Artist of the Week: Fleur Spolidor, Everyone's Alice

When Fleur Spolidor was growing up in France, she spent her childhood holidays visiting her grandparents, like many non-fictional children do. 

However, unlike many non-fictional children, when Fleur was visiting her grandparents and her grandparents were not looking, she would sneak through a secret passageway hidden in her grandfather’s garage to visit a colorful, mysterious, and forbidden world.

She would find “amazing treasures, antiques, crystal chandeliers, jewelry, furniture,” she says. “But most of all were the beautiful stained glass and wrought iron doors…The only source of light was the outside light. As it passed through the stained glass, illuminated and colored the antiques.”

This wonderland was her great-great grandfather’s antique store. It neighbored her grandparent’s house and there was a tiny doorway chute that connected the house and the store. These trips through the portal away from her benighted supervisors remarkably similar to those of Alice from Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland.

“We’re all Alice, as kids, [I] went through a small door to discover a magical world, one way or another.  It was an antique store for me, but it could have been an old barn, the attic at a friend’s house or, like in the Spielberg movie “The Goonies,” a pirate ship in a cave. These adventures are part of growing up, becoming adults,” she says.

These visits established a long standing and inseparable kinship between Fleur and Alice. It has become a theme throughout her life. And, as she discovered her talent for art, it became a theme throughout her work. 

When Fleur, who originally from France, became older she found herself in another new world: San Francisco.

Upon first moving to California from France, she became fascinated by its rich history. Studying San Francisco, Fleur found that the city was a wonderland of Spanish settlements, gold rushes, earthquakes, the “Summer of Love,” and the rise of technology, among other historical moments.

Reaching for the Moon over San Fransisco by Fleur Spolidor, fine art print

Reaching for the Moon over San Fransisco by Fleur Spolidor, fine art print

Today, her artwork brings together the sensations of histories, the nostalgia of book characters, and cultures of her past through her art. 

As both a digital artist and acrylic painter, Fleur Spolidor, a San Francisco based artist, sets Alice, against the backdrop of contemporary San Francisco with line work that invokes distinct and delicate Parisian touch.

In her latest adventures, the nostalgic, widely-known figure becomes mixed-up and entwined in the local history, politics, and current events. Despite being situated in a distinct place, there are subtle clues that hint at the deeper stories that await patient and attentive viewers.

“I think of my paintings as ‘story painting’ inspired by history. I try to gather all the clues needed to tell my story and then I try to simplify, to go to the essential, to say an entire story in one image,” she says.  

The way that the various aspects of Fleur’s personal life enrich her subject matter is mirrored in the physicality of her surfaces. In both digital printmaking and painting, a diverse texture is one of the most important aspects to her paintings. The materials she embeds into the layers of her paintings – newspaper, wrapping paper, silk paper, patterns paper, plastics, papers, metals – become a hidden trove of depth and substance.