This month we caught up with french-born, Hong Kong based artist Ophelia Jacarini, at her minimalist studio apartment in Sheung Wan. Ophelia works across a broad range of artistic mediums from painting , sculpture and embroidery to convey deep and personal emotions. The trained ballet dancer begins her day with a morning yoga session, hence movement and dance are key themes throughout her work and daily life. We chat to her about everything from her creative process to her love of white space and favourite flowers.
Tell us about your creative process
It’s always different and takes time. I become intrigued by a subject; I read a lot about it, use my own experiences to help me understand it more and explore what’s interesting about the subject. The more research, the more I need to find the perfect medium, sometimes it can take me three years to find the perfect medium to talk about subject - sometimes it’s ballet, movement or femininity. For the blooming embroidery, it took me 15 months to process the idea and decide how I wanted to talk about femininity and nudity. I didn’t want it to be too strong, even though it’s a powerful subject, I wanted to keep it poetic, beautiful, and something that people could relate to. When most people saw the embroidery, they immediately understood what I was trying to say, without reading anything about the work. I always want people to feel something from my work, even if it’s not exactly what I’m trying to express. This is the final and very important process of my work.
What themes feature in your work
My practice is preoccupied with movement; the movement of dancers, as well as movements less related to the body, but natural movements like blooming flowers. From the moment (the) flowers start growing until they’re fully grown they’re slowly moving, I love this development and in between stage. The movement of dancers is often hard to capture and I’m obsessed with trying to capture it.
Who are your biggest design and style inspirations?
I admire French artist Louise Bourgeois, but I wouldn’t say I’m inspired by other artists as my work is connected with personal emotions. For interior design I love everything minimalist, white, grey, also I like marble because of the patterns and symmetric motives in the material.
Describe your interior style?
My interior style is all about white as I feel it gives me a blank canvas, and it enables me to work anytime, this is why white is very important to me. An open window with a sea view and being able to see the horizon, makes me feel like I have a bigger space. I am a minimalist - I don’t feel comfortable owning things. This way I can get rid of all my furniture, pack everything into one suitcase and move from Hong Kong to another country if I ever wanted to, even though I love Hong Kong!
What’s your favourite object in your home?
My speaker is my favourite object! As I don’t like owning things, it took me ages to convince myself to buy it. Now that I have it, I’m very happy with it, as my place is very empty, but when I use the speaker it makes me feels like I’m dressing up my home, the music surrounds me and completely fills the space.
How does your space make you feel and effect and influence your work?
Everything that is empty is a blank canvas to me, that’s why I like my flat to be white and it means you can start from the beginning; white and emptiness are related to each other. Also I keep a lot of white space in my work, when I’m thinking about where to show my work I will think about the surroundings, I like it to be shown in very bright, white and empty spaces.
What are your favourite flowers?
My favourite flowers are the ones I have a backstory or relationship with, every time I see them they remind me of something that happened in my life and that makes me happy. For example, I like hortensia (hydrangea in french) because it reminds me of the embroidery work I did with it. I really like flowers that are very champetre (rural in french), and have a kind of countryside look, they really remind me of a little house in France where we would go for the weekend.
Tell us about your most powerful flower memory
I was working in Paris for a fashion designer, creating a dress from hortensia, just using the petals. We had to make sure once the petals were dry they didn’t fall apart, we managed to find a way to maintain the shape and colour of the flower by using fake nail varnish. We painted and hand embroidered millions of petals over 3 months, during this time when I closed my eyes I would see petals and I would dream about them!
What is favourite scent and why?
I like patchouli and the smell and taste of paper. Something very fresh and summery.
Tell us about a significant scent in your life and what memories it evokes
My first scent memory comes from childhood holidays to visit my family in France without my mum, she would spray her perfume onto my belongings and it would be reminded of her, so her perfume would be around me. My mum would switch between Chanel No5 and No19, these are the first fragrances I remember.
GET THE LOOK
Share Ophelia’s love of blue and the wild with our Baby Blue blooms
Baby Blue Flower Bouquet
Aurora’s Call Room Spray
Baby Blue Flower Jar
Discover more about Ophelia Jacarini’s work: https://www.ophelia-jacarini.com/