I am in love with everything Nathalie Lete does. From the first time I saw her painted bedroom, I was deeply, deeply in love. Enamored, really. I started following her on IG right when she began her quarantine project of painting her home. I actually featured her paintings in my April roundup of favorites, that’s how long I’ve been swooning over her work daily. She brings such beauty and delight to my day. When she agreed to an interview, I was beyond thrilled. Her work is something out of a dream, and I’m so excited to share it with you. Let’s dive right in!
Name: Nathalie Lete
Currently residing: Between a suburb one street out of Paris and the countryside near Fontainebleau, an hour outside of Paris.
IG handle: @nathalie_lete
Nathalie’s hand-painted bedroom
Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself?
I’m a 56-year-old Parisian artist, mother of Angele (25 years old) and Oskar (22 years old) and married to artist Thomas Fougeirol.
Your art is so fun and whimsical. How would you describe your artistic style?
Between arts and craft, folk art and native art. I’m inspired by nature, animals, wonderland, vintage toys and colors.
Your home has become internet-famous after you painted all of the rooms. What inspired that project?
Since I was young and discovered the Charleston House from Bloomsbury group, I always wanted to do a project like this, to do an artist house, filled with my art. I bought the house three years ago with the idea of painting it. I began slowly to paint some corners here and there, but since I was in the house only on weekends, it was not so easy to go forward. With quarantine, I found the right occasion to do it. It was much easier to be concentrated and dive into the atmosphere of the house. I was totally cut off from the world and with less contacts from all my agencies or brands that I usually work with, and this helped a lot to be focused on this project and have the energy to do it.
You have worked on some really beautiful collaborations with other brands and products. Do you have any favorites?
In fashion, the most impressive were Gucci, H&M and Pero for different reasons. I loved to work with Astier de Villatte because its workshop is not far from mine, so I went there once a week for several years. I did really beautiful art pieces with them. I also loved my collaboration with Anthropologie. Thanks to them, many people discovered my work in the United States.
But in fact, also with all the smaller brands which whom I collaborate, it is always another relationship and new story and each collaboration brings something different and precious.
Do you ever get creative blocks?
I don’t have this often. I move past it quickly. I just need to open a book; an art book, textile book, picture book…and immediately get new ideas and motivation to do something. It is more the time that I don’t have enough of in my life.
How do you define success for your work?
When brands that I feel very close to come to me and ask me to collaborate with them, and share our worlds. When I realize that what I did is a stone to add to the path I’m trying to build. Some works illuminate your way, and some don’t bring anything new, they are just there.
Who are some creative people that you admire?
I admire kids when they draw, paint.
I admire all the craftsmen from everywhere. I love art and craft.
I admire all the people who are doing their best, with their heart, to embellish their environment.
Do you think people need formal training to be an artist? What advice do you have for newer creatives looking to grow their artistic skills?
I don’t think so because the art I especially like are all the creations of people who didn’t learn art. I just think that loving what you do is the best teacher.
What’s your favorite way to start your day?
Weekdays: No wake up call, but naturally around 8 a.m. I say “good morning “to my husband and make a good breakfast, then walk to my studio, which is three minutes away from my house.
Weekends: I open the big window and look at my garden and the river. And if possible, do a bit of tai chi.
Coffee or tea?
Two or three mugs of Earl Grey tea, my favorite, and one cup of not-strong coffee.
Do you like to read? What are your all-time favorite books?
Yes, I like to read, especially on weekends, preferably next to the fire. My favorites are the books by Stefan Zweig. When I was a kid, I loved to read fairy tales from all countries in the world.
What’s your dream project or brand to work with?
In fashion, I would love to work with Dries Van Noten. I especially love how he works his colors and prints. Otherwise, I would love to collaborate with architects on some hotels or restaurants.
Thank you, Nathalie! Connect with her on IG – @nathalie_lete.