When Florence Balducci dips her quill into her magical inkwell, she takes us along through a whirl of meticulous details, insects, and flowers to tell her marvelous stories. This artist and illustrator opened the doors to her fantastical world for us in this perfumed, poetic encounter.
Tell us about yourself and your education.
I spent my childhood looking at plants and animals with my Uncle Hilaire, a forest ranger in the Vosges mountains. That certainly contributed to the creation of my current bestiary universe. My degree from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Art in Nancy helped me to imagine and flesh out my penchant for offbeat ideas and for drawing. I then worked for more than twenty years as an art director at varous advertising agencies.
In 2011, you decided to devote yourself to your drawing. What are your sources of inspiration?
I had the opportunity to test different means of expression, such as dance or theater, but drawing is ultimately what has always captivated me. I’ve always carried notebooks with me and I’ve even drawn blind, in my pocket, so that I wouldn’t miss out on any part of a story.
My inspiration often comes from literature, theater, museums, or art books. I can’t imagine visiting a country that doesn’t have museums or libraries.
I can’t draw without using words; my time spent as an adwoman definitely left its imprint on me.
How did you come into contact with Fragonard?
I had worked for houses such as Pierre Frey, Anthropologie, and Gien porcelain. When I went to Fragonard’s Perfume Museum, I discovered the many treasures on show, and I was instantly drawn to this universe. I wanted to find out more about Fragonard, so I began visiting the boutiques and following Agnès Costa’s Instagram account. I love how Fragonard mixes things; it’s so inspired and inspiring. I just love it! This made me want to meet the creative team and propose a collaboration that mixes our two worlds.
Can you tell us about your collaboration with Fragonard?
When I showed my work on flowers, that’s what prompted the collaboration. In no time, we began to imagine precious, illuminated boxes that would tell beautiful stories of flowers, to be opened this holiday season!