As Seen by Her: Natacha Paschal’s ‘Fake Vogue’ Illustrations Hint at the Dark Side of Fashion

The French artist also writes about wanting to paint like a kid again.

We’ve found our soulmate! Introducing As Seen by Her—a 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 Parisian painter and illustrator Natacha Paschal. She writes about finding inspiration in the freedom and honesty of children’s drawings, blurring the lines between fashion and fakeness in her illustrations and channeling her feminist values through her work.

My name is Natacha. I’m 24 years old and live in Paris. After studying graphic design, I naturally turned to illustration and painting. My tiny Parisian apartment is my studio. Since it’s sometimes hard to work and live in the same place, I also work in a gallery part time, which keeps me grounded and stops me from going crazy. It feels good to things apart from my own work—to share ideas with other artists and just meet people. I’m happy to work from Thursday until Saturday and then thrilled to go back to my pencil for the rest of the days.

In my artistic work, I don’t really like to master a technique. I prefer to switch things up when a technique prevents me from making mistakes—when things get too perfect so there’s no room for accidents anymore. I find I paint the best when I haven’t painted for a long time.

I admire kids’ drawings and they’re maybe what inspire me the most. As a narrative, for the freedom and honesty, but also for the imperfect structures in their drawings. Back in school, I remember crying during my first perspective classes, and it didn’t get better with time! I’ve only just started to get interested in classic painting, which I totally rejected before, but I think it may be an important source of inspiration for my work in the future.

I like the exaggeration, amplification of poses and gestures and theatrical aspect of classical painting. I also find a huge and limitless source of inspiration in advertising: it’s where I started my ‘Fake Vogue Magazine’ project, which was recently shown at Gallery Treize-Dix in Paris and a bookshop called Candide in Brussels. Apart from the original paintings, I produced a mini-edition where I redrew a bunch of pages from an original Vogue during a summer of boredom. It’s important for me to play with boundaries to show a more realistic type of woman and beauty. When I am painting those girls, you can’t tell if you’re looking at eyeshadow or tired bags around their eyes; you can’t tell if they’re posing or falling, for example. My mother always told me to be a feminist, so I am particularly obsessed by the representation and staging of women and by their place in society throughout the ages.