Melanne's Interview for Amylion

By Melanne

Here’s my contribution. It’s very long, but it’s just rough ideas and I tried to be as honest as possible. My problem is that I have found your questions very inspirational and it gave me the opportunity to think about my work, to have a reflexive thought about it, and that’s why it’s rough and long. But I’m sorry because my answers are written in a clumsy style (I’m still a little bit limited when I have to write in English… it’s not the same as writing in your native language).

I hope you won’t have to keep everything and you will just keep the general ideas! And I hope it will be useful...

1. What is your creative process consist of?

My process of creation mainly consists of three main ideas/notions: improvisation or freestyle, experimenting and trying new methods or new subjects, and making use of a multiplicity of artistic techniques and/or media.

 Usually, I only start with a general idea of what I would like to do: the subject or the medium I want to use (video, audio, text, or photo). Otherwise, I think my creative process is quite similar to freestyle in dance because I don’t want to organize everything before doing it (I would have the impression to do the same work twice…). So, most of time, the final result is quite different from what I had in mind first. I like the expression “organized chaos” that Matt used, even if I prefer to keep ‘freestyle’ because the concept of inspiration takes also an important place in the process and I think freestyle gives more credit to it: like in dancing, dancers let themselves be inspired by music; each dance move is inspired by the beat of the music. And each step of the creation process is the result of continuous inspiration (or new ideas).

 The other important concept is the constant experimentation in the creative process: I don’t like much to repeat myself, that’s why in a way I don’t see myself as an artist: because I don’t repeat the creative process to its perfection. But I don’t like perfection so that’s not a problem for me :)

 And finally, “multiplicity” and “diversity” are two important concepts as well: I like to mix different artistic techniques, different genres, different media, and different cultures together. It’s still about inspiration actually.

 Do you think that the process of  creation should be private?

I can’t say for everyone, but for me creation is usually not a private process because sharing and collaborating are the two most precious things in the creative process. Doing things alone is boring for me. It might boost your own ego because you did everything alone (if you receive compliments at the end), but other than that, it’s not as a rich experience as a collaboration work. Working with others, or just talking about a work in progress is a rewarding experience because you will always find new ideas and inspiration and it will help you to learn more about yourself, and it will help your own creativity. I love teamwork.

 But I also understand that some people like to work alone. I need it sometimes as well, and it depends on what you’re doing. When I’m writing, I like to work alone, but for a visual work (images or videos), I like to collaborate with others. So, I wouldn’t say the creative process should be or not private. In fact, I don’t think there’s only one answer to this question. And I don’t think anyone can say it should be or not. You can only give your point of view (from your own experience or not).

2. Do you allow yourself to be censored by the likes and dislikes of society?

I don’t allow myself to be censored by the likes and dislikes of society. I just try to pay attention to the audience/people to whom I will present my work, because it can be sometimes inappropriate to show one piece, not because it would shock them (I don’t do anything shocking anyway… I think) but because it might not be the most interesting one (subject) for them, or because they would use it to express polemical thoughts (it already happened). I think that paying attention to your audience is also a way to respect them, but I don’t think that selecting one work more than another is a form of censorship. It’s something different. And that’s happening after the creative process.

In the process of creation, I don’t think about the reactions of people. I’m enough perfectionist to be able to have a reflexive thought about my work and about its quality (I’m conscious when something I have done sucks), so when I’m working on something, I never think: what’s people gonna think about it? Will they like it? Will they praise me? It doesn’t interest me. I don’t care of that during the creative process. The only thing that counts it that I want to be excited by what I’m doing, I want to like/love what I’m doing. If I start to get bored with it, unfortunately I just won’t finish it (and it already happened a couple of times…) but it doesn’t mean that the experience was useless, because even if the work is not finished, I had the opportunity to try new things, to improve myself and learn more about myself. And when the work is done, I prefer constructive criticism than compliment (I still don’t know how to receive compliment, and I’m still surprised when someone shows some interest to my work…).

I really think that creativity is one of the most personal experiences that someone can live. Because it’s a very personal process, people can feel hurt when the others say harsh things about it. You let a lot of yourself in the piece of art; it’s the expression of what you are inside. But it doesn’t mean that you have to pay attention to that during the creative process.

And I think that not being censored by anything is the best (and eventually the only) way to stay honest with yourself, and it’s even the best way to be proud of your own work. Otherwise, you can give the impression that you sold your soul to the devil… it’s exaggerated, but that’s the idea. Don’t do things for the others, do things for you first. And if you do it with honesty, people will see it. I’m convinced about that.

And, likes or dislikes of society is kinda a matter of trend. It changes and evolves all the time, so it’s definitely not the most important to think about when you work on something.


