“For my greatest triumph,
will always be to blossom in every mind,
just by simply being who I am.”
“Whenever I paint, wherever I am.
It spreads within my vein, makes my heart beat, caresses my back, and heats my voice: being who I am. Call it a capacity, label it my essence, try to catch it: as the sun nourishes your soul, and the birds keep floating above you, just like in the most fantastic setting, I am unfolding. Something both fantastic and so normal, such as the minutes soon becoming hours offering us a new day, a new canvas to transform.
My art, my poise, my salt, my laughter, my poetry, my teeth, my sensuality, my sweat, the blink of my eyes, and all the new colors I discover every second.
I am an artist stuck in a beautifully chaotic whirlwind, as my greatest work of art is myself.
However, I do not think that I play a character. I do not want to copy anything, I let every mental instrument down, every trope and scheme, as I refuse to be stuck in a maze cultivated by nonsensical forces.
If I must recognize that armors made of fiction and unrealness were necessary to survive, I do it by coming up with the terms that I have to copy codes imposed on myself. However, seeing the characters born from my brush, I wonder: what nourishes the other? Inventions or reality?
Soaked with art, still overwhelmed by those emotions splashed on film rolls, I am flooded with fiction. Or is this fantasy a mere watery reflection of my reality?
In character’s dimples or landscapes’ rifts, in the great moments of nothing when everything is felt, in the depth of their smiles, or the pits of mountains, I feel home in every spine and contour: I find myself rather than technique, it is the beauty of what we call life.
But what it is, actually? What is the raw material of this magnificence substance from where I, you, and they come from?
That sense of relief after a headache, that moment of silence you are experiencing in a quiet park, these shouts at a club when hearing your favorite song, these thorns of that rose making your fingers bleed, that moment when our eyes are locked, gazing at each other, the sweet bitterness of nostalgia, popping like a sour bubble gum: I am everywhere. I cannot be touched, only experienced. I am my everything. I just hope for you that you are as natural as I am, when not only existing but living.
If I urge you to live fully, and deeply, sometimes I know we need to take breaks to admire the process and enjoy this real-life show.
Such as the countless forces, oddities, energies, and patterns that constitute our universe, I cannot be contained within a few lines, a frame, or the echo of a song. Come closer, please, you will significantly feel my vibes that fortunately could hurry you to free yourself from everything you have poorly repeated, as unique gems are the most precious ones. And if it does not happen, it still counts, to me.
Cold’n’hot, such as fresh drops dripping on shy buds at dawn, I become.”
Explanation of the series
Cold’n’hot is an art series centered on model, artist, and art educator, Audrey Grison @audreytheartist.
At first, we envisioned the project as an allegory of anger and were aiming to show that this emotion is complex, mirroring and connected to many other sensory channels, and part of a large spectrum of deep feelings. However, as we are willing to present Audrey’s raw and profound personality, we opted to present her character as a whole, with many more nuances, and from the blueprint of a small painting, we created a huge fresco.
Deeply rooted in the motions, tensions, and systemic occurrences of natural elements, Cold’n’hot is a circular transformation that can be read from the end to the beginning.
Cold’n’hot includes a series of mixed media photographs dedicated to the four natural elements, as Audrey, through her intense character and sharp personality, embodies their spectacular addition.
L’eau is a series of mixed media photographs with portraits of Audrey printed on tracing paper, placed in plastic pouches where water was poured and petals incorporated. The plastic pouches were then frozen. When placed under the Sun, the light reflections of the plastic and the ice starting to melt might remind us of the water’s light reflections.
Le Feu is a series of mixed media photographs with printed portraits of Audrey that were covered with melted crayons. The huge organic red shapes symbolize flames and the unpredictability of fire.
L’air is a series of mixed media photographs with superimposed portraits of Audrey that were printed on tracing paper. The overlaying represents the power of the air: how with the push and pull forces of the wind, some elements are combined, all together.
La Terre is a series of mixed media photographs with portraits of Audrey printed on plantable paper with flowers placed on the top. It is an organic short series showing the extraordinary phenomena happening in the soil, with deep roots digging the Earth little by little.
In the first part of the digital series, Audrey appears like a single flower bud that has just been plucked out of a garden. She is isolated, and observed, alone, against a white backdrop.
This study against a clear background alludes to botanist books presenting plates of extensive floral charts, studied one by one.
Our color palette is warm, with a special heat composed of red lipstick applied by makeup artist Candice Soukhavong, cherry tulle, and neon and golden pieces of jewelry. Though the closeups only lead us to focus on these pop colors, they all are bland and appear to be like the Sun under clouds of grey. The lack of exposure impacts the original aspect of the red hues and shades, and a thin layer, like a blur curtain, blocks the view. This paradox between the natural color of the components of the photograph and their editing conveys an impression of frustration, the central subject matter of this first part.
