- Interview with Valentine Hochart, 20, Bachelor in Management (BSc) student (London - Madrid - Berlin track) and self-taught painter. -
Valentine is no stranger to different cultures, at the age of 18, she had already racked up a repertoire of living in four different countries (China, France, Hungary, Portugal) and travelling to New Zealand, Jordan and Brazil to name only a few. Being passionate for art, Valentine expresses the experiences she gained while immersing herself in other cultures in her drawings. Now that she has recently turned 20, she can say that she held her own exhibition, an impressive feat all while being a full-time business student. We spoke with Valentine about her fascinating artwork, how it felt to exhibit her drawings at the ESCP Europe Berlin campus and how her vast travel experiences influenced her art.
What provides you with inspiration when drawing?
I find my major inspiration through my travel experiences as well as daily life situations. My influences are first and foremost my trips, everything I see, feel and experience essentially translates into what I am drawing. Drawing and therapy are not so far apart for me. I don’t necessarily mean “therapy” in the sense of traditional therapy, I just find that drawing provides me with an escape from my busy mind… We all need a remedy for our daily preoccupations and frustrations in life. Drawing is no different to me than an athlete sweating in a really hard workout, musicians putting their hearts out on their sleeves with their music or innocent babies crying away their tears.
What are your biggest influences when it comes to art?
I have always had a great love for pop art… Andy Warhol and his iconic paintings are really a favourite of mine, he is definitely one of the artists that I admire the most. Moreover, ever since a young age, I have been interested in the fashion industry and René Gruau’s sophisticated illustrations and fashion photography. They have been a constant source of inspiration for me.
You said earlier that your travel experiences provide you with the inspiration to start drawing. Your exhibition proved that you have a great selection of artwork… With all your completed projects standing now in front of you, what would you say they represent?
My artwork reproduces the social, political and cultural shocks and discoveries I encountered throughout my journeys and living experiences abroad. I feel as if I have experienced a lot from my years in Asia and my trips to New Zealand, Jordan, Brazil and more. I won’t forget my years in Europe, with the ESCP Europe Bachelor in Management (BSc) programme that gave me the ability to change country every year and meet so many new people… It greatly added to my portfolio of countries and provided me with the chance to continue my passion of living and experiencing new places. I’ll make it short and sweet: ethnicity and culture play a key role in my portraits. Glancing upon my portraits, I really hope they sweep you off to one of my many journeys.
If you had to select one piece of artwork from your inspiring collection, which one would you pick and why?
I usually find this question tough because like many other artists would agree, we have the incessant need to criticize our work. I suppose that need coupled with my passion for art is the one thing that always pushes me to do better. It’s truly a never-ending loop that never ceases to amaze me! With drawing and painting you can add, replace and make changes ad infinitum. While fascinating, it also means that I will never be a hundred percent satisfied with my work and there will always be room for improvement!
Regardless of this all, if I had to choose one, here’s one I am particularly proud of. I believe this portrait really understands and portrays the emotions of a woman with its expressive nature.
How did the idea of an exhibition come to you? And how did did it feel to see your artwork displayed all around the ESCP Europe Berlin campus?
I must say, the credit here goes to my friends. They thought that the opportunity to exhibit my work would touch me a lot more from its symbolic value than just any other materialistic gift. They supported me, helped me organize this exhibition and in turn gave my artwork visibility, which I really appreciate! I have really made amazing friends here at ESCP Europe… I’m so thankful for all the effort they put into my birthday present.
I was really overjoyed and humbled by all the feedback and support I got from my friends, classmates and the community at ESCP Europe Berlin. Who knew that bringing my art into a business school would interest so many people! It’s a surreal experience to see my artwork all around ESCP Europe Berlin whenever I enter the School.
What will you do once the exhibition is over? Any last words?
I would really just like to say “Thank you to all whether you simply looked at my artwork, supported me or gave me your priceless encouraging words… I don’t have anything in the pipeline yet, but my major take-away from this exhibition has me convinced that I should keep on drawing!”