Charles Daly

Writer

Category: Orange Typewriter (page 1 of 2)

Interview: Alizé Meurisse – Novelist, Painter, Parisian

Back in 2012, while studying abroad in Paris, I did an interview with Alizé Meurisse that became one of my first blog posts and kicked off the Orange Typewriter series.

Alizé is back to talk about her new novel, Ataraxia, and the journey that has produced four novels, a book of artwork, a few album covers, a solo art exhibition, and a clothing line inspired by her work, all before 30.    


Judging by your books, you’re  a serious people watcher, particularly re: women and men.

I guess so. People are interesting. I am a woman and I’m interested in a woman’s experience. In Neverdays I wrote a masculine narrator, you don’t have to be a man to do that. The whole “write about you know” thing is a bit limited. Art, by definition deals with the universal.

With the new novel I’ve tried to explore SciFi as a way to get out of here and now. A poetic way to talk about issues and talk about the world. It’s like a mirror for our inner theatre and society and the self. 

Ataraxia looks at the way we negotiate with our own consciousness, that tight-rope we walk everyday between compromise and internal consistency: I’m a vegetarian but I’m okay with my leather shoes. I’m an environmentalist who leaves the tap on. I found it was easier to talk about these issues through the lens of SciFi

 

But you’re not ideological. You don’t seem to have an axe to grind. 

It’s about seeing the big picture and the mechanisms at work in our lives.  My interest in those mechanisms came from issues with my own femininity as a teenager. I was upset over the way women are perceived and groomed to be. From that understanding I became kinder and was able to step out of the system myself. Before I figured that out I really had issues with other women and with being one.

 

I don’t know how to put this, but not every writer belongs in a Parisian fashion line… The great feminist Norman Mailer wrote something about how most writers grow up on the sidelines (in American football) and don’t get asked to the big dance and writing is their solace. He argued that it can be hard out there for writers who are easy on the  eyes and socially well adjusted, like they don’t fit in with the misfits.

I probably found the same  solace in drawing and writing and everything. I  don’t feel popular and pretty.

Also my idea of attractiveness has always been a little removed and voyeuristic. Society seems to have a voyeuristic  attraction to artists who drink a lot and take drugs, which I don’t. I would rate myself as interesting or attractive by that standard.

 

What do you think of Paris? Your hometown does happen to be the spiritual home of the arts, but I feel like people who aren’t from there have a very different perspective. We Hemingway-ize the hell out of it.  

I like Paris but it’s very expensive now.  I don’t live the glamorous Parisian life other artists might lead and others might imagine. London has undergone the same change but somehow stays more vibrant. I think it’s up to the young people to keep the scene alive. I haven’t been but I hear Berlin has the hype that Paris once had.

To me Paris a very isolating place. The isolation has improved a little since I adopted a cat. 

You were a painter first, right?

Alize-MeurisseYes. I was always drawing as a kid, writing came later. I only came to enjoy reading literature in high school when I started to understand how a text works. It’s always been about the inner workings of the text for me. I’m more interested in the layers of structure than the outer polish of plot and context.

I prefer the poetry of language to pure story. I think that’s related to drawing and painting. Words are another material, like a brush, like paint.

 

Did you have any formal training as an artist?

There’s an established path for artists in France, I didn’t follow that track. I ran away at 19.

When I was in high school my parents got divorced. I did a 2 year prep course (after high school) in philosophy and lit. When I finished my dad really wanted me to go to uni so we didn’t get along. It got to where he was going to kick me out if I didn’t go. At one point he told me that if I thought I could become a so-called artist and still have a roof over my head I had another think coming. I was so outraged by the injustice of his words I left in a fury. It wasn’t so much his reservations about an artist’s life–that was fair enough–but the way he assumed I was lying and manipulating. I held myself to a very high moral standard in those days and being called a liar was unthinkable. 

Anyway, I called his bluff: I slammed the door,  packed my little suitcase with my Nikon FM camera, and went to London to be an artist. I was 19.

London seemed like a natural choice because it was close and I had studied English in school.  London’s pretty attractive it feels like anything can happen there.

Alize-meurisseI took photos of famous British bands. When I got back, publishers were interested in doing a coffee table book but one publisher told me the book was a bad idea. They said people would only see the fame and I’d be invisible. But let’s see your writing. 

