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Meet the Maker: Mimi de Biarritz

Mimi de Biarritz is a French artist currently living and working in Biarritz. Mimi shares an Atelier with Pioche Projects and always seems to be on the pulse with humorous, intricate pieces using cut out cardboard, mixed media printing, papier-mâché, needle point, mosaics and furniture design.

If it inspires Mimi, she will give it a go. She is fearless and a true craftswoman. Once a year we go to Biarritz especially to visit Mimi and see what wonderful creations she has been working on.

Handmade miniature theatres, stitched jackets and applique flags are crammed into every corner. Wonderful painted furniture pieces have papier-mâché vivariums placed on top, with cardboard cut-out chandeliers dangling above and curious collections sitting below. It’s a treasure trove that we feel incredibly lucky to have discovered. There is no one in the world quite like Mimi Du Biarritz!

How have you stayed inspired during lockdown?

Lockdown has not been too hard to bear as I usually spend most of my time working at home. Like a squirrel, I have collected so much material that I think I could easily spend another 5 months without the need to go shopping for goods.

You use so many different mediums, what is your favourite and why?

I feel lucky to love working with all kinds of different materials. I can’t say which one I prefer. When I’m tired of embroidery, I switch to painting or paper cut outs or shells. I never ever get bored or lack ideas.

Did you study art?

No, when I was 18 years old after classical studies, I wanted to go to the Beaux Arts School but my mother told me I would probably die of hunger like most artists and I followed her wise advice.

Are you inspired by other artists?

Of course! So many artists past and present inspire me, including Matisse, Dali, Picasso and also Basquiat, Banksy and many more. They give me constant creative nourishment.

In your opinion what is the difference between art & craft?

In my mind, there is no difference. The cave wall paintings of Neanderthal are masterpieces, just as stunning and moving as a delicate 18th Century oil painting. Craft can be art just as some art can be…terrible!

What is the typical day in the life of Mimi?

Coffee, cigarettes, music and lots of projects to be finalised…

I know you love flea markets and treasure hunting – what has been your best find?

It’s difficult to say. Each time I find something that fits a nebulous project in the back of my mind, I’m thrilled, but I have a soft spot for the dusty maquette of the Titanic that I found at a flea market. It was obviously waiting for me to rescue it and give it a proper stage.

Do you like travelling and does this inspire your artwork?

I have travelled a lot. Now I travel on the internet and discover wonderful crafts and places that are so inspiring. I have never been to Russia but I saw the beautiful lace like painted wooden houses that inspired me to create the coloured beehives.

Who is your hero?

I don’t have a hero but I’m sure the world is full of heroes although totally anonymous!

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