Today the editorial staff of Maison Melem France meets Laura Tolen to ask her 7 questions. A very promising young artist who, we hope, will be much talked about this year!
Hello Laura, can you introduce yourself to our readers in a few words?
My name is Laura Tolen, and I am a visual artist. Of French-Cameroonian origin, I currently live and work in Paris. I mainly practice drawing (pencil, ink...) and painting (watercolour and oil).
What is your background?
I grew up in Yaoundé and Douala, Cameroon, and after graduating from high school I moved to Paris to study art. I did a year at Prép'art to prepare myself for the art school exams, then I entered the Beaux-Arts de Paris, where I graduated in 2020. I had the opportunity to participate in group exhibitions in Paris, Douala, and Rorà in Italy.
What are your inspirations for your work?
My main inspirations are my history and that of my family, and the impact that collective and individual memories have on us as individuals. I also draw inspiration from the places I visit, and from everyday moments.
Why did you choose figurative painting?
I have always loved and been inspired by figurative painting. When I was younger, I was particularly struck by the works of Caravaggio and his use of chiaroscuro. I also find there is something powerful about representing a concrete subject while integrating one's own subjectivity. A trivial scene can be transcended and transformed into something else.
What is the work you are most proud of and why?
Probably the work entitled "Immutable". It's the biggest drawing I've done so far (it's 1.30m by 1.20m), and it's very detailed. It took a lot of time and energy, but I am very happy with the final result. This drawing also allowed me to push my limits and try new things in terms of composition and technique.
You recently participated in the exhibition Intimacy with the artist Léa Toutain, why did you choose the theme of temporality?
I have always been interested in temporality, in the links between past, present, and future. That's why I love science fiction and Afrofuturism! I don't think time is linear, although it is often perceived as such. I think our past feeds our present and helps us create our future. So I wanted to work on the transmission of memory (and therefore of the past) through my history and that of my family.
What do you want to share through your art?
Mainly emotions. I want people to feel something when they see my work.
You can find the talented Laura Tolen on INSTAGRAM : @_lauratolen
and on her website : lauratolen.cargo.site