When I decided to turn down the money for the coffee table book and write a novel my father was again furious “who do you think you are! ‘A writer!?’ Get over yourself. You should take the money you’re lucky to be offered for those photos… etc”.
Again I slammed the door behind me. The opposition spurred me on. And of course when the novel came out he was very proud.


I guess sometimes you need to feel that someone has faith in you and I’ve often been lifted by that kind of support. But nay-sayer also have their use in terms of motivation. With hindsight I’m glad I had something to push back against.

It all could have gone very differently. It’s not luck, but when you’re that young you don’t think in terms of a future and a career. I had no idea where any of it was going. What was lucky was my living situation. Because I had a camera a lot of people opened their doors. I could squat anywhere and that changed things. Having a day job makes it harder.

One thing I learned doing it that way is that mistakes aren’t really mistakes.

I chose a very different path but many people need the support and structure of art school. There’s more of that internal negotiation with ourselves. I made it work in a way that worked for me.

 

Were the album covers an offshoot of that London project?

Those came a bit later, after the first novels. I did the Babyshamble’s cover for “Shotter’s Nation” and then Peter’s (Doherty) solo album.

grace/watelands-peter-doherty-solo-album-alize-meurisseshotters-nation-babyshambles-album-cover-alize-meurisse

It’s no secret that there’s a lot of hard drugs in that scene in London. What was that like as a teetotaling observer? In my experience it tends to be the innocent bystanders who catch most of the shrapnel in an addict’s life.

I learned a lot. Trust is funny, you never have any guarantees trusting anyone, but when it comes to any addict you  have the guarantee that the trust will be broken. So people just give up and walk away.

Personally, I’ve never been a big party girl. Even around bands, to me it was more of a clan and a community than a rock and roll bacchanalia.

Publishers like autobiographical fiction. But that’s not me, I don’t have the lifestyle you see in my books. Being around that stuff requires balance. As a person you’re looking for a sense of health and happiness but at the same time you need to let in a little chaos. That’s another one of those bargains, that’s the idea underlying the new novel. Every choice we make matters.

 

Alize-meurisseDo you ever worry about being defined by that time in your life? Your British rock cred does seem to be the first they bring up in reviews and interviews.

It can be a bit frustrating, but you expect people to mention it. You can’t live on bitterness and frustration. The variety of life experiences is so much bigger than any one event or accomplishment. That’s what I’m interested in. 

 

What does research look like for you?

Never thought about seeking out settings and subjects. I like not having a settled life and having the freedom to do something spontaneous. I wonder should I travel? I adopted a cat recently, that’s been a big change. It’s soothing to come home to her, but If I find myself thinking about the possibility of taking a trip six months from now, maybe a trip that I wouldn’t have even considered if I didn’t have this attachment. I can’t so I won’t.

I don’t put myself through things in order to write. I think you have to live your life and if you have something to write then you should write it.  

 

Your first two novels are short, right in that word-count range that’s supposed to make publisher’s nervous. Do you think about that sort of thing?

I’ve always written the books I was interested in figuring out. It’s like a puzzle. Each has its own rules and I’m excited to figure those out. This one was different, more like a camera’s eye moving around. Everything happens in front of you. It’s not meant to be funny, it’s not first person, so you don’t get the same closeness as you do with the other books.

As for an audience, I didn’t think about what the larger public wants, I’ve been lucky to work with publishers who feel the same.

alize-meurisse

Your style has been compared to a “couteau Suisse” (Swiss Army knife.)

That comes from collage. Depth comes from that correspondence of different parts. A text works the same way–visually.

You always hit a moment where you have to replenish yourself, it’s always good to turn to something else, like drawing or painting and come back.

 

What’s something you see a lot in fiction that you don’t like?

I don’t like it when an author is not aware of their own prism, especially when it comes to men writing about women.

Alize-meurisseDo you find you learn a lot from work you don’t like?

Definitely. Rather than getting angry about it, I exercise my right to reply.

 

Who should we read?

I keep reading but my goes blank when anyone asks about favorites. It’s the same with movies. I can’t think in terms of favorites. I guess you could compare it to food right? You eat, you get hungry, but you don’t have a menu in your head.

 

Any thoughts on the future of publishing?

It’s been really eye opening to change publishers. I had to learn what’s going on and the politics involved. But I don’t know what’s going to happen. If anything  it’s (e-publishing) only going to raise the standards for print.

The publishing industry likes safe bets from massive success. I don’t think that will change.

