We had the good fortune of connecting with Annie Clavel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Annie, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
A risk-free life is like cheese without salt, totally tasteless. I have spent my life following different professional paths: teaching mathematics, selling IT consultations, marketing IT classes for companies, starting an art career when I was 58. I have loved knowing different countries. With my husband and three boys, we have lived in France, Germany, and Tunisia. It was always a challenge for me when I arrived in a new country. Each time I had to get used to the different lifestyles, I had to understand the habits and customs and learn and speak a new language. We arrived in the USA in 2006. Once in the US, I created Les Jolis Trésors Art Gallery in Long Beach and managed it from 2009 to 2014, curating exhibitions, moderating art talks, and teaching art in the venue. Meanwhile I started building my own career in Los Angeles. I was so stressed when I took the courage to show my art in an exhibition for the first time, I felt as if I were naked in front of the guests: in my paintings I see me. I believe in taking risks, That’s how I can go forward in all my projects.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Presently art is a full time job for me. Starting this new career in a new country was not easy. I had to work hard and give myself new goals, new challenges to achieve my ends: find venues to show my art, trying new techniques, marketing my art, Last spring with the pandemic I had the goal to paint 100 small watercolors on YUPO in 2 months: I painted 150 and I selected 36 of them to set up an online exhibition “Petite Artworks”: https://artspaces.kunstmatrix.com/en/exhibition/2100383/petite-artworks
Also I invest my time in helping organisations with my skills in management: I have professional experience as a businesswoman, in both the USA and France. I see my skill-set in business management, administration, marketing and training, whether in the art world or not, as an asset to my art career. Instead of being daunted by the business side of art, I have brought these skills with me, and in fact now channel them into arts administration for various non-profit art organizations. I have learned a lot: always find new ways to express myself, always meet and appreciate new artists, never be frustrated when my work is not selected for an exhibition. I have learned to trust myself. I know how to make the necessary choices when I’m overworked. And I have learned to love art more and more.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love Long Beach: I would take my friend to Signal Hill where I like to walk on the Panorama Promenade, to Naples Island and its canals, to Shoreline Village, to the new Gerald Desmond bridge toward San Pedro. We’ll eat seafood at Roe Seafood restaurant. We’ll enjoy dining with a view at Parkers’ LightHouse in Shoreline Village, at Ballast Point Long Beach or at Belmont Brewing Company.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate my story about art to my father. My father was born in Indochina (Vietnam), his father was French, his mother Indochinese. As his father passed away and his mother couldn’t make ends meet, he had to leave Indochina. He was 13. Fortunately his aunt in France took care of him and he became an architect. No computers in those times, my father used to work on architectural plans late into the night. I was captivated by the precision of his drawings and his artistic rendus with watercolor of the final projects. When I was a toddler, I could spend the whole day drawing stories filled with tiny characters: men skiing and falling, kids playing, little girls jumping rope. I also had fun crafting minuscule objects: plasticine characters, paper lace, and small-scale notebooks for my fictitious students. I loved to draw using a pen with Indian ink like my father. I would have loved to become an architect, however I studied mathematics. Later on I discovered abstract expressionism and started painting abstractions that are in my head.
Youtube: Annie Clavel
Other: Instagram: @annieclavelart