Adopter Stories: 'The idea that with just one flutter of a butterfly wing everything can fall apart gives me endless inspiration.'

French artist talks about her philosophy, paradoxes, the fragility of the world and something that inspires her most - the 'butterfly effect’.

Sabrina Beretta is a 30-year old painter, self-taught book illustrator and graphic designer from the French Ardennes. Her  philosophy of life is ‘the Art of being and being art.’ Sabrina’s works are witnesses of her state of mind and emotions, and her unique style is characterised by geometric shapes evoking stained glass art. .ART spoke to Sabrina about combining figurative and abstract art, paradoxes, the fragility of the world and something that inspires her most – the ‘butterfly effect’. 

Tell us a little bit about your creative journey. How and when did you decide to become an artist?

I have always been attracted to beautiful images and the desire to create, but it was in 2015 that my artistic journey began – it started with ink drawing. After illustrating 8 books, painting slowly replaced ink, and black and white gave way to colour. 

My style was forged by giving particular importance to symmetry, contrasts and the intensity of colours.

A line often suggests there are two separate states: a figurative side which seems real, and a more geometric and abstract side, which reveals multiple facets. This is how I represent topics that are important to me: (de)construction, paradox, metamorphosis and the butterfly effect – the idea that a small incident can make a big impact, and that with just one flutter of a butterfly wing, everything can fall apart. This concept gives me endless inspiration.

How did it feel to move away from black and white to colour? Liberating, perhaps? 

It was a natural journey. At the beginning, it was others that transformed my illustrations into colour, but then I took my turn to play around with it. I still work with black and white today, it is a real pleasure, but working with colour offers me more technical and artistic possibilities. It is a different way of expressing my emotions and accentuating the intensity of the message I want to convey.

I watched France 3’s report about your colouring books for adults. Was this where you started from? Did it serve as a kind of art therapy for you?

Drawing relieved stress and served as a moment personal well-being. To my surprise, the drawings that I innocently shared on Facebook aroused interest. I then sold my first original work and everything hastened: I received hundreds, then thousands of endorsements on social media. A small community started to form around me. This is what pushed me to continue, to evolve, to go further. The France 3 report you refer to was a portrait highlighting my first project: a book of self-published black and white illustrations.

Most of your images look fractured, like something is dissipating and disappearing. What is the idea behind this? 

This a metaphor for the “the butterfly effect“. A small change in the conditions at the start of a succession of events can make a huge difference in the end; each and every one of our thoughts and our actions has consequences. These small events shape us and our personality – it is like an accumulation of a multitude of fragments. I question what we are and what makes us. This is the reflection that I put forward. I like to reveal that all of us wear masks – something we want to show and highlight, while trying to hide the dark side of the spirit. This vision shows a moment, an emotion before something appears, transforms or collapses.

It seems you are fond of Salvador Dali. Do you consider him your predecessor? 

I greatly admire Salvador Dali, as I do many other artists. As well as his captivating universe, it is his unique personality that fascinates me most. He had no taboo: this is what gives so much depth and intensity to his works. I would not go as far as to say that he is my predecessor; he simply inspired me like thousands of other artists. His spirit left as a significant a mark on the history of art as his works.

How can an artist be unique in an era of globalisation? Is it even possible for one to be?

Of course. I think that an artist can be and even must be unique. Just because our consumer society pushes us to follow the codes and fashions of the moment does not mean we must necessarily comply with them. Of course, we can adapt to this and work on the same subject as thousands of other artists, but originality is what makes the artist unique – it is his interpretation that matters most. It is with his style, his personality and his own vision of the world that he stands out. It is hard work and I think that ultimately, in our era, standing out is every artist’s goal.

What is a typical workday for you? Do you dedicate more time to inspiration or hard work?

I don’t have a typical day at work. I make the most of my moments of inspiration to let my creativity express itself. When I lack inspiration, I take the opportunity to work on other aspects, less creative but just as important. I don’t limit myself to a routine that would tire me, but I do set myself a guideline to help reach my goals.

What are your thoughts on the role the Internet plays in artists’ lives?

As far as I am concerned, the Internet is essential my life as an artist. The world evolves and the artists evolve with it. The Internet brings new things: it is an ever evolving tool that brings together different types of media, and therefore is an excellent means of communication. It is also an infinite source of inspiration.

I think that much of my success has come from utilising media platforms like Instagram because it is important to me to exchange as much as possible with my community and to show them my gratitude for all the support they give me. It gave me confidence in myself at the very beginning and it still continues to do so today.

Do artists need websites in the age of social media? Why?

Yes, I think it’s an essential part of an artist’s communication. It’s sort of like a complete and structured business card, while social media algorithms make information selective and incomplete. In addition, there is no need to be brief on your website like you need to be on social networks – your website allows you to fully express yourself and your approach.

What does success look like to you?

Success is, first of all, a state of personal fulfilment. It doesn’t necessarily mean exhibiting at a a renowned gallery, having a huge Instagram following, or even being recognised around the world. It is an accomplishment of objectives that we set and these are different for each artist. As for me – I do not yet have the success that I covet but I work every day to achieve it.

THE BLITZ

An object you can’t live without:

Like many people … my phone, because it is not a simple object, but a multi-function tool.

A character trait you most value:

Honesty.

Favorite book:

I don’t read much, but I love to listen to and watch documentaries, covering a wide variety of fields.

Favorite colour:

All shades of deep blue and turquoise.

Person (dead, alive or fictional) who influenced you the most:

Difficult to choose. I would say Picasso. I admire his perseverance and the change he initiated with Braque in the world of art with cubism.

You have a minute to spend face to face with Salvador Dali. What would you say/do?

I would ask him what time means for him and what sort of relationship he has with it.

What’s your idea of happiness?

I think it is the state of fulfilment and fullness, the ultimate goal of one’s life.

Learn more: www.sabrinaberetta.art

Maria Efimova
Maria Efimova
is an orientalist who speaks Arabic and Hebrew. She spent a decade working with global media, shook hands with Benjamin Netanyahu and other political leaders. She is now taking a break from it all researching arts and philosophy.