 

I’ve heard other French writers and readers praise Irish/Anglo/American fiction for the way our writers play with language and structure. They say that’s just not done the same way in French. My French isn’t good enough to put that theory to the test.

It’s true. That’s why I love reading in English.

 

The one exception I can think of is Jean Genet

I loved Genet straight away for his use of language.

 

It’s amazing how he can make such an unpleasant subject so emotionally captivating. (Prison sex, for those of you who don’t know.)

That’s the power of poetics. Nabokov’s Lolita does that too.

 

alize-meurisse-jumper-each-otherWe read that book in a class on narrative in college. One young lady told the class it made her wonder, “Was I a ‘nymphet’ at that age?”

It’s so sad, but as women, we’re taught to care about the man’s opinion of us, even if he is a monster like Humbert Humbert.


Do you ever write in English?

I do, and I absolutely love it. Writing in English is like the moment when you check your bags at the airport and you’re free to move around.

 

What’s your process when it comes to painting?

I don’t analyze what I’m doing. Some things work, some things don’t. Not very conceptual I guess. I’m more interested in art alize-meurissewhere you can see the artist’s body in action. Like drawing where you see the hand of interaction between artist and medium.

Conceptual art is like a detective story, once you know “who done-it” there’s nothing there for you anymore. I prefer that fossil trace of the artist. I want to make art that stands up in time, even for a single person, something you can come back to again and again.

The art that I enjoy most makes me want to make things.  

 

Is the “right to reply” related to loneliness in any way? You don’t that connection from a frustrating piece of art so you must connect in your own way.

It’s more of a pure pleasure I think. When I see art that I love it makes me want to make art because the pleasure I get from it is such a high. And the stuff that I disagree with, I just exercise a kind of “right of reply” (most of the time a female right of reply to a patriarchal perspective which I find oppressive and enraging, but it happens with many other subject matters too)

I’ve never been all that active on social media not written a blog or a journal, but I’m happy to post whatever doodle or iPhone pic I might have taken that day that “connection” is very nice on a daily basis although I think the work demands a certain amount of solitude. Of forgetting oneself.

 

Have you got any advice for the person you were ten years ago?

My First book was in 2007, so ten years ago I was working on that. It’s interesting you should ask that because sometimes I wish I could just Alize-Meurisseedit my life, but at the same time if you’re happy with the place you’re in now you don’t want to change it and that includes the times that lead you to that place.

I don’t know that I would give myself advice but I wish I could go back and give myself a hug.

 

What keeps you going?

At the end of (writing) each novel there’s the fear you won’t write another. You don’t have it in you to write another right away and the fear is maybe you won’t. But if you have that writing bug you will be filled again and you’ll have to get it all out on the page.

Painting is much more location dependent. I may move someday for the painting.

People say you have to suffer, but there’s real highs to the writing.

 

So you must be in that place right now… What’s next?

alize-meurisse

I find that after dedicating myself fully to a project I’m not ready to jump straight into something else, there’s a transition period; a palate cleanser moment when I need to get some rest, to replenish, until the need/will to create comes back. A season-like cycle if you will.


I don’t have a routine, sometimes you have to allow yourself to do nothing. At all. Stay empty. And sometimes you have to push yourself a bit to get started again, but so far I’ve found that the happiness I get from creating stuff (writing/drawing) is embedded deep within me, that’s the way I am/see the world/process it/digest it. Of course there are moments of doubt when you wonder whether you’ve still got it in you ; but I guess you learn to go with the flow and not worry during the quieter times which are just as important as the more manic ones, some things happen under the surface.


And I think the recent disappointment in my old publishing company; the anguish of feeling betrayed and misunderstood has given me both the opportunity to fight for my work (I couldn’t have rested until it got published, so much work had to come full circle) but afterward I felt a sort of peace… like I had nothing to prove to myself or anyone anymore, in terms of ambition etc. It was humbling I guess, I realised I was ok with working in a shop and not publishing anything else again.


I guess if I start working and caring about another book the need to release it to the world will come back. But I guess what I’m trying to say is that I was on a path, in a publishing company that wasn’t just thinking in terms of books (each book being it’s own separate project) but in terms of my “carrier” and their own “reputation” (they feared the latter would be threatened by the publication of this book), and this sort of consideration really doesn’t sit well with me.
You always want your books to be well received, and when you’re young you have something to prove yourself so it matters even more. But I’m 30, I know even if I never make a living with my art, that’s ok. I just hope I’ll have other things to release into the world because I know it will be a source of great joy for me; working is such a high.
Sorry about the rambling…

you’re catching me at the lowest ebb
In a nutshell I guess what’s next is perseverance

 


Images courtesy of Alizé Meurisse

This interview has been edited for content and length. 