A topic materialized and developed through Audrey’s emotions and expressions, readable as the most interesting book ever written. With an air of impatience, she stares at her jewels, handmade creations made by Toulouse designer Marie Carrère of Maison Kurage. Audrey shows her restlessness not only to perform her job as a model and artist but to expand and grow. Just like flamboyant buds after a cold season, waiting to blossom.
Indeed, the jewels, which were firstly toys that a cheeky child would use while hopelessly trying to spend time, or a poet whose mind would wander through the reflections of the heart-shaped pieces, become objects to release herself, like shackles she would destroy.
Audrey, in this first part, is framed through close-ups and kept. She wants to change the situation, or maybe to escape boredom, maybe move, maybe grow, the viewer doesn’t know. What is certain is the switch in the relation of authority with the camera, that is gazing at her. And suddenly, she closes her eyes and breaks the circle.
In the second part of the digital series, Audrey falls asleep and seems to indicate to the viewer that, due to her relationship with the camera and position, she is tamed and gives up. What a lure.
Just like we would love to smell the perfume of a fresh flower, we bend over her in a series of high-angle shots, just to admire her wonder. Welcoming us directly into the core of her flower, between petals of tulle, she has us by the throat. While she gazes at us, she provokes a moment of intimacy and confrontation, though she actually doesn’t care as she is just here to grow and naturally does it. The red tulle encircling her can be labeled whatever the viewer wants: a cocoon, a safe space, or Audrey’s vibrancy striking you. Such as the energy that she has injected into the series, the colors become warmer and more aggressive.
Audrey, then, takes the bulls by the horns and transforms herself, and carries us with her into a luxuriant place. We take a few steps from her, to admire nature. Nature, that shot after shot is revealed, and such as the green scenery taking more and more space through each shot, Audrey’s power is expanding, like the most beautiful rose of a garden.
The setting and our ability to admire it symbolize what has always been there: an organic beauty, that when we tried to label it, was just digging its roots deeper in the ground, to blossom, and so is Audrey. The more distance we take, the more her petals grow, and the more room she takes, wherever her eyes go. Little by little, we admire her as a whole, an entity with a beautiful organically dyed dress by l’Atelier Maison (Toulouse, France).
The white backdrop shows her taste for drama and staging. In the first part, its use through close-ups was a means to enhance Audrey’s isolation, and now it is just a prop that she uses as she wishes.
The passage from a scrutinization and a dissection in the first part to a full admiration in the second sequence is part of the evolution between Audrey and the viewer. Like the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, the viewer is a spectator when facing Audrey that calls the tune in the series.
We are observing her universe, the one that she is creating. The volume around her is developing.
Wherever Audrey goes, she makes something and performs. It tackles the dichotomy between reality and fiction.
The different participants of the series
Cold’n’hot took place in the Natural History Museum of Toulouse @museumtoulouse (Southern France) and the garden of Musée George Labit in Toulouse @museegeorgeslabit (Southern France) as well.
Faiza Berg @fai_berg – Assistant
As Audrey’s care assistant during the photo shoot, Faiza was involved to the fullest extent possible. She helped us to create a beautiful setting in the museums and managed to transform our vision into a reality by making sure that our scenery was comfortable and practical for Audrey. A true second fiddle, she constructed our visual story by giving us valuable arguments, leading us to materialize a sensible, coherent tale, one whose details are greatly perceptible. There is indeed a touch of Faiza’s sensitivity and cheekiness in Cold’n’hot.
She helped Audrey with her poses, changed the different chairs we used, and ensured that Audrey’s character on screen corresponds to the artist’s spirit and stamina, as the principal topic of this editorial is only Audrey Grison.
A true nature lover, she enjoyed this first unique experience in the quiet Natural History Museum and the Musée George Labit of Toulouse.
Candice Soukhavong @candicesoukhavong – Makeup artist
A former nurse and now a makeup artist, the values that were necessarily part of her job are present in her professional artistic practice. She always takes great care of the models’ faces, and delicately manages to create characters from her brushes, gloss, and light pigments. She gave us her testimony concerning the Cold’n’hot experience.
