There is something about females who toss out all of the rules and choose to pursue something which gives their lives more substance that stirs my soul. Renée Bouchon is one of these women — having found her passion through art and learning to thrive off of it. An artist with a beautiful eye for the imperfect, impressive abstract portfolio, and a true understanding of what it takes to make that pivot from what is expected to what speaks to your soul. Continuing to live out her truth, Renée is a living testament to The New Southern’s idea that we should cultivate our own paths to make each day better than the last. As someone who has gone from corporate to creative myself, I am thrilled to champion her as a part of this movement.
With every brushstroke Renee is tending to a dream which sparked a fire within her at an early age in New Orleans. Her work is authentic and full of life, as she powerfully mixes bold hues, soft pastels and neutral tones, alongside her signature charcoal lines. Evoking a sense of freedom, exploration, and adventure. Known for a movement of color and depth of personality in every piece. She speaks a powerful message to other creative entrepreneurs that are looking for the inspiration to one day get there: “The time is now!”.
We loved sitting down with this creative Atlantan whose art has quickly gained national exposure among a network of acclaimed interior designers and respected galleries. Knowing not just her style but her story, too, she’s an artistic tastemaker that we are honored to raise our glass to in this new year.
Alyssa Rosenheck: Tell me about yourself.
Renée Bouchon: Oh boy, where do I begin! I was born and raised in New Orleans before moving to Charlotte for high school. I then found myself at the University of Georgia majoring in advertising through their journalism school and finally landed in Atlanta post-graduation (where I have been ever since). Throughout it all, I painted. Always. It was my stress-reliever during my years in the fast-paced ad world, and the thing I looked forward to come home to. I would set up shop in my big bathroom—yes, bathroom—because I had a roommate and I didn't want to take over any of the common space. It wasn’t until about 6 years ago that a college acquaintance commissioned me to do a painting for her, and her hubby’s GORGEOUS new Savannah home. I’d say it was right about then, that things took off...and they have only skyrocketed. After 10 years in some of the top advertising firms in Atlanta, I arrived at a crossroad...keep straddling the line between ad exec and artist, or take the leap. Risk it all and walk away from a great paying job and stability to follow what my heart was screaming at me to do. Well, I followed my heart and I have not looked back. Not once. I loved my years in advertising, but I truly believe they were setting me up to follow my dream, market myself in the right way, and catapult me to a full-time artist. It’s been an unbelievable ride, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds. So many exciting things are on the horizon!
AR: How are you modernizing / updating Southern style with your art?
RB: I break the rules...all the time. I mix mediums that are traditionally not paired together to create mixed media compositions that tell a story. I don’t like art that’s perfect. I want it to have flaws and beautiful imperfections. It’s hard to find a piece of mine that does not have charcoal line work. It’s raw and usually the favorite part of any piece.
AR: What innovative trends are you seeing with Southern style across the country?
RB: Moody, sultry interiors.
AR: What are your favorite hometown design boutiques?
RB: Scott’s Antique Market takes the cake!
AR: Favorite shade of white and black paint color?
RB: “Pitch Black” by Farrow & Ball and “Great White” by Farrow & Ball.
AR: What’s your life motto?
RB: GO. FOR. IT! I’ve always said, you get one shot at this thing called life. ONE! Just do it. Don’t look like back 5,10, 50 years and say, “I wish I would have followed my heart, taken that trip, left the job, etc.” The time is now. For real, folks!
AR: The one shade that changes everything? Tell us what mood it evokes and when/how you’ve used it.
RB: Black! There is something about including black in artwork that brings all of the other colors out more. It’s the perfect juxtaposition to a colorful piece and adds interest and sophistication.
AR: The place you go to get inspired?
RB: New York City. Oh boy, does this city get me going. I typically make a trip there every other month. I can’t not visit when I get the itch. The people, the culture, the art, the food, the grit, the music...you name it. This city evokes so many ideas and has me racing back to my studio to put my brush to the canvas. Last time I visited, I spent hours at the Museum of Modern Art. I can honestly say, it’s my ultimate happy place.
AR: The key to making a house a home?
RB: Make it a reflection of what makes you come alive! That painting that you bought from the 80-year-old man selling original art on a bridge in Paris, the pillow you made from vintage fabric you found at an NYC flea market. Less fluff and more meaning! Make it eclectic and interesting.
AR: Life advice you’ve gotten that made all the difference both personally and professionally?
RB: Don’t get hung up on the small stuff. It’s so easy to forget the big picture.
AR: Who are some of your favorite artists/makers? What do you love about their work?