As Seen by Her: Art Director, Ceramist and Swimming Pool Enthusiast Emmanuelle Roule

Read about the French creative in the second story from our collab with As Seen by Her, a platform featuring essays by creative women.

We’ve found our soulmate! Introducing As Seen by Her—a new, Barcelona-based platform celebrating modern women with the ambition to share honest and intelligent perspectives. Sounds pretty similar to us, eh? Since our goals come from pretty much the same place, we’ll be sharing As Seen by Her’s stories written by creative women every week. Today, meet Emmanuelle Roule—art director, ceramist and swimming pool enthusiast.

“My name is Emmanuelle Roule. I am 32 years old and I am a graphic designer, art director and ceramist based in Paris. I studied art and graduated in Graphic Design in Paris in 2007.

Two days after presenting my diploma project, I started my first graphic design and art direction job and registered as a freelance artist. At that time, an incredible design experience began for me: creating the graphic identity of the Centre Dramatique National Gérard Philipe in Saint-Denis. For seven years, I worked with the director and his team; I created and developed all the graphic communication for the theatre, from posters to programs, including facade lettering, tickets, invitations, etc. It was an incredible playground.”

“At the same time, I joined a collective of visual artists and combined my two primary activities on a daily basis. First, it was a more solitary and personal playground as a graphic designer where I could experiment, produce and research work around images, colours and composition. On the other hand, it was also more about contemporary art and creating work with a strong collective under many multifaceted dimensions. As the youngest and only woman in the collective, it was necessary to build my place—to convince, exhibit and share my point of view and my ideas in an essentially male and older context.”

“I like to stand at crossroads, leading several projects at the same time and engaging in new adventures. I like meeting new people, exchanging, discussing, thinking and comparing ideas and points of view. I left my previous collective to found another one a few months later around the common and experimental practice of ceramics. Under the project name Gangster, a girl gang was born. We renovated a space in Paris to make it our studio; a hideout for us and others where we could invite and show our work and that of other creators, thinkers and doers.”

“I started taking ceramics classes back in 2012; it allowed me to test and work material and volume beyond drawing. My practice has over the years taken up more and more space, and I’ve started to produce and showcase my work. The practice bridges the gap between graphic design, public space, art installations, artistic direction and drawing. I work with stoneware, earthenware and porcelain and I make non-functional pieces, like sculptures. I like to experiment with the colours around the glazing process, a blind device, because the final rendering of the colours only appears at the exit of the kiln. I stage my pieces in a photographic work, which links questions around light, colour, composition and matter. I recently exhibited my work at Galerie Marcel By during Paris Design Week.”

“I feel very lucky to live through all this; being involved in all these different dynamics is intense, strong and stimulating. I try to travel as often as I can to keep looking elsewhere and discover what’s going on. My sources of inspiration are very varied; I am fascinated by swimming pools, smoke, light, water and the night, hence my deep pleasure for the colours blue and black. I am curious about the interferences, the connivances, the relations that exist between materials, colours and textures. Music, architecture and nature are also important sources of inspiration. Immersing myself in the atmosphere of a space – be it sound, nature or man made – is something I really enjoy.”

“Women who inspire me are Niki de Saint Phalle, for her self-taught artistic practice and multiple engagements. Marguerite Duras, Simone de Beauvoir and Françoise Héritier for the strength and accuracy of their words, their writings, their determinism and their power of transmission. Choreographer Pina Bausch and finally Nathalie Du Pasquier, whose works I admire for their multidisciplinary dimensions.”