Hugo Barclay

Caroline Derveaux

Hugo Barclay
Caroline Derveaux

Caroline Derveaux - Berté

Caroline Derveux - Berté | b 1989 French visual artist based in London

2014 MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art

What is your art mainly about? 

It is mainly about childhood influences - the colours I saw when I was a little girl and the toys I was playing with.  I am to recreate the shapes and colours.

Going back to my childhood, my parents divorced when I was one, so I used to go to my dad one weekend every two weeks.  He had a bad childhood so being with kids reminded him of being one. So he would put me and my sister in front of movies, mental ones. The first real movies I saw was 'NightBreed' so I was exposed to gore and horror at a very young age. I don't think my father knew what was suitable for children.

All these extreme imaginations in terms of horror influenced my dreams when I was young, I had nightmares all the time. I like having nightmares now because they are really rich and I can almost control them.

I feel there's this side of being so young and exposed to this wide new world through movies, that took my imagination to a whole new place. 

I would say these nightmare pushed me to be more creative in my mind. 


What kind of kid were you in school? 

I was popular, chatty. I liked being at school but I've never been an amazing student. I had good grades in French, Music, English and Art, but I was so bad at Maths. It is funny because I did an exhibition in Berlin last year and the German TV interviewed us.  The next day a German mathematician contacted me asking if my art was linked to geometry.  I didn't want to say it was my worst nightmare to make that association but thinking about it, it is all about geometry and maths. I keep's really simple but in a way it is maths.

Halves (2016)

Halves (2016)

Has your pallet changed with time?

When I started, my pallet was darker, more complex and intricate. Now my drawings are more intricate, but the paintings are simpler.  I believe less is more.  The more confident I am in my art the less I have to show off about it.  I'm very intuitive.   I have to listen to music to stop myself from thinking, that's when I doubt.

I’m not scared to do simple patterns, some people will think that is easy, but I feel I have my style.

What is the feeling you want to give to a viewer?

Comfort, I want them to find their own story. What I like is when people tell me what they see.  Because it's geometric shapes and quite symmetrical, people think of faces a lot.  I want it to be open to interpretation.  For some of my pieces, I want people to feel uncomfortable, or question odd feelings.


Do you ask yourself if your work is sellable?

Artists say if you think of money it paralyses your work. I often work for weeks and then stop and go to exhibitions and think, but recently I wanted to create but couldn’t because I was thinking about it being sellable and affordable for buyers.  It was polluting, and so much noise - it was awful.

Octobre (2012)

Octobre (2012)

What are some challenging things about being an artist?

Always having to offer yourself and expel things, for me it's positive, expelling things I have inside. But it can be tiring to constantly do it.


How long have you had your engagement with your agent in Paris?

It's just been confirmed now, last week in fact that she wants to represent me. She's very successful, working mainly with production and advertising.    I don't feel uncomfortable at all to do things with brands. I'm not an artist who thinks selling is partnering with the devil.

Can you take us through your journey from when you picked up your first paint brush to becoming an artist.

As a child I loved to draw but I never said the sentence 'I want to be an artist'.

It's hard for me to really say when I understood it could be possible.  I come from a family that is not really artistic and did not push me towards that, because they don't think that's how to make a living.

I did different degrees before doing my Masters at Chelsea.  I have a Masters in Business, but I realised when I was doing it that I didn't want to go there.  So I painted like crazy for almost all of this degree because I had lots of time.

 At the end I did my dissertation on female art and how it could change the male gaze. It was at that moment in June 2012 that I exhibited my work for the first time.  I was really shy but I received lots of positive feedback. 

At that moment I decided to make art my life, so I took a year off to really build up my portfolio and apply to art school. 

I felt like maybe I needed to have this to be legitimate, which now that I have it, seems unnecessary. 

Triangle Series #02 (2015)

Triangle Series #02 (2015)

How did you find your MA at Chelsea? 

The journey was interesting. It was a full year without holidays or time to think.  If I could modify the past it would have been better for me to take things a bit slower. 

Chelsea was the school I wanted because it was an intellectual and psychological school rather than the schools that don't accept you just because you aren't the type they want.  I feel like when you want to talk about your artwork at Chelsea you have to connect it with something that happened in your life - it is really psychological.

At the beginning I felt I had something to prove, I didn’t know the code. Then I realised everyone is uncomfortable


What did you do just after graduating?

I feel like when you finish art school, people struggle - it's so violent. Suddenly it’s over.  Especially because just before it is over, you have the final show and for weeks you are building something, then you have the show and everyone is there and then suddenly you have the blues.

But that wasn't the case for me, I was so happy to be finished because I felt like I could still experiment and practice, meet people and collaborate.

Just after I finished Chelsea I was doing a collaboration with a graphic designer - doing logos and branding.  For me, it was an interesting experience because I don't do anything digitally, everything is done by hand.

It was useful to learn how to use the software.  I did that for a few months, which was good as well because I was getting paid. It was a concrete artistic job.

New Lands (2014)

New Lands (2014)

Are there any things that you’re proud of?

I'm proud that I changed the direction of my life to something that was meaningful to me. I could have just continued but I would have been really unhappy.  It's not easy everyday, I'm so critical of myself but I'm proud that I went for it.


What is your definition of success?

I think you can have different definitions at different stages of life. A few years ago success was to do what I'm doing now. Now it would be to be more established and have no trouble paying the rent each month. So success is just being happy, I'm conscious that I'm very lucky, but I always want more.

Embodies (2015)

Embodies (2015)

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