For this dröm session, we’re featuring Nathalie Lété! We absolutely love the mish mash of clashing bright colours she works with. She works for brands such as Monoprix, Issey Miyake, Bourgeois. She also collaborates regularly with many brands (both in france and abroad), such as Astier De Villatte, Vilac, and Anthropologie. You can find reoccurring throughout her works, themes like toys, birds, flowers, and of course Paris!
In this interview, she lets us in to her world of imagination, and introduces us to her love for collecting vintage objects, dolls, and fairy tales, here we go!
Hi Nathalie, Please introduce yourself!
I am born in 1964 from a Chinese father and a German mother. That is perhaps why you can occasionally find asian motifs, mixed with folk imageries from eastern european countries reflected in my works. I’ve been transforming everything I touched since a very young age, and enjoy mixing themes and techniques in a joyful effervescence until today.
After studying fashion design at “Art Appliqués Dupérré School”, and then lithography at “Beaux Arts De Paris”, I began to create drawings, paintings, ceramics, knitted and sewn dolls, children‘s illustrated books, silk screens, carpets, and textiles.
The little red riding hood
When did you draw/paint your first illustration, did it started when you were young?
First I would like to explain that I don’t feel as an illustrator because it is very complicated for me to label myself as an “illustrator” , I don’t like it at all to be honest. in fact I want to keep the freedom as an artist would have, that means being able to do what I like to do, onto any mediums.
I usually paint what I feel is right, and thereafter when the paintings are finished, I propose them to my publishers to do some products with them. Sometimes i take in some special commissions, but if I feel the subject has strayed too far away from what I do naturally, I’ll reject them and say “No”. I don’t want to make drawings which are not fluid and natural for me, it must be something that I believe in or I would feel that I’m not honest with myself.
I paint since I’m little girl. I’ve always liked doing something with my hands. I didn’t thought that it would be possible for me to create a living out of this passion. But an astrology predicted of my future when I was 18, and told me about me working/leading as an artist life. It was interesting seeing none of my family or relatives were artists. I had absolutely no idea then.
Nathalie Lété’s atelier
What started your passion in illustrating? What is the driving force behind your drawing passion?
My passion in drawing and painting started because I feel this is the only thing I like to do. I also like dancing, and moving my body, in fact I’m not very sociable, I prefer to shy away, to be alone and work than to be outside with friends. It had always been like this ever since when I was young, so this is my way of life. I feel good when I create something. Everyday must be to be a good day, a day of creation.
Nathalie Lété’s plush dolls, click here to purchase them via our online store!
We see that a lot of animals in your artwork, do you have any pets? If so, please introduce them to us.
I have 2 pets myself. My dog “SPIKE” the dachshund and two canaries (which unfortunately have no names). I also have many stuffed animals and toys which are like part of my small family!!
Nathalie Lété’s dachshund, Spike!
Can you introduce us some of your favorite/comfort/happy food/drink?
I don’t drink alcohol at all, otherwise I would have a headache, so I love to drink water, tea (like herbal tea). I love Chinese food. I was always accustomed to eat Chinese food, because of my Chinese father. I specially love sweet pork, In fact sweet and salted foods are my favorites.
I love also Japanese food because it is healthy. At home I cook everyday. I have two teenagers, and my daughter likes to eat vegetables, and fruits. She loves to take care of her body, so I try to cook very healthy food. I love to finish dinner with a fruit salad in same way I love smoothies and milkshakes, especially with coconut milk!
Which country are you currently living? Can you describe your surroundings and environment from where you live? Is it inspiring?
I have always lived in France, near Paris. As a child, I lived in the suburb of Paris, and then when I was between 20 and 38, in Paris. Still at 38, I live in Ivry which is just one street outside from Paris.
We live in a old factory rehabilitated in lofts. We bought 3 lofts ten years ago: one is our house, one is my studio and the third belongs to Thomas Fougeirol, my husband’s studio (who is also a painter). In between all 3 lofts are a garden full of cats and a few dogs, it is very inspiring to live here amongst the green. I like to be in Paris, but I’m always happy to come home, especially after afternoons when feeling tired.
When I was a kid, I lived near a big park and was always walking in the park with my dogs and my mother. I love to be in the nature, I love cities too but only as a tourist for short moments. I definitely need the nature and its greenery.
As a kid, I also spent much of my holidays with my grandmother who lived in Bavaria, Germany. It was a beautiful village that was near lakes, I loved the souvenirs I have from that place.
Nathalie Lété’s favourite object: bambi-bureau
What is a typical day like for you from the moment you wake up?
I usually wake up early, the same time as my kids, so can be 6.30 or 7 o’clock.
I have my breakfast with family and read my emails at same time. I would then go out with Spike, my dog, clean the house and do the laundry, and I’ll be at my studio around 8.30 or 9 o’clock.
I would also then feed my canaries, and then work on my projects until 12.30.
I have lunch with my husband at home for an hour, and work again until 6 o‘clock.
After walking with my dog, I head to the post office, come back home and cook with my daughter Angele who is 16.
At 7.30, we have dinner, and watch TV. At around 10 o’clock, I take a bath, and go to bed.
This is my normal week day, I’m very regular throughout. On weekends, we walk in the forest in the morning, and watch many movies (we love all sorts of movies in my family!) and I try to take things slowly and take time to read magazines.
What are some of your favorite item/object from our studio, things that you love very much?
I love my toy collection and also my stuffed animals. I love also the light in my bedroom and in my studio, the light from the windows is very important for me.
Nathalie Lété’s stuff toy collection, and her room
Nathalie Lété’s toy collection
Do you have a favorite Nathalie Lété creation?
i love specially all my work i did around the theme of butchery I did 10 years ago, that is the reason why i want to continue this series. I also like the last wallpaper “forest” I did in collaboration with DOMESTIC very much.
Nathalie Lété’s favourite work
Lastly, is there anything that you can say to encourage all new artists/illustrator out there?
I would say..work work work. It is rather difficult to say more, because we are all different. But in my case I always tried to be honest with myself and to do the things with love and tried always to do my best in everything.
Signed copies of her book “Bric A Brac” are available at the little dröm store, every copy has a different illustration!
Other Nathalie Lété’s products are also available at the little dröm store.