Dec. 9 2014 05:05 PM

French artist creates her fantastical worlds while surrounded by the comforts of Carlsbad

Virginie Mazureau
Photo by Kinsee Morlan

"This is a little bit of a mess. Sorry," says artist Virginie Mazureau as she enters her home studio in Carlsbad. The room is less a mess than a medley of interesting objects—comic books, French magazines, colorful art supplies, little treasure chests and other things she picks up at antique shops.

Her studio, in a way, is like her paintings, which are fantastical scenes often depicting children surrounded by peculiar animals and an assortment of other unexpected and whimsical things. Like most of her work, "Serenity," the piece on CityBeat's cover this week, is an acrylic painting with a few elements of vintage collage (the boy on the horse, the hot-air balloons and the elephant, for example, are from old advertisements she collects).

"I try to find the spirit of children in my work," Mazureau says, pointing to her most recent piece, which looks like a missing scene from Alice in Wonderland, and explaining that her own daughter has been her biggest inspiration. "I think they are very free. I love the innocence. I love the colorfulness and playfulness of children; it's very interesting to me. I think I never grew up."

Sometimes, Mazureau even incorporates children's drawings in her work, either leaving the kids' creations almost completely intact or using the imagery as inspiration for conjuring up her own made-up creatures.

The artist came to Carlsbad by way of Paris and, most recently, Montreal. She's been in San Diego County for only a few months, but she's already found her way to Distinction Gallery (317 E. Grand Ave.) in Escondido, which is currently showing some of her work. She's also preparing for her first solo show at Distinction in December 2015.

"In a short time, a lot of good things have happened to me," Mazureau says. "I must be in the right place."

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