An interview with Nathalie Lété
If you haven’t yet seen our new Nathalie Lété party range, then you’re in for a treat! We at Meri Meri are delighted to have created this beautiful range in collaboration with such a talented artist.
Our founder, president and art director, Meredithe Stuart-Smith says, “I have been following Nathalie’s work for many years. I think it is incredibly vibrant and fun. She has a unique voice in the market place! Because she has so many beloved characters in her work, everything has a narrative which lends itself well to all sorts of applications. When I visited her magical studio in Paris a few years ago, I felt I had entered one of her paintings. It was such a joy. I thought a party collection would help bring this world alive for celebrations.”
We asked Nathalie if she could tell us all about her life as an artist, what inspires her, her favorite works and what advice she would give to children who would like to be an artist. Here are her inspirational answers.
When did you first realise you had ‘made it’ as an artist and what was the work?
"You know, I never had this feeling really, and I always doubt myself. I just try to have a good balance between doing what I like to do, earn my money with that, and realize my dreams through the money I earn. So, it is more like a chain. My goal is not to be an artist, but to be happy", she tells us. We think her happiness really shows in her wonderful work! "I think the moment I was really happy, is when I did my first big exhibition 5 years ago at Musée de la Piscine, in Roubaix, North of France. I showed the work I had done from the last 20 past years, and it was an important point and moment to make myself, like a ‘recap’ of my artistic work."
What lessons have you learnt in your career?
"To follow your intuition. To work with nice people, otherwise there is no sense! To do small projects and big ones, both are interesting. Sometimes small projects bring big projects! The most important is to have a good reason to accept a project. The reasons depend really at the moment in your life (it can be because you urgently need money, because you want to travel, because the person is really nice, because you are inspired or because you were in a good mood when you accepted it!)"
What inspires you to create such colourful, imaginative work?
"Happiness, folk art, art and craft, beautiful images, travel and movies."
What is your most favourite design you have created and why?
"I think it is the wallpaper panoramic ‘black forest’ for Domestic. I was inspired by a dream I had when I was child. I like to work on dark backgrounds."
What is your proudest career achievement?
"It is more private achievements which make me happy. To have built a beautiful relationship with my kids and my husband. My daughter is my assistant, and my son is also studying in an art school and his art conception is very close to my husband’s. Otherwise, I’m also very proud to keep long relationships with my customers and my fans."
Which artists inspire you and why?
"I love the Bloomsbury group. I fell in love with them when I was twenty and saw a book with their house. I wanted to do the same, that my art becomes a part of your life which surrounds you."
What creative dream would you still like to fulfil?
"I hope to work in collaboration with architects and decorators on some hotel or restaurant projects. I also would love to design some tiles for a swimming pool, covered with fishes."
Flowers and animals are main themes of your work, why is this? We know you have Spike, your adorable dachshund, whom you call your ‘third child’!
"I was a very lonesome teenager, and it was important for me to walk in nature and dream. Relationships with people were not always easy for me, I preferred a lot to be with animals or my toy collection. So, I created my own world where I felt I was more understood. Anyway, I still prefer animals and nature, even if now I have a few very good friends."
How did your collaboration with Gucci come about, and was it fun and exciting to be part of such a super brand?
"I remember the day Gucci sent me an email to ask if I would be interested to collaborate with them. I was sitting with my husband in a restaurant for my birthday lunch. It was my best gift ever. I was filled with happiness, like in a dream, because I was thinking for a while since I saw their advertisements in magazines, that I could have done some of their creations. I felt so close to their world. I sent the paintings they chose, and then a few months later they sent me pictures of what they had created with them. Finally, it was very very exciting to receive all the samples at my studio. Everything was beautiful packaged, like an extremely big Christmas morning!"
3. Nathalie Lété Flora Cat Party Cups 4. Nathalie Lété Flora Cat Small Napkins 5. Nathalie Lété Flora Dinner Plates
What was the most satisfying part of your collaboration with Meri Meri?
"When I saw the collection, I thought I couldn’t do better myself! Everything is perfect. The details are beautiful with the gold rims, the shape of the plates, and the romantic napkins."
What else would you like to see from Meri Meri for 2021 in your collection?
"I don’t know if they want to continue and make the range bigger, but of course I would love to! I would like something with glitter, perhaps a collection for Christmas, or for weddings! I also like flowered garlands and pinatas filled with bonbons."
What is the best piece of advice you would give to a child who wants to be an artist?
"You have to continue as an adult what you like to do as a child. So, think about ‘what makes you happy?’ and you will find the way of your life."