Congratulations, Jim Ruland

Jim Ruland’s Forest of Fortune has been named 2015’s ‘Best Contemporary Fiction’ by the San Diego Book Awards. Ruland’s Giving the Finger, the story of Alaska crab fisherman Scott Campbell, Jr., tied for first in the memoir category. 

FROM DALY PROSE–MAY, 2015: 
 Jim Ruland’s debut novel, Forest of Fortune is a new classic of California noir. It’s Raymond Chandler in the age of polyamory, Dashiell Hammett with a novelty coke straw up its nose, Inherent Vice after the yuppies stormed the beaches and nudged all the freaks east of the 405. The setting, a “possibly haunted” Indian casino is hysterical, the players are human and heartbreaking. No blurb could really do Forest justice, so let’s hear Jim read it. Here you have the infamous Korean Gangster threesome:




Read Jim Ruland’s Daly Prose interview Here.

The Rats of Hyper-Reality–a Chat with Jim Ruland

Jim Ruland’s debut novel, Forest of Fortune is a new classic of California noir. It’s Raymond Chandler in the age of polyamory, Dashiell Hammett with a novelty coke straw up its nose, Inherent Vice after the yuppies stormed the beaches and nudged all the freaks east of the 405. The setting, a “possibly haunted” Indian casino is hysterical, the players are human and heartbreaking. No blurb could really do Forest justice, so let’s hear Jim read it. Here you have the infamous Korean Gangster threesome:
 
 
Jim Ruland is among the California Republic’s most energetic and collaborative authors. He commands an army with his Vermin on the Mount reading series. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Believer, Granta, Hobart, Los Angeles Times, Oxford American, McSweeneys, and Razorcake. He is the author of the short story collection Big Lonesomeand co-author of Giving the Fingerthe memoir of an Alaskan crab fisherman. I caught Jim on his way to Prague for Vermin’s European tour
 
 
Tell us about Forest of Fortune.
jim--ruland--forest--of--fortune 
Forest of Fortune tells the story of three haunted souls trapped in an Indian casino on a reservation in Southern California with a slot machine that may or may not be haunted. It is useful to know that I worked at an Indian casino for over five years. I like to call it my autobiographical ghost story.

Will there be a sequel?  
I think so. I don’t want to drop any spoilers so I won’t say too much, but at the end of the book some characters get out of the casino while others stay behind. I’m interested in following both storylines. I think one of the secondary characters in the novel could end up becoming a protagonist in the follow up. And I’d like to saddle Pemberton, the character who is the most autobiographical, with another ridiculous job: as a writer for a magazine that is a distribution vehicle for a notorious series of soft-core porn videos.
                                               


Tell us about THIS IS NOT A CAMERA.To celebrate the launch of the paperback of Forest of Fortune, I put out a series of short essays about what it was like to work in an Indian casino during the recession. The pieces were originally published by McSweeney’s and I’ve gathered them in a zine with photos, promos and fake logos. You can order THIS IS NOT A CAMERA for under a buck.
 

Dependence and addiction of all sorts feature prominently in your work, what is it about those states?
 
 
Addiction and dependence are altered states taken to their unnatural extremes, but it seems to me that the desire to shatter the status quo and break free of our body’s baseline consciousness is endemic to the human experience. Consider how difficult a process it is to distill spirits or make drugs in the natural world, yet just about every culture found a way to do it. Not to sound like Allen Ginsburg, but it’s how we become holy. 
 
 
Your work is a mix of solo projects and more collaborative endeavors. You seem to give both a lot of love and attention. How do you balance these in a given working day? 
I’m not sure that I do. I am by nature an all-or-nothing type of person. If I have a bunch of interviews to transcribe for a project, for example, my goal will be to work on them for an hour a day. But I’m never satisfied and that hour turns to two or more. Then I feel like I’m ahead of the game and I’ll turn my attention to the story or novel I’m working on, but then I’ll get sucked up in that and it might take me a couple of days to get back to the interviews and I’m behind again. I was never very good at moderation, which is why I’m a recovering alcoholic. The best advice I can give is to use what little time you have as best as you can with as much intensity as you can muster and have faith that it will all work out in the end.
 
