Artist perspective by Monique Steele, on her residency in France

Artist Perspective by Jamaican-born illustrator Monique Steele on her residency in France (wouldn't you love to go!)….

Last month I had the pleasure of taking part in a residency at Château Orequevaux in Orquevaux, France. Trust me, I would be the first to tell you that making art in a castle in the French countryside was never on my bingo card for my artistic journey, but never say never.

Once I got over the jaw dropping views (just kidding, I never got over those) and luxurious interiors, I found myself surrounded by artists who work very differently from myself. From writers and painters to dancers and musicians and all of the above, I was, and still am, so deeply inspired by these artists, and by the sense of play and experimentation that was alive in everyone’s work. Seeing the spark of inspiration that led them down the paths to create some of the most intriguing pieces ­– pieces I would have never even conceived of – really opened my creative eye to more ways I could play with illustration and storytelling.

Now, before I wrap this up, I’m going to have to circle back to the setting, because wow! I don’t know about those who are reading this, but personally, I had never before lived in a castle. Being able to wake up and find a new corner of the château to draw in or to walk around the grounds after meals, absolutely filled my head with story ideas aplenty. As a matter of fact, while I was there, I worked on art and concepts for my own personal story that I will hopefully one day be able to share with all of you.

Having the space away from other work obligations, to really iron out the details for my personal story project was insanely rewarding, and living in a castle was not half bad either. Everyone should try living in a castle! It’s great fun. 


If you’d like more info, or to work with Monique, please contact: [email protected]

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