fringe benefits: in the studio with artist julie thevenot
Published Sep 14, 2016 4:00 AM
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From her studio under the Williamsburg Bridge, artist Julie Thevenot makes her own rules.
Outside her studio, on the deck that she built herself from leftover construction supplies, Julie Thevenot scrawled the words disco and mountains in the concrete just before it set. The French-born, Brooklyn-based artist is known for putting together industrial and rustic materials in surprising new ways. “I love working with extremes,” she says, “like the combination of shiny and rough.” Her studio reflects this mix, with white walls, concrete floors, and a tinsel curtain adorning a column.
Thevenot moved to New York more than a decade ago, after earning an M.F.A. from the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Decoratifs Paris. When a shopkeeper stopped her in the street to admire the graphic tunic she was wearing (one of Thevenot’s own pieces), she started working in fashion design. But eventually she moved on to making sculptural jewelry and decorative objects. “I hated being tied to a seasonal calendar,” she explains. “I wanted to be free.”
For her next collection, Thevenot is interested in developing new industrial processes, having currently only made things by hand. “My dream is to have a house in the country,” she says, “where I can design every detail.”
Thevenot’s work is inspired by the soundtrack of her youth. “I grew up on Italian ’80s music, new wave, and psychedelic rock,” she says.