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Juliette Dumas

French artist Juliette Dumas, shares in her work Love, Resilience and Hope. Her life-size Whale Fluke Paintings are a testimony of her pledge: to create art for Planet Earth...

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Season 1 · Ecological Artist

Juliette Dumas

The sole artist in her family, Juliette attended art school in France and at the celebrated Art Institute of Chicago in the US. She was introduced to conceptual art and started to infuse deeper meaning and messages into her work. After her first solo shows in NY and in Germany, featuring ephemeral installations portraying environmental issues, Juliette realized that she had been making art infused with anxious energy. Those early works conveyed messages of fear, urgency, and destruction. That realization marked a shift in her creative process. From then on, Juliette wanted to share “love, resilience, and hope, which are more powerful than destruction and fear.”

French artist Juliette Dumas, shares in her work Love, Resilience and Hope. Her life-size Whale Fluke Paintings are a testimony of her pledge: to create art for Planet Earth...

With her Whale Fluke Paintings, French Artist Juliette Dumas offers a tribute to Whales for their important role in our ecosystem. The fluke is the end of the whale’s tail, which is as unique to each whale as are fingerprints to humans. The fluke can record the whale’s age, injuries, accidents and experiences through its scars. By painting with clay and then sculpting and carving her surfaces, Dumas re-creates these markings, visualizing an imprint of the fluke that carries a life story with it.

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For artist Juliette Dumas, the whales are a powerful incarnation of love on our planet; “they make your heart grow bigger.” With each carve, stroke, and chisel, Juliette tells her tale, growing closer to the magical creatures that sparked her love for environmentalism and the high vibrations that ground her to Mother Earth.

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Each one of Juliette’s life-size paintings is a true journey that begins with a clear vision, followed by lengthy research and preparation steps that culminate in the studio. Her Whale Fluke paintings began with a definitive icon and shape – but, in those early stages, the creation process was ages away. After two years of researching the whales’ lives and behaviors, she developed different methods of fashioning the layers of clay and pigments on canvas, dampening the surface, carving, painting, sculpting, and repeating for weeks. Though the process is all-encompassing and oftentimes arduous, the constant trial-and-error guided her brush in the right direction, greater than herself.

For instance, she uses ancient techniques and raw pigments as an alternative to the plastic-filled industry paints. She lives by the message her pieces convey. Her life is her message, and she says, “If my message is against industrial whaling, I can’t be using industrial paint.”

With her Whale Fluke Paintings, each line and etching plays a role in a greater story, where parallel lines may indicate a shark attack or contact with an Arctic ice sheet. She often works from smaller pieces and spends time changing their attributes and colors to synthesize them into larger, more defined works. Responses to Juliette’s works have been profound. In fact, one woman at a show told Juliette that she could hear her paintings, highlighting the integration process that allows her to create pieces that stretch far beyond immediate sensory perception. In reflecting on her creative process, Juliette says, “You spend all of this time preparing, and when people love and respond to your work, it means the world.”

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