Are you ever afraid to take your work a step further?

Am I afraid to take my work a step further? I’m not sure to understand this question actually (it’s more a problem of translation than meaning). If it means that I might be afraid to leave my comfort zone to try new things, then I would say ‘no’. And in that way, I think I have already answered this question before because it’s a part of my conception of the creative process… but if it means that I might be afraid to make bigger stuff, I can’t answer because I don’t think my work becomes bigger and bigger yet. I’m still on the same level (just want to have fun).

3. What pushed you to fall in love with the idea of collaboration?

My family, my childhood and all the kid’s stuff you do when you’re a kid made me feel in love with this idea. I will only give one anecdote about that.

When I was a 6 or 7 years old, my dad had the idea to create and made ourselves some clothes for my dolls. And I remember we used to do that for hours and hours with my parents. It was my first collaboration experience and from that moment, what I like the most in collaboration is the learning process from each others. When you collaborate, you share an experience, but you also learn from others’ experiences. Sharing and learning were what pushed me to fall in love with the idea of collaboration.

I like to share. I’m more excited when I work with people on a project, or when I share my work or ideas with others. Creating is in a way to give your best; you are definitely involved in something, so I can’t keep it for myself. I want to share my energy… the excitement, discussions and collaborative work you can have in teamwork are just priceless for me.

4. What do you think people could learn from collaborating, and what have you yourself learned?

When you collaborate in a project (any kind of project), you push the limits of what you could do if you were working alone. Someone can make a movie alone, but maybe the same movie will be more rewarding if this person works with actors and crews (that’s a silly example, sorry). You won’t feel the same energy in a work that had been done alone.

The perspective of sharing an experience or a creative process with some people is priceless. Actually, I think it’s quite difficult to explain to someone who didn’t live this experience yet, because it is something you have to feel and live. I also think that there’s more chance to not going round in circles if you collaborate than if you work alone... sometimes.

And you learn a lot about yourself because you learn how to compose with others’ point of views or critics, you learn how to compose with others’ skills, you learn what teamwork is, you learn to respect others, and you learn how to dedicate your work to a project (everything is done for your project not for yourself). And you will also get better (more easily and faster than when you work alone).

5. Do you believe that a piece of art can ever be “finished”?

I think only deadlines and distribution of artworks make these works finished. Otherwise, I’m not convinced that a piece of art can ever be finished (it depends on how people define what is a finished work and you can receive a mass of different answers). I truly think that artists know when their work is finished though. But a piece of art can be as finished as the art itself (of an artist) will never be. The art of an artist will always be evolving (like Matt said, the art is meant to go on, go on…).

So, even if art is now merchandized, it remains an absolute, and as a concept, it remains something that you can’t hold, so it remains something uncontrollable (by the industry for example). That’s why art is endless and unlimited.  

I’ll just take a concrete example from my personal experience to show that a finished work is not especially an easy notion (at least for me). It’s about video editing. With the digitizing process, editing can be an endless process. With the traditional editing, you had to make some choices even before starting the editing because you were editing with the film reels so developing them cost money. With video editing, you don’t have to make these artistic choices anymore (you know, to choose the shots you’re gonna use - even if it’s still the case most of time but also for other reasons) because all the reels can be digitized (in principle) and you can try as different editings as you want. So, theoretically speaking, editing can be now endless (that’s why I had a lot of difficulties to finish the editing of my short film…).

6. How do you think the media limits artists today?

I don’t think so. I think money is the only thing that can limit artists today. Before, artists worked for patrons who appreciated their art. In that way, they could devote themselves to their art without doing any other job (non artistic one). Nowadays, there’s not a lot of patronage anymore (even if still exists), and if artists want or need to find a way to live on their art, they most of time need to merchandize their work.

If media limits artists, they’re not the main source and it will be more about the fact that they will create and define what is popular or not (it’s about the notion of celebrity: they will decide to talk about an artist or not). But, with new media like Internet, almost everyone can be the spokesperson of an artist he/she likes and everyone now has access to artwork they wouldn’t be able to discover otherwise. I can discover Maori art for example without going to any museum, and even without traveling. So, for me, media take more part in the evolution of the visibility and the discovering of artists and art than they limit artist just because people have more possibilities to have access to art. If there is any limit, I would say it’s more about the overabundance of the information or artwork you can find.

If I think about my own experience, I would say that media helped me a lot to discover new artists and new art forms. I’ve always been interesting in discovering others’ cultures and societies, and I have learnt a lot thanks to the media. And Hitrecord is another concrete example. This is a new form of art, and it wouldn’t exist if Internet did not exist. I think media can help or limit artists. It depends on how media and artists interact with each other.

