ARTIST INTERVIEW: Olivia Cognet of Maison BISOUS
Company: Maison BISOUS
Artist: Olivia Cognet
MAISON BISOUS is a Los Angeles based ceramic studio created in 2017 by Olivia Cognet.
Each one of her handmade creations is a unique work of art, a snap of a moment captured in this crazy world. More than a ceramic studio, MAISON BISOUS is a manifesto for slow life and beauty.
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now.
After an exciting career as an accessory designer for luxury brands such as Lanvin, Sonia Rykiel, Carven, Isabel Marant, etc… I decided to expand my creative skills by working with clay. As in my previous work in the fashion industry, I put my passion for craftsmanship first – replacing leather and fine garments with clay and paint. The hands are the key whether it is for couture or ceramic, my artistic vision remains the same: a sensual mix of modern brutalism and feminine absolute.
What would you say is the driving force behind your creative work?
Working creative jobs is the only thing I’ve really ever been able to do with my life – which is a blessing and a curse. Ideas, drawings and concepts are constantly populating my thoughts, leaving no space for marketing strategies or business plans!
How do you find a balance between practicality and beauty in your creations?
I find practicality to be beautiful. It is an aesthetic per se, and I really admire it. I am very inspired by designers from the 50’s, like Jean Prouve, Charlotte Perriand, Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, whose works were practicality oriented!
What are your most important artistic tools?
MY HANDS! MY EYES! And I guess my intuitions.
Do you have a favorite creation, artwork, or design of your own?
My all-time favorite creation took 9 months to make, and never cease to amaze me: it’s my son, Martin! My creation process is quite similar to those 9-months. I take a lot of time building and polishing my vases, molding them, transforming them from and helping them grow from a pile of mud to a beautiful object!
What criteria do you use to evaluate your own work?
Coming from the fashion industry, I always have the reflex to analyze meticulously line, shape, harmony, details and colors. And lastly every one of my creation has to pass the ultimate test: would I buy it or not?
Do you have any objects you like to keep around you as inspiration? What are they?
From the many years I’ve spent in the fashion industry I have grown one habit that has been following me throughout all my projects: working on trend boards. I firmly believe that a good design is based on thorough research. I love to spread trend boards in my studio, it always immediately puts me in the mood!
How is your work inspired by or influenced by nature and your surroundings?
Moving from Paris to Los Angeles completely changed my life. As a girl born and raised in the South of France, I wasn’t thriving emotionally under the grey Parisian skies. I had it all: a fantastic career in a very glamorous environment, a great apartment, loving friends. But something was missing! I was feeling sad and empty in this big and dark city, so far away from the warming sun and the reassuring nature. In LA, I was offered the gift of space, I finally got enough room for my kiln, my wheel, and most importantly I was surrounded by the powerful nature, the ever-so amazing Californian sun, oceans and landscapes, and this very specific Mid Century aesthetic that can only be found here. Los Angeles feeds my creativity purge on a daily-basis!
What do you do, or where do you go to seek fresh ideas or renewed creative energy?
New ideas are always found in a good art exhibition, behind the doors of a museum, hidden in flea market or glamorously showcased on design shows. As for the creative energy, I firmly believes it lives in the inside of a disco ball! I never feel so energized than after a night of dancing with my friends!
Did you have any mentors or important creative influences?
I do believe that every one of my boss, my coworkers, my friends, are shaping my work and the person I am today. I’ve been blessed with friendships from people who are mostly working in creative fields, whereas it is fashion designing, artistic direction, writers… And this community is helping me thriving, throughout both their critical vision of my work and their thirst for excellence.
Do you think community is important to creativity? If so, how?
For this reason I am 100% convinced that community is important to creativity. I am also always trying to reach out to other artists, and I feel so lucky to be able to present my work alongside theirs on this perfectly curated show.