Solenn has always been like a sister to me. Our fathers, fresh off the boat from Europe in the late 70s, met our beautiful Filipina mothers in the Philippines, and the rest is history. Growing up together going to the Lycée Français de Manille, Solenn was always strong in the arts. Her creative side was one of her best assets and she would come up with beautiful art works and fun creative projects with her brother, Erwan.
From oil on canvas to band rehearsals, we enjoyed many afternoons following our imagination. I would have never guessed that she would end up being the multi-talented showbiz personality that she is today. While a superstar, Solenn stays true to herself, and the work in her second solo art show portrays just that.
I managed to catch her for a couple of minutes and asked her a bit more about this venture of hers. It is a pleasure for me to see her go back to her roots and enjoy the canvas, with her little nephew Kaeden in tow.
Steph Kienle-Gonzalez: How long have you been painting- can you let us know when your interest in art started?
Solenn Heussaff: I started painting at the age of 3. My parents made me take Saturday classes with a Spanish woman called Madame Legalle, and she would make us paint on many different textures with different materials, from painting on silk to glass, to canvas and many more. I guess that’s where it started.
SKG: What is your favorite medium of art?
SH: I would have to say mixed media and acrylic. It looks more raw when mixed and you get to play around with textures. Acrylic is my favorite because it dries faster then oil, allowing me to erase quickly if I need to.
SKG: What is your process? How do you start a canvas?
SH: I paint from photos. So it all starts with a good picture. My subjects are always people, as I like to imagine the lives they live and I love how everyone can have different interpretations.
SKG: When did nephew Kaeden get in the picture?
SH: Kaeden was at my studio once and i gavee him paper to draw on. He kept wanting to touch the one I was painting, so I allowed him to take a brush and try it out. And the rest is history. He literally became my human paintbrush. He chooses the colors too so it makes my artworks look fearless since there is no 'stucture' and he uses colors I wouldnt even think of pairing together. It makes the painting look naive. And I like that.
SKG: How has your art or process changed since Kaeden joined you?
SH: For the past year and a half we have been painting together. I turn the canvas around every now and then, throw water on it, then he uses his hands. Or, I make him run on it, so its impossible to recreate on another one making each work so special. Working with Kaeden has definitely brought more life to my subjects in more ways than one.
SKG: Let’s talk about content... tell us what you like to paint about and why you chose those subjects?
SH: KALSADA is based on people I have come across while on the road. I wanted people to see the streets through my eyes and see the reality of things and how people live daily.
SKG: Can you please tell us a bit more about the collaboration and what it means to you?
SH: I didnt want Kalsada to just be an exhibit. I wanted it to be an experience. The gallery is decked out to look and feel like the streets. We have a very talented team of set designers that are mounting details from the street. We also have a sari-sari store bar with cocktails inspired by my favorite "street" drinks like a milo dinausor old fashioned, halo-halo rhum fizz and more, created by my brother Erwan.
I will also have a taho vendor during the exhibit, wearing LAHI a brand of proud pinoy hand-embroidered jackets made by my sister Vanessa, my friend/designer Mia Arcenas and myself. The jackets will also be hanging in for of a 'Sampayan' during the event. People will also "hear" the streets with sounds by Mars Miranda with Radom noises like buses honking, the shout of the balut vendor, kids running and playing, etc.
Since the paintings are inspired by the streets , a percentage of the proceeds will go to helping Kalipay Foundation that houses and helps abused street children.
SKG: What’s next for #solennart?
SH:I will be joining a few group exhibits but with one artwork per show. Let’s see where it goes from here. But my next solo exhibit will definitely not be for another few years. So I really hope people get to visit Kalsada.
Here are some of Solenn's artworks from Kalsada:
Two girls on paper
Wet market scene
Boy with yellow shorts on paper
Garlic seller in the market.
Women with fans. Find Kaeden's hand print :)
Three women in traditional clothing
Solenn Heussaff striking a pose in front of her artwork.
Solenn Heussaff's nephew Kaeden.
The artist Solenn Heussaff and her husband Nico Bolzico.
Mika Lagdameo - Martinez
With my two girls. :)
Jessica Kienle-Maxwell with baby Luca.
Cluster.ph Travel Contributor, Marc Nelson
Xandra Rocha-Araneta, Niccolo Jose, Jessica Tan Gan and Patti Grandidge-Herrera, Cluster.ph Food Contributor
With Harlan + Holden's Mia San Agustin and W Talent Management's General Manager, Pia Campos.