INTERVIEW: REINE PARADIS

 

Reine Paradis burst onto the art scene with her “Jungle” photo series: a fascinating showcase of a chromatic world that blurs the line between reality and construct. From its conceptual stage, to its multi-disciplinary execution, the project’s roll-out is captivating from start to finish, and promises a very bright future for this visionary artist. 

Through my work I create a new world that exists in-between reality and imagination, a mysterious place where anything is possible, like a jungle.

You have an interesting name. It means “Queen Paradise” in French. What is paradise for you as an artist?

To me paradise is to have the freedom to create my own universe and to be able to share it with the world so others can be part of it.

 

If you were the Queen of Paradise, what would be the three qualities someone would need to get in and why?

Awareness, honesty and loyalty because I believe they are essential qualities that humans should acquire in their lives in order to create a better world.

 

What was the inspiration behind your award-winning photo series “Jungle”? 

I started working on my Jungle photo series when I moved to Los Angeles in 2012. I was very inspired by my new surroundings and felt very inspired by the intensity of the natural light which is very different from the one I was used to in Europe.

 

Why the title “Jungle”?

Through my work I create a new world that exists in-between reality and imagination, a mysterious place where anything is possible, like a jungle. 

 

In “Jungle”, the colors are so vivid, and yet the scenery feels desolate and frigid. How come?

In my work everything imposed itself naturally. I have always loved intense colors and I am naturally drawn to simple shapes, lines, minimal architecture and geometric shapes. The combination of the two creates a world that looks surreal, as if you don’t know if it’s real or not.

 

Your pre-production is pretty extensive and includes many disciplines like painting, origami and couture. Any other hidden talents?

Along side my photo series I am working on a new project that will comprise different installations. I will be exhibiting the first one called “Golden Pineapple” during my solo show on September 7th in Denver, Colorado.

 

There’s a digital aesthetic to your photographs and yet your process is very hands-on. What is your take on digital art?

Yes, for each scene my process is very hands-on however I believe digital photography is the only way for me to fully create the vision I have.

 

How does it feel, after all the hard work, once you’ve finally captured it all in a photograph?

It's my favorite part of the process. With time, what I learned is that the more I stay close to my initial vision the better the image will be.

What sort of narratives inspire you the most? 

All my projects question reality, so I think everything that surrounds me is a source of inspiration. I am very inspired by colors, the light in California and locations. Almost all the concepts for my images emerge from at least one of the three.

 

What sort of narratives inspires you the most? 

All my projects question reality, so I think everything that surrounds me is a source of inspiration. I am very inspired by colors, the light in California and locations. Almost all the concepts for my images emerge from at least one of the three.

 

You put yourself in your photographs and yet you rarely show your face. How come?

The fact that I stage myself in my work adds a performance dimension, which is essential. It is a necessity for me to “live" the scene in order to transmit the original vision completely. In some of the images you can see my face like in “Twins” or “ Empty Pool” but it’s true that in the series my face is not the main focus, I feel I can express more feelings through my body as a whole. 

 

What is it about the colors blue and orange that makes you identify with them so much?

I am very sensitive to colors and especially bright colors. Since I can remember I have always been drawn to the Klein Blue, so it was natural for me to use this color for this series. I use the blue for the natural elements in my images like the skies, the lake and the grass, and the bright orange is used for everything that belongs to the world I create which interacts with the real world; like the origamis, the props and the costumes.

 

What’s next for Reine Paradis?

I have two upcoming exhibitions before the end of the year: one in Denver, Colorado in September and one during Art Basel in Miami, Florida in December.

I am working on my next photo series as well as developing new installations that are part of a lifelong project “Terre Paradis”. 

 

 

 

INTERVIEWED BY RALPH ARIDA

PhotographyELI REZKALLAH