 
This blog deals a lot with creativity hacks. How do you work?
I find that if I get something down first thing in the morning – whether it’s transcribing, a book review, or one of my own projects – it helps me sharpen my focus with respect to how I spend the rest of my free time that day. I have a day job and work from home so its important to do something for me first. I had a realization last year that the bulk of the writing I do will never appear in a book. That really helped me focus my energy on books projects and making sure I do something every day to move the book projects forward.
 

Wesley Rothman, Show us Where you Show up

To kick off our Show us Where you Show up series: meet Wesley Rothman, a Boston poet and “Baldwin disciple” originally from back west. You can find his work pretty much everywhere fine poems are printed, including the walls of Boston City hall later this month. Wes, take it away… 

1. Who are you, where can we find you and your work?

I’m a poet and critic. I’m a regular reviewer for American Microreviews and Interviews. Other critical work has appeared in Rain Taxi Review of BooksPrairie SchoonerSoutheast ReviewThe RumpusPloughshares, among other venues. Some interviews and essays are featured in Tupelo QuarterlyFour Way ReviewThe Missouri Review, and Connotation Press: An Online Artifact
2. What’s you’re creativity hack of choice?

If a poem or essay isn’t already churning in my mind, my go-to practice for generating work is reading. There’s always a new book of poetry or essays to read, and revisiting older favorites not only pulls me into the space of crafting, but often throws phrases, words, or reactions at me which spin out into new drafts, explorations of a new poem. I also love what visual art does for making a poem draft.

3. What are you working on?

I’m in the late stages of shaping my first collection of poems, SUBWOOFER–an exploration and interrogation of white privilege in America, a ‘prayer’ book to language and sound and voice and listening, an attempt to enter the ongoing process of redemption.

Wesley has work forthcoming in Narrative, Crab Orchard Review, Post Road, Waxwing, Mississippi Review,Poet Lore, and an anthology published by Math Paper Press, edited by Peter LaBerge and Talin Tahajian, called Poets on Growth.Facebook: wesley.rothman & poetwesleyrothman. Twitter: @wesleyrothman.

*Show us where you show up, brings you the work spaces and work habits of working writers and artists at work. Click here for details.

Hannah Day on Etsy

Check out artwork by orange typewriter guest Hannah Day on her Etsy page. You’ll find prints, woodcuts, and drawings in a range of prices; perfect for the tree lovers and art hugers in your life…

hanna--day
From the series Portraits of the Trees of Paris 
by Hannah Day
available now on etsy.

Bonus: Alizé Meurisse’s Orange Typewriter Draft

Alizé Meurisse’s orange typewriter draft, typos and all:

Alize--Meurisse--typewriter--interview
Alize--Meurisse--parapluie
‘Parapluie’  


Alize--Meurisse--typewriter--interview
Alize--Meurisse--flowers
‘Flowers’ 

The Orange Typewriter joins the Springsioux Tribe

Springsioux
Alisa Gusakova
Rings by Springsioux
Photo by Sime Eskinja
The orange typewriter welcomes Pierre-Antoine De Myttenaere and Alisa Gusakova, founders of the lifestyle brand Springsioux. This summer they will launch a collection made by a ‘tribe’ of artists from Paris and beyond. Drawing from street art, tattooing, after hours culture, and music (with a mix-tape on their website). Springsioux began with an update on the rock and roll essential, the black t-shirt, adding creatures from Native American lore.

  Springsioux’s 2012 line features silk t-shirts, fish leather bracelets, and a capsule collection combining silver and fur by Orange Typewriter Guest and fur master Quentin Veron.

S&D: How did you assemble the tribe?

PA: Springsioux began with a t-shirts line I put together when I was playing in a new wave band. Alisa managed our Russian tour and during this trip we shared ideas and realized we had a lot in common. We found a perfect balance between creative energy and business so we decided to partner up and launch a jewelry line.

Our friend Photographer Pierre Yves Toledano was also with us during this Russian tour that gave birth to a team with the motto: work hard, party harder. 

Springsioux
Pierre-Antoine live in
St. Petersburg. 

S&D: What have been some influences on the style of Springsioux?

