Fabienne Meyer is very good at a breath-taking number of things: Artist, author, illustrator, and co-founder of both a publishing house and the creative studio and PR agency Rooo are just some of the hats she lays claim.
2020, Berlin, snapshots of Fabienne Meyer's studio.
Meyer's style is visually gorgeous, a blend of Matisse-esque forms with oh-so-Jacquemus S/S 2020 bright colors
Left: 2020, "Pedicure", by Fabienne Meyer, Right: 2020, "Paw Patch" by Fabienne Meyer
It is, after all, as she freely admits, easier, cheaper, and provides more opportunity for experimentation, without having to invest in a great deal of expensive oil paint. However, what I find fascinating is her distinction between her works in oils. I expected, perhaps naively, that oils would provide a more deliberate approach, a traditional medium where she could take her time. However, Meyer takes the opposite view. She finds that she can be more free in oils, in part due to the size of her canvases. She talks about her need in oils to capture a single moment, relying on serendipity and avoiding as much as possible “overpainting and overthinking”, as she puts it. In the digital sphere, she finds herself providing more context, and takes more time with her pieces. “It’s a good balance”, Meyer tells me. One of her fully digital works is a charming children's picture book, “Der Tapeten Tapir”, published last year, which Meyer tells me was created entirely with an iPad. Unlike the fleeting world of her oils, the digital sphere here enabled Meyer to create an entire world and a much more detailed narrative. Interestingly, this approach is somewhat echoed in Hockney, who also delights in using the digital world to focus on details that can only be appreciated through quite literally zooming in.
One thing I find myself compelled to ask is her feelings on chairs. For one of her works displayed on Pieza, “Wobbly Chair”, she provided the caption “chairs are so aesthetic”. It would be remiss of my journalistic integrity not to inquire further, so I do.
Meyer tells me that she views the humble chair as a lightning rod for artists: after all, as she says: "all designers have their chair”.
From Eames to Le Corbusier, she is, naturally, completely right. I inquire as to whether Meyer has her own chair; she tells me she has several. “For my apartment, I’d definitely have something classy. But in my art? It’s never realistic.” Reminiscent of poor Barbie, she describes how the chairs featured in her work “probably couldn’t even stand up”, but are instead celebrations of colour and form, describing her “Wobbly Chair” as resembling a human body in its tactility.
2020, "Wobbly chair", by Fabienne Meyer
This mention of touch, of course, brings us inevitably to the elephant in the room that is this year of our Lord, 2020. How has she been coping with the lockdown? (At time of writing, Germany had just entered a second partial lockdown). She tells me that during the first wave, whilst many of us were baking banana bread and bingeing Tiger King, she decided to co-found a PR and design agency. Rooo-a clever name derived from acronymising Virginia Woolf’s 1929 essay “A Room of One’s Own”- seeks to provide space for both Meyer and her clients. She freely admits the timing of it wasn’t easy, and speaks of the loneliness that comes from founding an agency primarily in a digital space, but is also sanguine about the potential setbacks. “Clients come back”, she tells me, “even in a pandemic.” Instead of focusing on the negatives, she speaks enthusiastically about the upsides to being forced into taking one’s time starting a new business. Whilst she relies on speed for her artistic work, delighting in capturing a moment without overpainting or overthinking, Rooo has provided Meyer with an opportunity to take her time. The greater sparsity of clients has proved Rooo with the ability to be more selective, and only take on the projects that they truly believe in. Meyer is also quick to emphasise that this more curated approach also enables them to dedicate their efforts to truly fun projects.