A little bit about Sophie
Name: Sophie Dupont
Location: Bouveret / Switzerland
Favourite places to travel: Ireland
Passions: Drawing, painting, reading, movies, board games, role-play (like Dungeon & Dragons for instance)
Education/Training: Swiss Federal Diploma of Vocational Education and Training, illustration drawing at Atelier Art & Creation Vevey, Switzerland and project manager certification, IPMA D
Occupation: Graphic designer, illustrator and project manager at my workshop Atelier Sophie Dupont Illustrations. In addition, a drawing teacher at my art school Atelier Arte Magica
Favourite Quote: Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. – Albert Einstein
Social media: https://www.facebook.com/sophiedupontillustrations
Interview with Sophie
In 2016 you opened your own graphic design and illustrations studio. How did you come to do this and what were you doing beforehand?
When I had to choose my way in life, my parents insisted on me having “a real job” – that is to say anything but arts. But one has to understand that at that time there was no Internet, no e-mails, no social media, etc. There were just a few art schools and the only job openings in Switzerland were for art teachers or graphic designers in a company. Nowadays, you can work for clients all over the world so I started an apprenticeship with federal maturity in the commercial field. But as soon as I had a decent job, I took drawing lessons in a small workshop close to my workplace. I have been drawing for as long as I remember, so I was determined to follow my dream of becoming a professional artist. In 2014, I started to work at home doing illustration and graphic design. Then in the summer of 2015, I had the opportunity to open my very first studio. The location was cheap but quite an unsafe area, so I decided to move locations in January 2016. It was bigger and much more expensive, but I took the chance. For me, 2016 is the official birth of my studio because I was 100% self-employed then.
In light of this, what advice would you have for anyone who wants to make a big career change and follow their true passion?
I would say do it, just do it! But be aware that you will have to wave goodbye to your comfort zone. Nowadays, we can more easily make big career changes, so if you feel you want to experience something new, you can do it. Although, you have to persevere because even though you are following your dreams or your true passion, there will be obstacles in the way. The key is to remain confident no matter what and just go on and on until you achieve your goals. And you sometimes may have to reassess some of your goals. But despite the difficulties, it is worth it!
In parallel to that, you opened an art school called Arte Magica in St-Maurice, Switzerland – tell us more about what you do there.
At the time I was taking drawing lessons, my teacher asked me if I wanted to open my own art school in my neighbourhood. She trained me to teach her “Art & Creation” learning method. It is a very non-formal method in which you learn drawing the same way you learn to write. Then I opened my first school in 2011 in St-Maurice and I moved in 2014 to a bigger place in the same town. I really love teaching art. I only have small classes so I can coach every student individually. You have to understand that a lot of people are convinced that they cannot draw at all or that you are either gifted with drawing skills at birth or not. This is simply not true. It takes time but everyone can learn the technique; how to correctly hold a pencil, how to match colours and how to reproduce shapes. The first step in learning is to dispel all those prejudices in order to allow the student to be more confident.
Tell us a little bit about the art that you particularly like to produce and where you get your creative inspiration.
I have two main sources of inspiration – On one hand, you have Irish and Swiss myths and on the other, horror and fantasy literature. I love mythical creatures such as dragons, fauns, fairies, leprechauns, elves and dwarves. The two main types of art I produce are insular art and Swiss art fusion (my interpretation of Celtic knot art) and fantasy scenes with acryl painting or oil pastel. These days I am very fond of mythical creatures from Swiss tales and the mysterious universe of HP Lovecraft.
What are your favourite methods to use?
I really love Indian ink, oil pastels, colour pencils and acrylic paint. I also do some numeric painting with Photoshop.
You’re a big fan of science fiction. If you were stuck on a desert island, what one author would you choose to be stranded with?
This is a very tricky question – my first thought would be HP Lovecraft. But I think he would scare me after a while because most of his more horrifying stories happen in the desert or on lost islands. I would rather choose JRR Tolkien. He fought in WWII so he would know how to survive and he could teach me elvish languages. But if I have to choose a living author… you know what? I just realised that all my favourite authors are dead: CS Lewis, Terry Pratchett, Michael Crichton and Stephen Hawking. Oh no, wait – Philip Pullman who wrote His Dark Materials.
Would you consider or have you ever considered submitting your illustrations to a book publisher?
Yes, this is a part of my plan. But that is a project for the future. For now, I am focusing more on graphic design but my next step is to develop my skills in the area of illustration. I am planning some exhibitions and I am working on some personal illustrated book projects.
Can you recall one of your favourite projects that you worked on?
One of my favourite projects was an art exhibition in the town where I lived last year. The local organisers invited a lot of regional artists. For that occasion, I produced a series of Swiss Irish Celtic knot fusion drawings. I will exhibit them again in October in a gallery in Corseaux, Switzerland. I really love Celtic knots, they are so beautiful!
What exciting ventures are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on a very nice graphics line for natural body products. I have to create the whole visual identity: logo, business cards, flyers, labelling, letterhead and web design (in collaboration with my IT associate).
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Rich and famous I hope. No, I am joking (even though it would be nice to be rich and famous). More seriously I see myself working alone, I don’t want to grow so much that I have to hire staff – I would prefer to stay smaller and more independent. Doing so would allow me to dedicate myself to painting and drawing. In the next five years, I want to develop my art and to do more exhibitions. Another dream would be to organise a lot of art exchanges between Ireland and Switzerland.