Connecting Cultures, Marido Coulon

Marido Coulon is a French artist from Normandy and she is currently travelling all around the world from a boat. What an adventurer! Marido has always been passionate about drawing and a keen illustrator. During her childhood, she was inspired by the nature & the animals, as well as drawing them, at the same time, she decided to be a vet in order to take care of them.


As every passionate person, Marido hadn’t only one passion but multiples ! Her next passion was patchwork : a discipline that combines geometry and choice of colors through the fabrics. She created original patchworks for magazines & participated in numerous competitions. And then, during her trips, she felt in love with the beauty of mosaics inspired by Islamic geometry. She began to learn the basics, took classes & practiced a lot to create her unique style. Her work is recognizable and distinctive thanks to her precise work, use of colours & the meticulousness of the pattern.


We talk to Marido about her creative process, techniques and future aspirations.



When did you first start practicing as an artist?


Since childhood, I always liked to draw. At first, it was more about what I loved in my daily life or what was around me : animals, horses, ducks, flowers. However, when I discovered Islamic geometry in 2015, it was a true revelation. I am fascinated by the use of the compass, don’t you think this is magic to be able to create so many patterns just with a compass and a ruler?



Your works are inspired by Islamic art. What made you develop an interest in these artistic traditions?


Islamic geometry is the perfect combination of what I like the most; the precision of the line, the combination of forms and of course color harmony. I have always been sensitive to this art. In fact, I discovered it when I was young by travelling in Iran & Turkey with my family. And later, to Morocco, Tunisia & Uzbekistan. The mosques & monuments I’ve visited are one of my main inspirations.





How did you train to become an artist specializing in these traditional artforms?


I first studied the basics of geometry - an essential step! I then I took online courses.

There are plenty of online courses you can take by your own to develop your skills. I also participated in internships in order to improve my technique with a teacher. After many exercices and practice, I started to colour - either using traditional colors or my own palette (I love to play with the different colors and create my own universe).



To be honest, geometry requires a lot of meticulousness! It’s long and precise work that requires a lot of practice but it’s so interesting. My advice? Follow your intuition and work hard to develop your skills & talent.


What is your creative process like and what tools do you use?


I have many sources of inspiration - monuments, mosques and nature too, especially the vegetal world. My favorite tool is the compass; I have several compass depending on the size and precision of the drawing. I also have many pencils, rulers and a protractor. For the colour I use extra fine watercolour paints & my brushes are adapted to the finesse of my drawings.



Your work has a contemporary aesthetic, how did you create this style?


My style is a mix of modernity and tradition. I like the rigour of the geometry, my drawings must be precise and perfectly executed. On the contrary, I like the freedom to choose my colors and my palettes, this part of my work allows me to express my sensitivity. And creativity!

It is this mix of precision and freedom that makes my style.


Your work is incredibly detailed and delicate, how long does it take for you to create a piece?


It’s very variable depending on the size of my drawing. The geometric drawing phase is the longest, it depends on the number of repetitions of the pattern. This phase lasts several days. Then, once the drawing is finished, begins the choice and the work of the color. This phase is a little shorter and depend on the size of the drawing, it can last several days too! I’ll let you count but in order to have a time range : let’s say from 3 days to a week and even more according to the size and the complexity of the drawing.



Can you share your favourite work of art you have created so far with us and why is it your favourite?


This drawing is one of my favorites. I like its simplicity and construction, as well as the color palette. The octagon is a perfect figure, simple et symmetrical. This figure is a whole, but it can also be replicated many times and be part of a whole. Like a piece of puzzle. Its colors represent the earth and the sky. (Let me tell you a secret : blue is my favorite color!)


Growing up, which artists inspired you?


I thank all the artists and teachers who allowed me to learn : Samira Mian, Sandy Kurt, Mohamad Aljanabi, Adam Williamson, Rajen Astho , Ameet Hindocha, Alan Adams, Manuel Vela…


I also really like the work of Margie Lake, Reinout Engel, Sharmina Haq or Gülüs Abla.

All these artists are a source of inspiration for me.



What are your aspirations as an artist?


As an artist, I would like to introduce Islamic art to as many people as possible, especially in western countries. I would like to share this passion and be able to pass it on.


What do you think the future of Islamic art looks like and how do you think we can continue to keep the tradition alive?


Islamic art must be modernized to interest future generations. We must continue to teach geometry to children in a playful way, but always with a requirement for precision.

This skill must be taught and passed on to keep the tradition alive.

The design must remain precise. On the other hand, we can bring modernity by the choice of colors, painting techniques or drawings. The possibilities are so varied that it is possible to maintain the tradition while modernizing the art.


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