LIFE IS AN ART: MEET THE ARTIST JESSICA VALOISE - PART 2
"Difficult roads often lead to
What were the most important hardships you overcame to get to where you are now?
Comments here and there that can easily discourage… For example, ‘’ But what you do isn’t really original, it doesn’t stand out from what others do, why would you make a difference, you really think that succeeding is for everyone, I personally think it’s for the elite and that we are not part of that world, you dream too much, dreams are for children, you need to grow up, we can’t always do what we what we want in life... ‘’ etc. Mainly at the beginning, when I didn’t exactly know what I wanted to do besides be free, I got quite a few remarks like, ‘’ that’s not how life is, you believe in fairy tales, you are spoiled rotten ‘’ etc. I needed to overcome all that before getting to where I am now, being able to block those comments and really believe in myself. And most of all, I needed to avoid falling into the trap of doing something to prove them all wrong… It’s not particularly easy.
Then there’s my shyness and my introversion. It’s sort of my everyday struggle, it takes a lot of effort. It’s not easy and it takes a lot of motivation and constant reminding of why we do what we do…Besides, I go out a lot less than before because all the energy I put in socializing for my art leaves me with none for my personal life.
And then there is the temptation of just dropping everything when things do not work out, a stubborn temptation. Nevertheless, we quickly come to realize that we aren’t doing this for it to work, were doing it because we don’t have a choice and because it is stronger than us.
How do you get through a rough period? What is your mental/spiritual remedy to get through those obstacles?
Though rough times are breeding grounds for creativity, they are the moments I hate the most. The first thing I do is make sure I am not ‘’pms-ing’’. If it is the case, then I don’t pay attention and I let it pass. If it’s not the case, then I try to understand what is going on. I write down what I’m feeling to find the reason; I speak to my close friends, I increase my physical activity as well as my sleep, I go dancing to release the pressure, I listen to mantras and music at higher frequencies, I meditate, I light candles and incense, I do facials, I re-watch episodes of ‘Sex and the City’… I take care of myself without getting distracted, it is important to face what is going on rather than ignore it, even though, in the eyes of others, ‘’we have everything we need to be happy ‘’. What we feel is what we feel and we need to face it so as to not have it drag us down for the rest of our lives. Sometimes the unconscious wounds resurface, just like that, out of nowhere, and they need to be identified and tended to, this is really important. At the same time, one must know when to take a step back, trust life and tell ourselves that what we come across is part of our evolution. It also helps see the light at the end of the tunnel.
How do you deal with people's negativity?
When it is possible, by completely deleting them from my life, it is as simple as that. When it’s not possible, which is quite rare, I create a mental shield so that it doesn’t get to me. The key, which works both for negativity and positivity, is not to take it personally. When someone is negative, it is because they are dealing with their own anger and frustration, so there is no reason for it to get to you.
You have your own custom t-shirt line. Define your style.
Aside from my influences, I think that I have a style that mixes classic with modern. In fact, it is often what the critics say and I think it’s exactly that.
You are French and Caribbean from Martinique. How does your ethnicity influence your life, style and inspiration?
My mixed origins have clearly influenced my way of life and my taste, but not really more than that. For white people, I am not white and for black people I am not black, so the fact that I was never associated with either of these groups made me feel free to be who I desired, free from ethnic codes. They can say I am not a real white person because I don’t enjoy wine or cheese or that I am not really a black person because I do not speak creole or like dancehall or zouk. I am not really into hip-hop more than I am into classical music, no more into Mondrian than JonOne, no more Descartes than Freud. I don’t have that notion of cultural separation that categorizes us by the colour of our skin and our geographic location. I am not dependant on my skin colour or my background. Of course, my background is marked in my genes and in my DNA but I am not restricted; I have a global vision that is ever-moving and ever evolving with cultures. Therefore, I integrate in myself everything that speaks to me, whether it comes from what my parents taught me or what I’ve seen in India, in Salvador de Bahia, or even in Norway. What resonates inside of us goes way beyond our ethnic background, its much bigger than that. It comes out a lot through my fashion style, for example, right now, as I am answering this question, I am wearing a pair of Nike Air Force One, classic modern, with a loose pair of elephant print trousers bought in Thailand, often worn by hippies, a crop top generally worn with a more pop style and an afro. I don’t identify myself with one culture in particular, but with many at the same time.
Who are your inspirational icons?
Alicia Keys, John Lennon, Joey Starr, Che Guevara, Sylvain Tesson, Serge Gainsbourg, Bob Marley, Gaspard Proust, Orelsan, Dieudonné, Kemi Seba, Matthieu Longatte, Clémentine Célarié, Abd Al Malik, Mouloud Achour, Ina Mihalache, Elizabeth Gilbert, Corine Sombrun, Angela Davis, Nina Simone, André Brugiroux, Steve Jobs, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cheryl Strayed, Robyn Davidson, Janis Joplin, Marina Abramovic... I am sure I am missing some.
