A trip behind the scenes of the event
An interview with the designer of sculptures that are several metres high…
“Where the magic happens”! Stéphanie Perez, employed by the Tourist Information Office, invites us into her artist’s studio, behind the scenes of the event.
We are in “Les Abattoirs”, where all the sculptures are built and assembled, where future themes are hidden and where the adventure begins!
What is your role in the Lemon Festival?
I am in charge of designing the models of the floats and sculptures. I am given the theme of the upcoming festival about a year in advance. I carry out research which leads to mood drawings. I immerse myself in that particular world, in the imagery associated with it, then I make adaptations, letting my imagination run wild. Finally, I produce precise designs, in the two colours of the event, orange and yellow.
How much freedom do you have in your work?
I am lucky enough to be completely free, and I need that to be creative. I am able to make all the suggestions I want. This year, I wasn’t asked to make any changes! I was able to give free rein to my artist’s soul to bring a theme to life. I have some constraints but technical difficulty is not one of the considerations. I am here to create wonder and surprise, with a completely unfettered mind. I have “carte blanche”.
How long have you been working for the Lemon Festival?
nine years. I had two years of training before becoming completely independent. That was when I discovered the scale of the job, and I was fascinated by it. I work with my sister, a sculptor, as well as with the ironworking teams who make my virtual drawings a reality.
What are the biggest changes that you have undergone?
I suggested that we use computer graphics software to produce sketches rather than doing them in pencil. All the teams have had to get used to this radical change. My sister and I also decided to take shapes which were formerly flat or very simple and give them more movement and bring them closer to reality.
What are the tricks of your trade?
We are always creating, by transforming things. Every detail counts. We try to salvage characters in order to create new ones on the same basis, by changing the posture, clothes or face. We are constantly looking for new things, whilst recycling materials.
In the gigantic warehouse opposite her small studio, she draws the exact dimensions of the future sculptures onto the floor. Her impassioned words resonate with us; her talent, or should we say talents, transport us.
With Stéphanie Perez, we drift between make-believe and the real world. Using her countless technical skills, she reinvents materials in an infinite number of ways, all of them poetic.