The art of lino-carving. An interview with Léa Marchal

Léa Marchal is a French artist based in Montreuil. Fascinated by the human body, she has formulated a personal artistic language devoted to the deconstruction of the beauty stereotypes. Her harmonious creations are and ode the female body and its powerful expressivity.

The artist Léa Marchal, © Julia Simone.

We use to start from the beginning…. Tell us about your relationship with art. What is art for you?

I have always been attracted by art in its broadest sense. In the past, my father used to paint a lot and did few exhibitions. I guess he transmitted me his passion for art to me. I have always wanted him to teach me how to draw, which is my biggest regret. I attended drawing classes when I was a teenager to become a jeweler. But then I have changed my mind and decided to study German, which is also one of my interests. At the university, I have studied German and art history to work in the cultural field. Moreover, I have worked in two French museums. I am currently working at a university, which is specialized in art history and museology. One year ago, I wanted to try engraving, but I didn’t know which kind. A friend told me about linocut. From the very beginning, I have enjoyed this technique, and here I am. Considering this I guess I can say I have always been closed to art.

Who are your biggest influences?

Since my teenage years, I enjoy the cubism and expressionism movements. During my studies, I have discovered the German expressionism and especially the movement called “Die Brücke”, which I guess influences me; What is funny is that a lot of people directly think about Matisse when they see my art. I do like Matisse, but I don’t feel influenced by him. I guess it’s because of the blue color. I am also interested in non-Western arts as well as the classical sculpture and enjoy mixing these two influences.

What is the hardest part of creating an artwork?

My process of creation needs a lot of time and I wish I had more time to draw because it is a really important part of my process. I like to draw my ideas first as a basis and then rework them. The hardest part of creation artwork for me is to draw my ideas on paper and to be satisfied with them.

What’s your work-day like?

As I have said, lino cutting is a long process. First of all, I draw a lot to be satisfied with my pattern. After that, I reproduce my drawing on the lino block. And then the real fun begins I can start to engrave on the block, which is my favorite part of the process. Engraving is a sort of meditation, a self-therapy, which allows me to relax, express my creativity, and above all to reinvent myself through a new form of expression.

How important are titles to your paintings?

Let me laugh! In the beginning, I had some difficulties to find titles and I am still struggling with this part of my work. I think a piece of arts doesn’t really need a title except for abstract art? You just need time to look at it and imagine the story behind it. It is like in a museum: you know you have all the time labels next to the pieces of art. A lot of people just read them without really taking the time to look at the piece, observe the technique, and what they feel in front of it.

What is your opinion about the future of art?

I think galleries, art center and museums have no longer the monopoly to show artists and their works. The rules of the game are changing if I may say so. With new technologies, internet and we see it especially with social networks as Instagram, art is spreading like any other content. These new virtual spaces are building communities and are favorable to develop and show art to a global audience, which is something positive and especially today during the coronavirus crisis.