Photographers/Artists you recommend:
The list is ongoing…so I'll privilege my friends.
Acteurs : Eddy King
Again, I am most certainly missing some people...
HOME SWEET HOME
Paris or Montreal?
Paris for its hip-hop nights. Montreal for … everything except winter.
Favourite things to do when you are off:
Laying down in the grass under the sun or in my bed watching TV series.
I am good/bad at:
I am good at creating things and helping others. I am certainly bad at social relationships and hence a very bad employee.
You explore the 4 corners of the planet whenever you have the chance, in a previous interview you said, and I quote, ‘’ it is rare that I plan my destinations more than a week in advance.’’ In general, travelling has a price and demands a lot of organization. How do you manage to choose your destination last minute? What is your average budget? Do you have one or more globetrotter secrets to share with us?
As soon as I have a little extra money, meaning more than enough after paying my bills and food, I take advantage. I always choose a sunny destination and whether I leave alone or with my travel companion , we agree on a destination together… We think of a country, we google it, we look at pictures, cost of living and then let’s go!
My budget depends on where I am going… for example, in September, I went to the French Polynesia, for about 13 days with a budget of 600 euros; last winter I went to India for 3 months, with a budget of 1400 euros. Of course, it helps to have the advantage of paying only the takes on flights. But if not, once I’m there, I do not pay for lodging, I eat locally, a lot of street food or small restaurants that don’t cost very much, when I can I cook, I buy only local produce from the markets, I take public transport or hitchhike… On top of being economical, this way of travelling allows you to really discover the local culture.
Then again, travel is my reason for living, so in my everyday life, I don’t buy things or clothes that I don’t need, I don’t spend a lot of money when I go out, and I always ride my bike when I can; I get my food from the market or the community center where food is in free distribution. Today, the only thing that costs me a lot is my housing.
Your last trip was…
India, this winter from December to march.
Your best memory
It’s always difficult to choose one, its usually moments, emotions, state of mind that leave a mark. It’s my first trip to Africa in 2004, having met the Masaya, the full moon party eating litchis with friends on the beach of Reunion island, my arrival in Bora Bora in the cockpit of the plane, the discovery by fluke of a Hilton rooftop on top of a mountain in Thailand, a night spent in a tipi in Canada at -40-degree weather … There are way too many.
Travelling alone or with someone (or in a group). Why?
Alone, it’s simpler, and you are more free and it allows to really get in touch with yourself and with others, it pushes you to the limit and helps you get to know yourself, even though we don’t stay alone for a long time.
With someone, with Bob Lusty, or if not, to be seen… Its always good to have a reference, someone we know, with whom we can share what we go through. It also allows us to rely on someone in stressful situations.
In a group, never. Too many people to please, too many people, too much noise. On a short trip or weekend getaway, why not, but to travel, absolutely not.
Your dream destination
Antarctica, in the sense that it’s almost impossible to achieve. But if not, anywhere on the planet.
What are the hotspots in India to:
Hotel: The Kalapani guest house in Neil Island.
Restaurant: Bean Me Up, in Goa.
Spa/beauty treatment: Ashiyana, in Goa.
Club/Lounge: I didn’t go to any.
Local shop: Wednesday market, on the beach of Anjuna, in Goa. A lot of local artisans, Russian, Israeli, Belgian.
Spectacular view to take selfies: The top of the lighthouse of Chidiya Tapu in Port Blair (you are not authorized to go up there but… the view is breathtaking).
Must-see non-tourist place: Neil Island.
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.”
What is next on your bucketlist?
- Go around the world.
- Go on a sailing trip.
- Bungee jump.
✓ Publish my first book* .
*At that time Jessica was working on her first book. We are happy to announce that her book "Art is the Message" is now available! You can get it HERE.
What are your current projects?
Publish my first book actually, and start to think of my next trip.
What message would you like to pass onto the Black Milk Women?
Dare to be yourself and follow your heart.
Follow Jessica on Social Media
Thank you Jessica Valois for sharing your vision, creativity and life experience.
Interview translated by Marlena Ricciuti
Shirline is the founder of Black Milk Women. She finds inspiration in every areas of life. Creative, passionate and dreamy ... "Eat Beauty, Live Passionately and Drink Life '' is her everyday #Wordstoliveby.
Like music or romance she is old school she doesn't snap but she tweets. You can find her on twitter @ThePerfectshee
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