maker spotlight — SANDRINE LINE MARIE CASTEL
Sandrine comes from Toulouse, France. She is a video artist as well as the new barista at XCHC. Imagine while you read this a wonderful French accent and her wide warm hearted smile.
What brings you to the XCHC?
I arrived two months ago, since then I have been looking for work in an art place, that was my goal. I contacted a few people at Gap Filler, In the Loop, and Scape — they suggested I get in touch with XCHC. Before I came here I spent a year traveling in Australia and I just took work to earn money so I could travel, but here I wanted to find a place I enjoyed working and I like to be around artists.
How do you define your creative practice?
I mostly do video but I also draw a lot. I quite like editing, both text and graphic, I also do web design. And I really love cooking, if you are an artist you should love to cook, because we love to do things with our hands, this is creative when you make things.
When did you start your art practice?
When I was in art school in France. During my diploma I did a bit of everything, that is how school is there, you are taught to be confident with all mediums. In 4th year you choose a specialty, initially I hated video, but I had a friend ask me to do a short video, after that I quite liked it. My friend became my model for a number of videos.
What are some inspirations for your work?
Lewis Carroll was one of my biggest inspirations, Alice and Wonderland and other books by him. He was a mathematician, another book her wrote called ‘The Game of Logic’ was a great influence. He sees the world being divided into two things, something and something that is not this thing. For instance, you have this glass, it exists as such and then there everything else around it which makes up the world of the glass.
When I create I like to show things different from what you see. There is always something immediate, but then I like to show what you don’t see. I often work with representation media, what is the point of just showing reality, we have eyes, so we already can see, when you work with this kind of media you look somewhere else, beyond what you see.
What made you take the leap of faith into being an artist?
I just try to follow my heart. I have done this since ages. I could follow a more rich and easy life, but where is the passion? I am happy when I live my passion, I don’t care so much about money, it is not that that will give me happiness.
Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
My big fail was to not follow my heart. Before going to Australia, just after I finished arts school, I wanted to do theater of technician training. I was too qualified to get funding, so I ended up working in an organic shop so I could pay for the school. I worked part time, I lost time because I was working a job to have money, and you know how it is when you have money you spend money. I did not think about what I wanted, I was just working to have money, and this went on for a few years, I lost time then. But I have changed, now I say no. When I returned to France after traveling the organic store wanted me to come back to work, I said no. Now I follow my heart and choose work I enjoy.
What has been your favourite moment since establishing your creative practice?
I love to travel, laugh, yah, really I just love to travel. Starting to travel is one of the best things I ever did. It is the best school ever! I have learned to be more open-minded, I discover different people. When you stay in your country even if you meet new people, they are all still quite similar, thinking and speaking wise, of course you meet some exceptional people — but there is something the same, especially among the French, everyone is nationalistic, they all complain more then the other. When you travel you learn to be more attentive to the other. You also see such great places, you can meet someone and this person in a few hours or days can be a close friend, I just love that.
What is a place that you would go back to, a favorite place from your travels?
The Great Ocean Road, the road is on the coast between Adelaide and Melbourne. It is a wild place, huge cliffs and huge waves — it may have been my timing as well, it was the start of spring, the weather was not perfect, so the waves were amazing. The power of nature just takes me, I realize how harmless I am, and how amazing and powerful nature is, it is so weird and so beautiful. And the stars in Australia, the Milky Way there are so many details, you just can’t be board seeing that.
What is a project you have collaborated or developed with others? And what did you take away from the experience?
I assisted a young French artist, Abdelkader Benchamma, I helped him to work on some drawings on wood. He is known for working with the elements, like fire and air. He wanted to make a wood pop up, like the kids books. So he needed to cut huge wood sheets, I helped him with that for a few weeks. I enjoyed working with him. I am proud to be part of something creative, I get the same feeling for other projects too, like the Avignon Festival which I also worked for, I made signs for them and got the same satisfaction. There is no small things, it is just the satisfaction of being apart of something that exists, and making something happen that I enjoy.
You are new to CHCH? What brought you here?
I turned 31 in May, and it was my last chance to have a working holiday visa. I came here with my boyfriend Domas, we came here because of the earthquakes, my partner Domas wanted to be apart of the rebuild, he is a carpenter. If it was just for me, I don’t know if I would have chosen Christchurch, I may have chosen Wellington because it appeared to have more happening in the arts. But now I’m really happy to be here.
When I arrived in Christchurch it is like ‘what the fuck is this,’ but then when I walked around the city, I started to discover the art and sculptures all around, the graphics on the walls, at the beginning Christchurch looks like nothing interesting, but once you do some research, there are many things existing that are on the point of happening, everything is growing here. After the earthquakes it is time to create something, people don’t want to make the same as the past, they want to do something new, and that is exciting to see and be apart of for me.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
Do. Just do whatever you want. We have to enjoy the present. The past is just nostalgia and regret, and the future we don’t fucking know what will happen, so just live now, that’s it.