"The nature of life on Earth and the search for life elsewhere are two sides of the same question - the search for who we are." - Carl Sagan
Chantal Westby is a French-American visual artist born in northern France.
From her childhood lived in a very modest and strict environment, she preserved the treasures and emotions of her imaginary escapades nourished by the stories of her late soldier father who served in Indochina and was affected like many by the war, but also by the refinement of the Asian way of life.
Inspired by these dreamlike childhood journeys, she spent her life building, shaping and embellishing her daily environment by using all the resources she could find around her.
Gifted with a strong sensitivity and an innate creativity, she has always known how to brighten her world and that of others. Her spirit, her vivacity, her passion for life, her empathy for others have shaped a unique, complex and complete personality.
Her artistic approach is in perfect harmony with the story of her life. It all starts with an observation, an idea, a questioning. There begins the journey where spirituality, light, mystery and the power of convictions are fused. She uses Art as a language, for which she builds, she embellishes, she suggests, she questions, she expresses.
The richness of every aspect of the universe is her inspiration.
She creates a world made of imagination, intuition and energy while evoking peace and lightness with a touch of reality.
Chantal Westby's life could be divided into two distinct parts, the French and the American one, both separated by an ocean but connected by Art.
Graduated from the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris, her fashion design career allowed her to express her first artistic emotions through textiles. Refusing codes and limits, she quickly began to recycle and integrate other materials into her creations.
A personal event brutally put an end to her career and her French life. After moving to the United States at the end of the 80's, the expression of her creativity would take shape in the complete interior design of her home, for which she would make it a point of honor to use and reinvent old furniture and objects found at flea markets to give them a second life inspired by the Empire style. This sumptuous decor was published in various interior design magazines.
With this first American work completed and in need of a new artistic expression, she decided to expand her technique and studied art and painting at the PAFA (Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts).
Since then, she has continued to expand her technique through increasingly larger works, integrating new mediums to eventually create true sculptures today. Of all those times and productions, only one of them, inherited from her father's Asian narrations, has remained with her: ink. Pure, diluted, pigmented or dried, it is used in almost all of her creations.
Her history and that of her entourage have led to affinities with tangible creative themes such as global warming, space conquest and the resulting pollution, as well as mystical themes such as the journey of souls or the origin of life, which invite us to question much wider issues.
Since 2017 and her encounter with the French multimedia artist and photographer Lénaïc G. Mercier, they combine their two worlds to create immersive and interactive installations on these themes.
Driven like any human being by her doubts and contradictions, she now devotes a large part of her work to educating and awakening consciousness.
"I feel that the impact of my daily actions, which I try to be as small as possible, versus the reality of the current planet’s situation is a real struggle for me.
The immaculate figurative portrayal of consumerist abundance in my artwork contrasts with reality. Our planet is dying under the burden of humanity's actions and waste.
My work as an artist takes on its full meaning, if I can humbly convince and sensibilize even one person to understand that our earth is being abused and that we must do all in our power to preserve it."
Active in the community as well, she supports various foundations and NGOs such as From Here to Haiti and Life Project 4 Youth.
She lives and works in Philadelphia.
For years now, I have dedicated my art to awaken, evoke, stimulate, surprise and sometimes educate. My work is addressed to the largest possible number of people and is accessible to art lovers as well as to the non-initiated. My artworks are imagined and created to be vectors of emotions; they challenge and I try through them, humbly, to awaken consciences to the current and future upheavals of our planet.
Mostly dominated with white, and sometimes colored, my creations are now coming to life in 3 dimensions.
They evoke nature, beauty and the energy of the universe but also humanity's excesses and its harmful consequences. The Light is always present through the dilution of inks and natural pigments that create mysterious auroras. I also like working with mixed media to reach new dimensions and give life to the fantasy.
My inspirations are so wide that I keep a kind of moodboard made up of different materials, photographs, multiple artworks, music and texts that inspire me and challenge me. I recycle, I collect and I store objects, until these elements find their natural place in a work of art.
My freedom of creation is vital, my process is extremely spontaneous and intuitive. A piece of work, painted or sculpted, usually appears very clearly to me as a vision while I am already in the midst of creating. I have one golden rule in mind: never forbid myself anything, whatever the dream might be. The technical process to realize this project becomes clear in my head during the following night.
Obviously, I sometimes face obstacles, the feasibility is not always crystal clear, but my thirst to learn and work allows me to find the solutions.
Challenge is a friend that supports and motivates me.