An ad designer by training and an artist by default, Laure-Anne Carré 's vintage illustrations are quirky, fun tributes to popular icons like Oprah and Merry Streep, and a celebration of local foods and sights. Inspired by love, coupled with a longing for community, the French native and new-Brooklynite had an interesting journey that after stops in Canada and Columbia eventually landed her in the city of dreams.
"It's in my blood I would say. My grandmother, my mother, my father -- everybody painted," Laure-Anne recalls.
Born in Corsica, a French island in the Mediterranean Sea, Laure-Anne has always been an artist. When she closes her eyes, she sees colors, shapes, images. It runs in her family, going all the way back to her grandmother who was a painter. While in school, Laure-Anne was constantly drawing: in her sketchbooks, that she carried everywhere, or on her school desk.
"It's in my blood I would say. My grandmother, my mother, my father -- everybody painted," she recalls.
When it was time for college, she wanted to do something "useful." So instead of studying fine arts, she went for advertising. After graduating from a Parisian university in 2014, she moved to Montreal where she spent six months, hoping to land a job in an ad agency — but she didn't. Instead, she found love. Yet, when her visa expired, she returned to France, followed by a brief stint in Columbia. When Alex, her love, called in 2015, she moved back to Montreal and got married.
While waiting for her Canadian work authorization, and in need of income, she rekindled another love: art. She launched her design studio Hello L-A and debuted her first collection, a series of illustrations paying tribute to unapologetically strong women like Frida Kahlo and Madonna. Her depiction of Canadian superstar Celine Dion became a bestseller in local book and card stores in Montreal.
"My designs depict Oprah, Merryl Streep, Madonna, who are all strong women, each in their own way," she says.
"I felt it was time to use my voice to show women how strong they are. My designs depict Oprah, Merryl Streep, Madonna who are all strong women, each in their own way," she says. "Or like Frida Kahlo who was fighting for her work despite the losses she suffered."
Laure-Anne, who always strives to be connected to her surrounding community, also found inspiration in local treasures such as foods, sights and buildings. More recent designs celebrate famous New York specialties like pizza, bagels and hot dogs, everything "seasoned" with a dash of humor, as well as Brooklyn-inspired buildings and sights.
So how did this artistic nomad end up in our borough? Laure-Anne blames it on the cold Canadian weather. But that was not the only reason.
"I love the energy of this place. It's vibrant and has a strong emerging artistic vibe. The mix of the different cultures and communities, it's very unique," she explains. "I love to be in the middle of it. It's exciting and inspiring."
Even though Laure-Anne just arrived earlier this year, she understands that Brooklyn's neighborhoods are rapidly changing and realizes that newcomers like her are also contributing to that change. She emphasizes that she wants to be part of the existing culture and not impose her own on it.
"When I move to a new place, I want to become a part of the of the community. I don't want to change the face of the neighborhood," Laure-Anne says.
"When I move to a new place, I want to become a part of the community. I don't want to change the face of the neighborhood," Laure-Anne says.
Consequentially, she is eager to work with local businesses. At the moment, all of her work is being printed by the Brooklyn-based printshop Jazz'n'Print. Her next goal is to form relationships with local book and vintage stores to sell her art which is currently only available online. And more projects are in the works like her newest collection, Green Zodiacs, a series of whimsical illustrations that combines astrology with botany. And later this year, Laure-Anne plans to launch a fashion line together with her husband.
New York, the city of dreams, still attracts people from all over the world, every day, just like Laure-Anne. And the hope that if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere, is still alive.