I’ll just give a last example: if the media can still dictate what is worth it or not, they don’t have the same power than before the development of the new media. I’m thinking about the Youtubers community or the young artists that show their artworks on Internet (blogs, websites, etc.), or generally speaking, about the underground and indie arts/artists. They aren’t especially in favor with the media (except some specialized media that only talk about independent artists) but they still can be popular and they still can live on their artworks just because they have found their audience and a way to show (and sell) their work. And sometimes, media even start to talk about them when these artists become really popular.

That’s why, I really think that money is the fundamental limit for artists today (if they don’t find a way to live on their art, it becomes more difficult for them to keep doing it when they also have to find a way to make money to live). When you start to consider your artwork as a saleable product (I don’t especially criticize it) it creates some limits because if they want to sell, they will start to pay attention to what people want and they might change their art if they realize that what they do doesn’t work...

7. What piece of artwork are you most proud of?

I still have to think about it because nothing comes to my mind right now. I know, it’s quite pathetic. 

8. How have your family and friends influenced you in your growth as an artist?

My family, yes. They give me the inspiration. They taught me the value of imagination. That’s why I think today that imagination is one of the few treasures a person can have (and not only for an artist). Inspiration and imagination are your two best friends for the creative process.

My family was, and is still honest with me and what they think about my work is really important to me. I know that if they don’t like something, they will tell me for sure. What can I ask more? They’re my best supporters and critics.

And they also taught me to be open-minded and curious about almost everything (all kind of topics). And I think that’s also important for an artist.


9. Do you think your art contributes to a greater cause? If so what is it?

No, I don’t think so. It doesn’t mean that I would not like that it is, but right now, I don’t think it contributes effectively to a greater cause, or I’m not conscious about it.

It also depends on what people understand by greater cause, and everyone has a different answer. I don’t think that Art can change the world for instance. It can help people to be aware about something, but nothing more.

The only thing’s coming to my mind is that art can inspire people. That’s the only thing a piece of art can do, and for me, it’s even one of its main role. And it can be all kind of inspiration: it can inspire you to do something (creatively or not), or it can inspire to think about new/other topics (reflexivity), it can inspire you some emotions (happiness, sadness, anger, etc.), or it can inspire you to be more curious or open-minded, etc. I think that art inspires people even if people are not conscious about it. In a way, hating an artwork is already the result of an influence and it can help you to find what you like. So, the only greater cause would be giving inspiration to people…

 But other than that, I don’t think my work contributes to a greater cause…


10. Has there been anything that has happened in your life that has made you doubt your self worth/ ability to create?

Actually, it’s happening almost everyday because of my own reflexivity on my work. I always feel that I don’t have any skills, and every creative work I do is worthless. But at the same time, it’s like I have to do some creative stuff because I couldn’t live without it. It can be paradoxical, and as the same time it’s not, because I do creative things for myself, and I create things not for the result but for the creative process so even if the final result is worthless, I won’t stop creating.

About a specific even that would have happened in my life that made me doubt about my ability to create: I don’t think there’s one specific moment, I truly think it’s inherent to my personality… I’m always surprised when I receive some compliments about my work.

There’s an example: When I was 12 or 13 years old, I decided that I wanted to work in Film industry. I wanted to be a continuity girl or a screenwriter. My parents went along with it (it doesn’t happen with all the parents, even in France; a lot of parents think that a job in film industry is not a ‘real’ job, so I’ll always be grateful to them). They just asked me to be graduate (for the backup plan). But because they couldn’t afford a film school, I studied at University, which means that I mainly learnt everything I know about filmmaking, screenwriting, editing, etc. by myself through different experiences. The only problem is that I don’t feel legitimate now to direct a film because I didn’t study in any film school (it’s stupid, I know), that’s why when I make a video (short films, experimental videos) I work alone (with actors sometimes but without any crew members) because I don’t see how I could “direct” a crew… that’s an example of how I doubt about my ability to create, and I know, it’s ridiculous, but I try to cure myself of that.

The only doubt about my ability to create comes from actually from me. I’m my own censor.


11. What has been one of the best moments that you have had here on hitRECord that you wouldn't have been able to have anywhere else?

There are not specific moments. I would say that the whole concept of Hitrecord is what makes Hitrecord so special. Collaborating with people from all over the world, doesn’t happen everyday. And this almost ultimate form of collaboration is why I became a hitRECorder, even if I don’t collaborate on projects as much as I want.

It’s a concept I want to defend.

Melanne's Interview for Amylion

Created: Apr 22, 2011

Tags: amylion, art, interview, creative process, media

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