Alisa: We are influenced by underground subcultures linked to heavy metal, and by native American and Mexicans artwork. We try to combine both universes into something unique using unusual combinations of material like fish-leather and silver…I fell in love with fish-leather several years ago in Russia: we can credit Alexander Wang as a major inspiration for our work with this material.

Springsioux
the Tribe’s DJ Victoria Frangie

S&D: Has your personal look influenced Springsioux or visa versa?

Alisa: Our first creations were what we wanted to wear but couldn’t find in other brands. We don’t really think about what people are expecting to buy, we focus more on creating pieces we love. Springsioux gives us the opportunity to enhance and share our wardrobe and our personal style.

S&D: Tell us more about the Tribe’s Paris roots.

P.A: As the months passed, we gathered talented people who believed in us. DJ Victoria Frangie became our brand ambassador. Music video director Aurélien Offner joined the tribe, and we’ve recently started a collaboration with tattoo artist Eddie Czaicki on a t-shirt line which will be released in September. We are also currently working with fur designer Quentin Veron on an accessory line. As we collaborate we strengthen and expanded the tribe. This is what makes these projects totally exciting.

Springsioux
“Springsioux is a tribe, weaving through the crowd,
remaining alive in the darkness…”

S&D: The brand’s motto is ‘alive in the darkness’ describe what this means to you:

P.A: Springsioux has evolved in the shadows. We are not interested in the mainstream culture; our goal is to create something different and powerful, something for a person to wear while doing his/her own thing. We’re fighting against conformity and creating a community while we’re at it…Springsioux is a tribe, weaving through the crowd, remaining alive in the darkness.

Springsioux
Interview by Charlie Daly

Next time: The Orange Typewriter crosses the Atlantic and Lake Michigan to meet Craig Engel and Lorrisa Julianus: partners on stage, in the studio and in life.

Bonus: Quentin Veron’s Typewritten Draft

Here is the first draft of Quentin Veron’s orange typewriter interview, typos and all:

Quentin--Veron--typewriter--interview

Quentin--Veron--fur--feutre

Quentin--Veron--typewriter--interview
* * * 
charles--daly--orange--typewriter
Interview by Charlie Daly
Fur by Quentin Veron 

Hannah Day flies over to the orange typewriter

Hannah--Day

 
    California born, artist and environmentalist Hannah Day came to Paris this year to study French and to draw trees. A constant in Hannah’s work on both sides of the Atlantic, trees have extended their roots in this young artist’s life far beyond her sketchbooks. As a fruitarian, Hanna relies on trees for everything she eats. And she helps save the trees she paints by doing much of her work on used shopping bags and postcards. Her environmental concerns, green lifestyle, and artistic passions are spiritually grounded, if that’s the right word, in Hannah’s practice of ‘Flying’ yoga. Hannah is currently working on her first children’s book.

S&D: Why do you draw trees instead of sunsets, skyscrapers, or jam-jars? 

H.D: Well, I didn’t really choose to draw trees. In fact, I resisted the idea for quite a while, beginning when I did one drawing in my freshman year of college in which trees were an essential element; I was hesitant because trees are a common subject… It ended up being the first drawing I ever completed that I felt was truly successful. At the time I thought my drawing’s success was despite the trees, not because of  them. I realized that trees are only cliché the way a naked woman’s figure is cliché; artists have returned to them over and over for a reason.

Hannah--Day

S&D: You are a fruitarian, what role has this played in your artistic life?

H.D: It was when I began eating a diet based on raw, whole fruit that I truly became enamored with trees, and as a result, came to accept my habit of drawing them. Their being the source of every piece of succulent sustenance that I consume suddenly brought trees to life in a whole new way. My drawings became illustrations of my reverence for these beings that generously dispense bushels of delicious food. Fruit trees produce more calories per acre than any other crop, and are the only crop that gives back to the soil. At the same time, their branches provide shade and shelter to many a creature, including us, and their roots wind through the earth beneath them to offer stability to the surrounding terrain…The beauty of the simple existence of something so gracious as the fruit tree makes me feel an inexplicable joy which I feel may have saved my work from rolling down a more cynical road.

Hannah--Day

S&D: But Paris is a big, dirty city…why paris?

H.D: It was kind of something that I had always planned on doing. Ever since I started studying French I have wanted to be immersed in the language. I have changed a lot since I originally made those plans; there is very little about the lifestyle here that fits with my current love of the sun, nature and fresh produce—but the art remains. There is a creative energy here that is infectious. I feel that one is encouraged in his or her creative endeavors; art is not deemed a selfish use of one’s time, but a way of life, and a way to share one’s life. 
Hannah--Day


S&D: Advice for young painters?


