Margaux Arramon-Tucoo grew up longboarding on the shores of Biarritz, France but has shaped her identity from the influence of the people, culture, art and landscapes she has seen around the world. Despite splitting most her year between France and California, she manages to balance her endeavors as a surfer, artist and traveler. Her changing locales and refreshing creativity can be tracked on her blog, The Fresh Area. Here she shares the inspiration behind her art and philosophy on the interplay between surfing, art, nature and the human spirit.
You have been designated a traveler, surfer and painter. What other identities would you claim? Are there any that take priority?
I think the one that makes it all would be an optimist and being persistent. I have believed in everything I’ve done until now, and that’s what has taken me where I am with what I had. As I say, the fact of traveling to surf, and surfing to draw, and drawing to surf again – and traveling through that – makes a whole, constant balance in my life. I have to follow my mind, and being an optimist is the reason why.
Where do you find inspiration for your art? Do you draw from your head or from what’s in front of you?
I draw from what I read, what I hear, and what I see. It could be anything: some people inspiring me, or some people’s creativity, or old art movements. I listen to people, watch them; I think I just get it all from the living I hold.
What mediums do you work in?
Mostly pens and inks. I’ve been enjoying painting lately. I work on canvas, fabrics, woods and resin. I like to change mediums, but I like to make some series of the same drawings in different colors or backgrounds. I’d love to make some murals someday.
It seems you mostly do symmetrical, cylindrical designs. Do you ever play with portraiture or still life?
I love geometry! I have been learning about the golden ratio lately, and it takes me to another dimension. I have been painting some faces. I can’t tell if that is realistic or portraiture, but it looks more like still life than any other thing I’ve done.
How does your artwork parallel your surfing? What does your artwork say about you as a person? Is it a reflection of your mind, or an observation of something around you?
My art helps me to stay active, besides my surfing. I love being social, but I need loneliness, and drawing gives me that same satisfaction as when I enter the water. That way I always am productive, whether there are waves or not. It keeps me happy differently than any other thing I do. Its not better – it’s complementary.
My artworks show some of my inside, of course. The mandalas (Sanskrit term for “circle”) I draw are meant to represent balance, as well as the woman and nature. The rest is for what I can create with my own mind. I could not live without my imagination. It keeps me so aware of what’s going on around me. I like to enjoy every detail I see and be happy about it.
Living in your “second homeland,” as you titled one of your blog entries, what parallels can you draw between life in France and life elsewhere? Any major differences?
I was born and raised in Biarritz, France. I have been going places overseas with my family. We spent major time in Morocco, which also is home to me. But as for my grown life, I have been traveling alone. I go to California each time I need to. I feel good there. I love the people, I love the waves, and I can stay creative at the same time. It feels like home for sure. I love France, and I miss it when I am away as much as I miss California when I am in France.
What place(s) inspires you most?
Everywhere I go inspires me! From the best experience to the worst one, I get inspiration, from the end of my street to the far-out of the Australian forest (:
I have some places I love to go, like gardens or empty beaches – the places you can find everywhere you go, and where you can feel the same feeling. I think it is amazing.
From skateboarders and surfers, to artists and videographers, you have an array of creative, athletic friends. What has drawn you to the friends you have made and other artists you work with?
Surfing is the main reason. I have been surfing in front of my house since I was little. They used to have the Biarritz Surf Festival, which hosted the longboard world title at the time, so I was already into that scene. Then so many people started to come every summer to visit, and I grew and made friends like Kassia Meador, Leah Dawson and Joel Tudor. They used to come and surf with us sometimes. You are meant to follow; you learn and you hear so much when you have these people around you because that’s what they live. Then they invite you over to surf their waves, and you meet so many people, get some amazing surf, and do so many things. My art came and was perfectly into that way of life because we create, and we do things together.
You are young, yet you have already dabbled in so much. What do you see yourself doing in 10 years? In 25 and 50 years?
I dont see haha… I go with the flow. I organize myself in case, but I like to think about what’s next in this life first to make it continue. I don’t think I will be sad. That’s the only thing I can say (: Then everything will be what it will be…
You described yourself as “close to nature and passionate with all that humans have to share at their purest state.” What is a human’s purest state?
To me, it’s what a human being has to offer naturally, with pleasure and being happy to do it. It makes yourself and others happy, and it keeps you good. I love nature, trees, flowers, the ocean, the air. And I love when people make me think about it through their speech or way they act, when it comes so naturally that it brings satisfaction to another level. I don’t like forcing things – this is how you do bad.
For more of Margaux’s work, check out her blog at http://thefresharea.blogspot.com/.