – looking at someone you like. Touch – hold hands with someone for support. Hearing – a caring and attentive ear. Smell – the perfume of someone you like.

Charlotte Chauvin's '5 Senses' T-shirt designs
Charlotte Chauvin’s ‘5 Senses’ T-shirt designs

How has the process of designing for a T-shirt differed from your usual output?

I had to think about what people would like to wear! It’s a  different approach than designing for an Instagram post. 

What 3 tips would you give to other illustrators trying to establish themselves in the creative industry?

Work, create, draw every day. Even if you are not convinced by your work. Don’t be afraid to show your creations. You can’t establish yourself if you are hiding your work. Ask others for advice and look at how everything is working and why. Question why your work is really important. Make sure your English is corrected by friends before answering interviews. It’s more credible if you are French.

Original artwork by Charlotte Chauvin
Original artwork by Charlotte Chauvin

Charlotte’s first collection of T-shirts, designed in response to our ‘5 Senses’ brief is available here.