Endlessly drowning in a sea of vibrant color and hopelessly lost in a surrealist fantasy are just a few of the feelings one might get while viewing a work by Reine Paradis. The French-born, now Los Angeles-based photographer uses a meticulous, multistep process to create these incredible, eye-catching works and we are pleased to present Jungle, the first of its series and title of Paradis' solo exhibition at Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles. A combination of conceptual drawings, still life photography and performance art, these works create a fantastical story within each piece and their minimal presentation manages to completely swallow you into their otherworldly narrative. Shot across the United States, Paradis is also the model for the works. We were fortunate enough to speak with the artist about her process, this series and what we can expect next. Please find our Q&A below.
The Brvtalist: Talk about the conception of the works in Jungle.
Reine Paradis: The conception of a scene starts with a location that I discover that inspires me, but it can also start with an object, a memory, a shadow, a specific lighting or a mood. Sometimes I visualize fragmented parts of a scene that will then merge together later; sometimes the scene appears clearly as a whole. Once the scene is visualized in it’s entirety, I make sketches and paint the scene. This painting will be my only reference until the picture is completed. The pre- production is an important phase because it is during this period that I hand make all the elements that will compose the scene; origami, the design of the accessories, the objects and clothing. I shoot the scene as closely as possible to my original vision.
TB: Once the scene is visualized and drawn, what comes next?
RP: I am photographed in each location with all the elements that compose the scene. For example; I am physically diving in the lake, perched on the water tank, dangling of the roof of a 7/11 or hanging from a chair lift cable. Each scene is an adventure and a story to remember. Then I do post production work which is mainly to adjust the color of the blue that I use in every scene and adjustment of the backgrounds in the scenes. The choice to work mainly duotone imposed itself naturally. I have always been very sensitive to the intensity and the effect that certain colors can have on me and have always been drawn to intense colors. The series is shot throughout America (Crater Lake, Mt Hood in Oregon, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, NYC) and I am the model in each scene.
TB: Do you have plans to continue the series and what can we expect next?
RP: Yes, the series will continue and the next set of works are also shot across America. The main colors will now be blue and yellow.
We would like to thank Reine Paradis for speaking with us and for providing such great insight into her work. Jungle takes us on an introspective journey across a symbolic and chromatic world, projected above the limit of reality and imagination. We were instantly drawn to the entire series and we look forward to seeing the next set of works. Jungle is on view now at Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles until July 16th. For more information please visit the gallery and the artist's official website.