Julie Lansom makes lamps with her hands. Long time photographer and now a handcrafted decoration designer since 2013, Julie is a versatile artist, who swings between her camera and her design studio. She is based in Paris.
KALTBLUT: What is your artistic background?
Julie : I’ve tried every possible artistic area when I was a child with more and less success and I’ve always been building stuff with my hands. I didn’t study Art though. I guess I preferred to keep it simple and intuitive. I’ve been taking photos for a while now and am working with a great gallery and I started making a living of my objects a few months ago.
KALTBLUT: Your last project, the “SPUTNIK LAMPS” is entirely handmade. How long does it takes you to realize one lamp?
Julie: A looooong time ! I have the structures made for me by a carpenter, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to answer to all the orders I have ! Then I paint them and weave them myself. The weaving part is of course the longest, and it really depends on the size of the lamp, but making one lamp takes me a few days. It is a meticulous work and you really have to be patient and passionate to make it.
KALTBLUT: What was your inspiration this project?
Julie: I was inspired by a system of notches that I found on a 1960’s lamp I bought in a flea market. The lamp had quite a boring shape and very bad materials and colors but I thought that there was something to do with the idea. I didn’t know what I was gonna do with it back then, I just took it home because I thought there was something interesting about it. Then the Sputniks started to grow up in my mind and became an entire collection.
KALTBLUT: You also have realized a rug, also entirely handmade. Why is it so important to you to have a product 100% handmade.
Julie : I like the idea that an object is someone’s idea and is made by that same person. I feel like we’re loosing the idea of time, we need everything right now, in big quantities and most of the objects we buy don’t have any story behind them. I like the fact that every object I make is one of a kind, unique and you will never find the same one in someone else’s home. And of course I also really like making stuff with my hands. It’s my meditation moment.
KALTBLUT: Do you consider yourself more as a photographer or more as a product designer?
Julie : I don’t really consider myself as anything, I let people do that for me.
KALTBLUT: How does your photographer side influence your designer side?
Julie: I’m not sure. It’s two very different areas and the link between them isn’t that obvious for me. I guess they must be some things in common as this is the same person taking photos and making things, so the same sensitivity in both of them… But it’s hard to see if one influences the other. The cool aspect is that I can take photos of my lamps myself !
KALTBLUT: Do you have any mentor, artist that inspires you?
Julie: So many ! I’m not really good at dropping names and I’m weirdly not very inspired by design in general but so many things and people inspire me ! The work of Lenore Tawney was amazing and really inspired me.
KALTBLUT: What are you working on at the moment?
Julie: I’m also working on a few other objects that should be out beginning of 2015. I’m also working as an editor on a photography book that will be publishing a lot of young and very talented photographers through my blog SOOC. The book will be out in a few weeks, it’s going to be great, I can’t wait ! And of course I’m still working on the lamps, the orders I have, new shapes I’m developing. I have the least boring job I could have!
Interview by Nicolas Simoneau