“If this life is just like a big game, it is so much worth it. It offers me incredible moments, thanks to my job as a makeup artist: a private visit to these beautiful museums full of elements from our past that blow my mind, as if I was just five years old. And then, I enter: it is my time to focus and act. I have to enhance the beauty of this hell of a woman, who is so magnetic, charismatic, with over-powerful instincts that she manages to fully spread into her art. While gazing at you, she scans you, and then, you know that she knows: she hears you, she understands you, and she gets you. So, for these two totally different types of makeup, I give myself a mission: beautifully showing her fine features and prettifying them. I tame the tear that beads on her cheek, to show her power. And then, there is the meeting with Marie, with her camera in her hand. She has immersed herself within this rich setting and invites us into her small world behind her lens. We have a sneak peek of the result on her small camera’s screen, and I am already hooked by the colors, makeup, staging, and the story Audrey and she have decided to write together. The photographs are raw, the colors are beautiful, and the atmosphere is beautiful and simple. No need to add something more here, I live in the present moment, as it happens and when I experience it. In the end, I am looking forward to seeing the results of this project, and take this beautiful tableau with me, as these two beautiful persons carry you with them, in their human and artistic world that we all need today”
Marie Melis @danslateliermaison – Natural dyer
Marie Melis is a French designer, florist, and textile colorist.
Starting with onion peels as her raw material, she began to learn the technique of natural dyeing a few years ago in her kitchen in Toulouse (southern France). Alongside her studies as a florist, she perfected her knowledge about the natural chemical processes of plants and flowers, both as scientific objects and primal matters of an artistic approach. Now the owner of her studio and educator, she can teach her meticulous method and share her expertise with any person looking for natural and economical alternatives within the fashion industry.
Marie can transform a wide range of items: from a hanging decorating a wall to your go-to purse, all made with old pieces of fabric (hers or her customers’) that she organically dyes. As she said: “we can make everything with fabrics, peels, and petals.”
She pays a lot of attention to textures and colors, and her environmental footprint as well. This is why she uses wilted vegetable peels and withered petals as her only ingredients for her dying process.
Mainly inspired by the sky, the uncanny shapes of clouds, and mind-blowing natural colors, Marie is always deeply involved and committed to any fashion editorial. She must find local made-to-be-thrown-away ingredients whose pigments enhance a particular piece of clothing, central to an editorial.
For Cold’n’hot, Marie managed to fully color a white dress in old pink, only using madder roots. The fully pink-colored garment was the core of Audrey’s transformation when showing her true unapologetic self, like the ovary of a flower.
Marie Carrère @maisonkurage – Jewelry designer
Formerly one of the most prominent florists in Toulouse, Marie Carrère has decided to dedicate her career to her brand, Maison Kurage. Maison Kurage is the jewel counterpart of La Fleur de Chardon (her former floral workshop), which allows her to be much freer, as she doesn’t follow any aesthetic rules concerning her designs.
The central theme comes from her mind and her experiences as a florist. She launched her brands with a major masterstroke, deeply connected with her former occupation: transparent pieces of jewelry with inlays of petals and gold plates. She indeed creates harmony between gold leaves with precious flowers’ petals, captures them into resin, and thus creates jewels dedicated to every person, as each piece represents a gilded moment frozen in time, each movement elegantly and eternally anchored within her customers’ lives. These are ornaments, evocations of modern art, or timeless gifts that should be transmitted.
Maison Kurage represents a creative mind that has expressed itself and continues to do so.
As a florist, Marie created soft touches of gracefulness in her balance between her chosen flowers in her bouquets, whatever the smoothness, roughness, and fragile hue of her components, she manufactured small echoes between her flowery elements. A willingness that is present in the expansion of her jewelry range, as her design process, only in sync with her imaginative spirit, is now developed between golden chains and small pearls.
In the editorial Cold’n’hot, all the jewelry pieces are labeled Maison Kurage. In the vast collection conceived by Marie, we have found delicate details part of Audrey’s evolution: through the use of chains and numerous rings in the first part and the softer and more colorful earrings in the second part of the series.
The visual series echoes our daily construction, how we evolve little by little, through colors, darkness, light, patterns, and textures. Cold’n’hot encapsulates, through more than sixty photographs, every second of this endless rhythm, made of small revolutions, like the birth of every new nature’s creation. Rather than existing because of a finishing line, and focusing on a bigger picture, this art series represents all the details of a moment, it lets us ponder on the process of not only existing but living, each short instant becoming an incredible adventure.
Cold’n’hot is about the power of awareness, stirring up our senses, being itchy about showing yourself to the world, craving for peace, and wandering into your universe quietly, but with some strength and vigor that no one could compete against. It is about being, without mentioning flaws or perks, without being stuck between curses and blessings. Being without Manichaeism and dichotomy.
We felt like painters trying to brush out this great adventure that is life. The world is our garden, and we need more natural plants, as unique as Audrey.