Valerie Carmet designs beautiful, complex and joyful public and private spaces. Her art pieces are one of a kind, and by combining ancient and cutting edge techniques, Carmet manages to give new life to discarded materials that provoke conversation and engage the senses.
With a degree in International Policy, French-born Valerie Carmet first came to the States to work in fashion. But after 10 years in the fashion industry, she had the opportunity to follow her first love—art. And since then, she has bestowed beauty and depth upon Downtown with her pieces.
“As a child I always wanted to be an artist, but my parents were afraid I would not be able to support myself so they insisted I study business,” Carmet told Downtown.
After she graduated from college, she was offered a job in NYC to work in fashion for a French company.
“My studies brought me the good fortune of coming to the States and experience a very different way of living,” she explained.
And it’s these experiences, she uses when she creates art. She’s able to combine the traditions of European culture with those she has adopted from her new home, New York City. It adds a unique complexity to her work.
Her background shows the same combination of American and European tradition. She studied art, painting and sculpting in a number of New York schools and mosaics in Italian studios. For 3 years, she worked at the Anandamali Studio in NYC as a full-time artist.
Art and Inspiration
Carmet finds inspiration in a number of things. It always depends on the piece, however.
“I find inspiration in everyday objects, sceneries, and even situations. I see beauty in what others might dismiss and, through re-purposing, I create a new artistic life for them,” Carmet said.
“When I am working on my Mosaic/Picocassette pieces, I let the design of the antique plates dictate my inspiration. I then create a very contemporary and modern esthetic, thereby bestowing the dishes with a new life,” she said.
When working on Pop Art 3D pieces, it’s the same approach.
“I am stimulated by the beauty, color and aesthetics of discarded toys. I merely look at them and ideas pop into my head,” the artist explained.
And then of course, her inspiration has to do with her surroundings. Here Downtown plays a special part.
“Downtown New York City is my neighborhood, my home since I have been in the States. My friends live Downtown and my kids went to school here. Everything about Downtown inspires me,” Carmet said.Memorable moment
Over the years, Carmet has worked on a myriad of large-scale projects and big-name clients. These include Pfizer, NYU Hospital, Ritz-Carlton, Rockefeller Center, to name a few, as well as Manhattan Youth-Downtown Community Center in TriBeCa, which she names on her biggest and most memorable pieces.
“It was very emotional for me as I was a resident of TriBeCa for 17 years when September 11 happened. It was important for me to be part of the reconstruction of TriBeCa and to be able to create a public piece that demonstrated the support of an entire community coming together to rebuild,” she explained.
Currently, Carmet is working on some new ToyBox pieces for the Hamptons art fair this summer as well as a few projects, the one pictured above is a work-in-progress for Chanel. Some of her ToyBox pieces can be seen on display at Red Market Salon. Carmet also has a pop up show this month at Caillebotteri–a gallery Upper East Side and one at Martial Vivot hair salon for Father’s Day in mid-June.