Artist based in Paris, France

Adèle Aproh Innovate Grant Recipient
Adèle Aproh, Portrait of the artist.

Tell us about yourself, what's your background?

I’m a 26 French drawer based in Paris.

I have an unusual background as I graduated from a business school a few years ago. I then worked for a couple of years in the field of communication before dropping my job to invest all my time in drawing.

Adèle Aproh Innovate Grant Recipient
The Hermit, 2023 , Colored pencils and soft pastels on paper, 38 x 58 cm

After high school I wanted to make an art formation but finally chose what I thought at the time was the best/pragmatic direction. I didn’t consider drawing as a potential profession, partly due to the education I received. I grew up in a family where creative activities were more considered as hobbies than career objectives. This belief started to shift when I took my first step into the corporate world, doing a job I neither hated nor liked. I realised I’d rather live with less security than bored from Monday to Friday. I planned my reorientation for more than a year by putting money aside, improving my drawing and so on before quitting.

Now I’ve been practicing my art full time for more than a year, it’s not always easy but I’ve never been more sure of what I wanted to do for a living.

"My work is the source of a narrative dynamic attached to pop culture and surrealism. Just like Russian dolls, my drawings, by telling stories within stories, unfold an absurd universe full of symbolism and references."

Adèle Aproh Innovate Grant Recipient
(left) RedAche drawing in progress (right) RedAche, 2023, Colored pencils on paper, 30x40cm

What are you currently working on and where did the inspiration for it come from?

Lately, I’ve been working on a series of drawings depicting the 22 Major Arcana of Tarot. I was curious about diverting this vast theogony with my references. I started this project after randomly buying an art book gathering hundreds of artworks representing the cards and their signification. I didn’t know much about Tarot and its history, but it happened to be a well of inspiration and a very good iconographic exercise.

Adèle Aproh Innovate Grant Recipient
Justice, 2023, Colored pencils on paper, 35x50 cm

Innovation does not only happen in the field of technology — it occurs everyday in a creative practice. What do you do for inspiration?

My Inspiration comes from many different sources. From what surrounds me (everyday objects, my friends, my family) to cinema, books, magazines. I have a peculiar affinity with comic books, authors such as Chris Ware or Nicole Claveloux demonstrate how you can push the boundaries of drawing and narration always further. Reading their works is pure stimulation for the mind, it encourages me to be more ambitious in my practice.

I also took the habit to go once a week to a library specialised in the fields of decorative arts for inspiration researches (clothes patterns, textures ...etc)

Adèle Aproh Innovate Grant Recipient
Duckingham Palace, 2023, Colored pencils and markers on paper, 50x70 cm

Describe your practice and process. Where do ideas start for you? In the studio or being in the world?

My work is the source of a narrative dynamic attached to pop culture and surrealism. Just like Russian dolls, my drawings, by telling stories within stories, unfold an absurd universe full of symbolism and references. I principally use coloured pencils and markers as a diluant to melt the colours. I tend to stage showy and colourful characters in surrealistic scenes tinged with melancholy and humour. The work’s progression rely on a long process of intuition, researches and patience.

Drawing in progress

How do you make your work, does it start with a sketch?

Before starting a drawing, I generally make a very quick sketch to have a rough idea of what I'm doing. I usually make a draft while doing something else. For instance I often watch a movie while scribbling on a paper ideas that come. A bit like when you have a word on the tip of your tongue, it generally appears when you're not actively looking for it. I never really have a clear sketch of the drawing, more like a very unfinished skeleton that I laboriously shape with my colored pencils all along the drawing process.

Researches for patterns and clothes at the Library

Do you have your own studio ritual? What does that look like for you?

I never start a day without a 1 (2-3) coffee(s) 🙂 And I listen to a lot of podcasts.

Researches at the Library

Who are your biggest influences?

I’m fascinated by the work of Chinese painters from the cynical realism movement, in particular Liu Wei (b1965), Yue Minjun and Fang Lijun. Beyond the political scope of their works, the sense of humour emerging from their paintings is genius.

Adèle Aproh Innovate Grant Recipient
Les Amoureux, 2023, colored pencils, markers, and soft pastels on paper, 30x 50cm

Are there books or films that are an important source of inspiration?

Les Rigoles, from brecht Evens. An impressive graphic novel that I browse time to time when I need a boost.

How will Innovate Grant contribute to your practice?

I want to train myself to ceramic, I think I'll start by investing in the supply I need for it. (enamel, clay, tools...) And more prosaically pay my rent too !

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Always try to get out of your comfort zone.

What is the best advice you would give to other artists?

I would give this same advice, I try to stick to it as much as I can.

Adèle Aproh Innovate Grant Recipient
The Emperor, 2023, Colored pencils and aerograph on paper, 35x50cm

Stay up to date with Adèle Aproh
Instagram @aprohdite