Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Folk Reveries Interview with Mon Petit Fantome!

Your name: Chad Merritt 
Shop name: Mon Petit Fantome

Country: USA/Louisiana 
What do you make/sell: Prints, and sometimes originals, of my papercuts

How long have you been an artist/crafter?  
Well, I went to art school, and shortly after I left, concentrated on music.  I let my art making fall to the wayside until about three years ago.  My Dad has untrained drawing talent, and I guess I inherited it from him.  Ever since I was a kid I always had a pencil or paintbush in my hand.  Or making up songs and singing them into my Fisher-Price cassette recorder!  I was an only child for eight years, was definitely able to occupy my own time.

What is the meaning behind your shop name? 
I got it from the film, "La Vie En Rose".  The scene where Edith Piaf is on her deathbed.  She is remembering her daughter, who passed away, and she begins saying, "Mon petite fantôme!".  It really resonated with me, and I still haven't grown tired of the name :)

How would you describe your work?  
Sweetly haunting maybe?  I love mixing the sweet and touching with a bit of a spookyness or, for lack of a better word, darkness.  I have absolutely no interest in making straight up macabre art...there has to be an element to balance it out.  Whether it's with a rabbit, humor, or sentimentality.

Name five specific things that inspire your art?  
Fairy tales, myths, nature, memories, and children

What physical places do you like to be for inspiration or to create?  
Ideas usually pop up when I'm driving or at my day job (secretary).  I like to sketch, at night, in bed.  The actual creation of the pieces happen at my lovely black desk.  A self-healing cutting mat and an x-acto knife (and many extra blades) are my chosen tools.

What encourages and inspires you when you need a creative lift?  
Oh lots of things!  Books mainly...I love all kinds of Fairy tales.  Hans Christian Andersen, Grimms, Swedish, Russian.  I also love mythology books.  I am from Irish and Native American (as well as French) descent, so the myths and stories from those cultures factor in.  I'm a HUGE Harry Potter fan, and "His Dark Materials" is probably  my favorite book!  I also get inspired from movies, music (a lot of my titles come from my own song lyrics or lyrics from friends' songs), my talented friends, and just life really. My life's bad times are no more special than anyone elses, but I guess they linger in my heart, and pop up in my work.  I grow from the sadness and appreciate the happiness!

What are the things that you like most about being on Etsy?  
Besides how easy it is to set up a shop, my favorite thing would be the community aspect.  I've met so many lovely people and have made truly lovely friends through Etsy.  Some I've got to collaborate with, which is a fantastic thing. 

Do you have any future aspirations for your work and your shop?  
Just keep making art!  I did get to realize one of my dreams this year.  I released a book of my papercuts thus far.  That was quite an exciting thing.  Making more books is definitely something I want to do.  I'd love to marry a book with a soundtrack of my music.  That is something that I'm slowly working on.  I'd love to make more silhouette dolls and make videos incorporating them with papercut scenery...like Lotte Reiniger!  I am in the process of making my third full-length record with my band, St. Mary's, at the moment.

What do you think about trades/swaps?  
I LOVE trading and swaping!  Sometimes it doesn't work out, or the other person says no, and that's ok too.  It's never to be taken personally.  But I have made some wonderful trades with some really talented folks.  I can be shy at times, so it can take me a bit to work up the courage to ask :)

What interested you about the Folk Reveries group and what do you like most about it?
We all seem to have a love of animals, nature, and/or fairy tales/stories.  It's so lovely to share a mindset with different people, yet our styles and way of processing our work is different.


mathyld ▲under the pyramids▲ said...

What a delightful interview of our beloved Chad.

And I definitely embrace this "sweetness meets darkness" side of art. It is what makes it so special & beautiful in art in general and Chad's in particular.
His attention to detail is second to none and his titles are often as dreamy as his visuals themselves ...

Also, I am very proud to say that we met through Etsy & have done trades !
Ok, I'll stop blabbering now !

x x x

Drucilla Pettibone said...

i'm so glad to see this and learn a little more about chad and mon petite fantome! i just finally treated myself to a print and those amazing paper dolls!! xo chad and folk reveries!

The Black Spot Books said...

I love your work, Chad (as you know) so nice to read an interview like this!