H.D: The best advice I have ever received, as an artist, is to just keep working. Allow yourself to produce bad work—mountains of it—and don’t let it discourage you from continuing to create. My yoga teacher here in Paris once explained that the tradition of Kundalini Yoga believes that not only can we not prevent ourselves from making mistakes, but that we can not stop ourselves from making the same mistake numerous times. We must continue making the same mistake until we learn the lesson that we are intended to glean from finding ourselves in the confounding situation over and over again. The hardest part about being a young artist is trying to find what you want to talk about in your work, how to communicate what is driving you to sit yourself down in your studio, or in your room with your guitar, or in front of your typewriter.  
S&D: Advice for young environmentalists?

H.D: It is physically impossible to live on this planet without affecting the state of it and all of the creatures who live on it. But as with being an artist, the most important thing is not to be discouraged, and more than that, to never ever believe that all that you do, or all that you dream of doing, will be for naught.
Hannah--Day
Artwork courtesy of Hannah Day,
all rights reserved.
Interview by Charlie Daly

Next Time:  Next week, poet Margaux Curcuru returns to interview Stacks & Dropper’s Charlie Daly about the orange typewriter series, sex, swimming, and Oscar Wilde.

Alizé Meurisse: 2 paintings, 1 collage, and an ashtray

The orange typewriter series is proud to welcome painter, novelist, hip-hop lyricist, and Coup de Coer recipient, Alizé Meurisse. Her work has been shown in Paris and London, on canvasses that “engulf the viewer,” as Editions Alia editor Gérard Berréby put it, and touch themes from “travesty to sacrilege.” She has published two novels with Editions Alia: Pâle Sang Bleu (nominated for the Prix de Flore), and Roman à Clefs–all before her 26th birthday. Work from Alizé’s 2011 exhibition at Paris’ Galerie Nuke is available in book form as Pen Knife, which gets its title from the couto Swiss like versatility of this brilliant and busy young artist. 
Alize--Meurisse--Pete--Doherty--Grace--Wastelands--album--cover
‘Salomé’ was shown in London’s Cob Gallery
and appears on the cover of ‘Grace/Wastelands’
Pete Doherty’s  first solo album.


S&D: Which grabbed you first: painting or writing, are you formally schooled in either? 

A.M: as a child I used to draw a lot, as a teenager I wanted to be a painter… I left school behind when I was 19 (after two years of “classe préparatoire”)…haven’t been to art school or followed any writing course, I’m just curious and enthusiastic… and ambitious I guess! I mean I love writing and painting, I couldn’t stop, I need it.
Alize--Meurisse--untitled
Untitled
S&D:  Could you give us the meaning of your first name?
A.M: It’s the name of a tropical wind, from the Caribbean… but it’s also the name of a drink which is mentioned in some hip hop tracks (tupac, dre, etc), to New Yorkers it sounds like quite a “thug” name. 
There’s also a french pop singer who’s called “Alizee” (spelt with two “e”s though!) her hit single “Lolita” came out when I was about 14 so I got teased a bit. 
I think your name says a lot about you, I like mine. 
My brother calls me Zey.

S&D: Rimbaud or Baudelaire? (you have to choose…)

A.M: I like Both. I choose Verlaine!

Alize--Meurisse--petit--mort
‘Petite Mort’
from Alizé’s ‘Second Sex’ series

S&D: Why Paris?

A.M: Because I was born here…well, I’m from a Paris suburb (92) and moved to Paris when I was 10.

S&D: Picasso used to make his girlfriends and wives read the Marquis de Sade; is there a book you would prescribe to your friends and lovers?

A.M: I don’t know… there’s nothing I feel people absolutely HAVE TO have read, on the contrary I’d get bored with people who think and do just the same as I do. I’m interested in what my friends and lovers can make me discover!
Alize--Meurisse
Discover Alizé at
http://alizemeurisse.com/
Photo by Siegfried De Turckheim

                                                                                       
                                                                      
Next time: Tree-sketcher, environmentalist, and flying Yogi, 
Hannah Day visits the orange typewriter.
Alize--Meurisse--ashtray
Ashtray by Alizé,
interview by Charlie Daly
Photos Courtesy of
Alizé Meurisse.
Read the typewritten Draft!
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