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An Interview with Cathy Delanssay

In the midst of quarantined summer, I discovered (or perhaps rediscovered) a love of paper dolls, specifically articulated paper dolls. In one of my many Etsy searches for DIY paper dolls, I came across the work of Cathy Delanssay. Her pastel-haired, bright-eyed, Blythe doll reminiscent creations (unsurprisingly) immediately piqued my interest, and I wound up purchasing the most darling little mermaid paper doll from her shop; it's sitting above me as a write this.

Since then, I've only become even more obsessed with her delectable work. Her illustrations each have an inimitable style but never feel repetitive of each other. Some of her art feels delicate and graceful, all gossamer wings and fairy whispers. Other pieces feel sensual and rich, like red silk and the crunch of dark chocolate. But all of it draws on feminine power-- whether it's the power of being gentle or the power of being bold. What I most to is how she is able to so beautifully articulate different aspects of her multifaceted female identity through her art.

What work are you most proud of?

Certainly my watercolor works, because with them, I'm really myself. But I'm also proud of my work about fairies (my new book came out on October 28 through Pygmalion publisher in France).

Who are your inspirations and what lessons have they taught you?

Many artists inspire me, mostly from the Art Deco period, I really love that time! But also, I am inspired by decorations, my travels, history.. many things. In fact, it depends on what I have to draw. It gives me motivation when I see a painting I love.

How would you describe your creative process?

First, [it always starts] in my head. [I] need to think about the idea. Sometimes, it doesn't want to come so I wait and do something else. Sometimes, idea comes to me immediately. Then I make a sketch, waiting a little while to have a better opinion about my drawing, and finally [I start] coloring the illustration.

What’s your fondest memory?

I have so many.. I can't choose, but I want to say my first trip in Japan ♥

What’s been the most transformative experience of your life?

In fact, it is a personal story, but I can say I discovered myself time after time since this story.

How has your work changed over time?

Well, I really trust myself more, less fears. I accept most of the things I was afraid of in the past. Now, I'm just myself with my work, and my drawings are more natural.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Exactly the same [as my answer to the last question], don't be afraid, leave your fears and trust on yourself.


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