We had the good fortune of connecting with Valérie Hallier and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Valérie, what principle do you value most?
Persistence is what I value most and what probably has benefited me the most over time. It’s not the “sexiest” of values but it is real and efficient, it trumps assumptions, bias and time. Persistence is what got me a Fulbright Scholarship back when I was finishing a MFA in animation, film and video in the ENSAD in Paris, France where I was born. I could have given up after been rejected the first time but I just re-applied and got it. This was a valuable lesson that in time has given me the confidence to become a full time fine artist and a part time teaching artist.

Finally, persistence is palpable in my art, especially in large scale projects. Process oriented and time intensive, the techniques I deploy are repetitive, when working frame by frame in animation or when using large numbers of beads or flower petals to covering a whole room.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Portraiture, as the existential need to render our human experience, is central to my practice. Through visualizing sounds like screams, autobiographical data like my reproductive history, or shared experiences such as first sexual encounters, my work redefines portraiture in the forms of mixed-media series, immersive installations and interactive public art.

Current projects explore losing control as a way to reconnect with our carnal and finite nature. ScreamNow, a public screaming booth and Défloré(e)s, a body of work that uses flower petals as expressive vessels, both visualize through different mediums letting go of control as both regenerative and destructive forces. They both explore the tensions and bridges between our “natural”, our “human” and our “mechanical” sense of Self.

Unexpected and expressive connections between contrasting concepts and between unrelated materials is what really excites me and drives my artistic explorations of new ways of being, less destructive ways to exist in the world. What sets me apart is the diversity of mediums I use and lately the unique technique I am developing with using flower petals.

Making Art full time is challenging when you have to generate an income as well and when you are not taking the professional representation route like having a gallery. The non-for-profit route is tricky but it ensures real freedom of exploration. Just recently, I started to sell some work (Déflorée Self Series) and this is changing my perception about potential gallery representation.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would say first Governors Island!!! I’ve been lucky to spend a lot of time there since the beginning of the pandemic during artist residencies with Harvestworks, West Harlem Art Fund and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. It has been a crucial element for my daughter and I to keep our sanity during these challenging times. The sense of being elsewhere while so close to the city, access to nature and a thriving artistic community, are part of the charm on top of the interesting history of the island once called Paggank by its original seasonal use by the Lenape.

After a couple of days exploring the island, I would take my friend to my favorite restaurants in Brooklyn; Superfine in Dumbo, Imani in Fort Greene or the Japanese village in Industry City. In Manhattan, I love Odeon in Tribeca and Pastis in the Meat Packing district (no more Florent alas). I would also walk the high line in that same area and then visit all the galleries, museum and art centers that have interesting shows.

Another experience I’d share would be to take the ferry to go to the Rockaway’s and visit the beach and the little summer places around. Taking the ferry back under the stars is a beautiful, cheap and fun experience. Obviously too many things to do in the 5 boroughs but here are a few that come up.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My daughter Elle, 9 years old, is my fuel!

Elle has empowered me like no other female. Her conception (me and a sperm bank’s URL) and her birth (C-section at 44) are the most courageous, stubborn and selfish things I’ve done. Her being has enabled me to accept the full gamut of my femininity, its potentials and still uncovered mysteries. Since Elle’s birth, I took my art practice to another level. She is a complex source of inspiration, identification, projection and fascination. She anchors me by connecting me to the past and the future while consuming my present.

Website: http://www.valeriehallier.com

Instagram: @multiplemedia_artist

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/valerie-hallier-3841928/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/killili

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vhallier

Image Credits
VH_portrait by Jelle Wagenaar.jpg Photographer: Jelle Wagenaar VH_working on DefloreeSelf05.jpg Photographer: Elle Hallier

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