Charlotte Gastaut: Inside the Imagination of an Illustrator from Provence

Originating from Marseille, the illustrator Charlotte Gastaut lent her talent to the decoration of L'Occitane’s Cherry Blossom collection. Between Provencal influence and Japanese inspiration, she invites us in to her dream world.
By Anaïs Chabalier

What is your relationship to Provence?

I’m very attached to Provence. I was born in Marseille and lived there until I was 18. Then I went to Paris for my studies in graphic design and stayed there for work. Today, I have only one desire: to return to live in Provence! I want to see its sunshine, return to the sea and breath the air! When I think of this region, I think of the mythical dragon from Tarascon the Tarasque, the cypresses, olive trees, limestone, the wind in the hills, but also the smell of bunches of thyme. In Provence, people have character, they have pride and true values. It’s a genuine way of life!

How does it influence your creativity?

Early in my career, Provence was very important. My mother illustrated the famous “Almanach Provençal” for a long time. Then I took over. It was my first job. I loved drawing Provence in watercolor, its lavender and olive trees. But gradually, I distanced myself from this world. I became unable to draw this region that I had so often portrayed. It was a kind of saturation. I rediscovered the pleasure of drawing Provence two years ago, thanks to L'Occitane. For me it’s a magic opportunity, to take a break from my work in publishing.

Where did you get the inspiration for the L'Occitane Cherry Blossom collection?

The Cherry Blossom collection connects two of my interests, Provence and Japan. To mix these two worlds and find a link between the girl printed on the packaging and the flower, I did a lot of research and I threw a lot of ideas around with L'Occitane. I wanted pure colors, freshness. My goal was to recreate a peaceful and cheerful world. As I'm used to illustrating stories, I decided to tell a story. So I drew the adventures of a young girl growing up in a cherry tree. She sees the tree blossom, meets birds there and lives in a world full of enchantment.

What does cherry blossom represent for you?

The cherry tree looks curiously like the almond tree, a tree that grew in the valley where my grandparents lived. So these trees remind me of childhood memories. I particularly remember their mysterious beauty and the blackness of their sleeping trunks. It’s a real pleasure to use these trees as inspiration to draw! Besides, I'm not the only one to be proud of this work. When my mother went into a L'Occitane shop, she called me to tell me that my illustrations were there, before buying up products for her friends!

www.charlottegastaut.blogspot.fr
Charlotte Gastaut: Inside the Imagination of an Illustrator from Provence
Charlotte Gastaut: Inside the Imagination of an Illustrator from Provence
Self-portrait of Charlotte Gastaut, an illustrator from Provence who invite us into her dream world
© Charlotte Gastaut
"Cherry Blossom", a new fragrance of L’Occitane's collection

For embellishing the "Cherry Blossom" collection, Charlotte Gastaut draws inspiration from Provence and Japan

© Charlotte Gastaut for L’Occitane in Provence

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