RACHEL LE ROUX
I was raised in Manila, Philippines, and art played a constant part of my life as I was growing up. As a teenager who lacked confidence, my abstract art became my emotional outlet where I poured all of my unspoken emotions onto canvas. I never planned ahead, but always felt the freedom to explore and share myself through my artwork. As much as I loved my art, I decided to move to London, England to pursue my path in Interior Architecture, which led to me finishing with a BA Honours Degree in Interior and Spatial Design at Chelsea College of Art, UAL. Prior to design school, I was able to participate in some evening and weekend life drawing and still life painting short courses at Central St Martins, UAL.
I have since moved back to Manila to begin a practice in Interior Architecture. My passion for fine art was placed the back burner as I mainly focused on gaining experience in what I felt I knew best: designing and building homes. I became the Interior Design head for an Architectural firm which opened so many doors into being able to currently run my own freelance Interior Design business. However, the buried energy that art used to give me never left. Rather, it began to create and build up layers within me that needed to be deeply unravelled. So here I am … a mama to two amazing children, a wife to my husband of almost fifteen years and a career woman, slowly unravelling after a long journey towards the rediscovery of her ultimate passion. In the beginning of this new journey, I discovered my love for pencil and oil on canvas for my figurative paintings, which I primarily work with. I have also revived my love of abstract and mixed media art using the leftover paints from my dancers.
While Manila gives me the opportunity to grow by being able to participate in group shows, art fair with South Arts Festival, Manila and art auctions with Leon Gallery, the ebb and flow of my growth as an artist remains constant and unceasing. It resonates in the emotional expression laid out in my art - as seen in the fluid movement in both the fabric and the fluid movement in my paint splatters and drips. I truly believe that this subtly exposes my desire to just keep moving even in those times where things seem to be at a standstill. So this art journey is a ceaseless one that allows me to rediscover and search for the ferocity within myself to share the most vulnerable part of my soul.
My paintings can be found in private homes in San Francisco, Virginia, London, Singapore, and Manila.
In the beginning of my new journey, I discovered my love for pencil and oil on canvas and in my work, I unveil the female form in dance, unravelling in her suspended moment in time. She is vulnerable and fragile but also strong and confident. She is free. I use her as a tool to unfold the layers of my own narrative –one that may be portrayed in her face, the folds of her dress or the gesture of her body.
My art comes from a place of inspired by the idea of how time is ceaseless even when life feels like it is at a standstill, I feel that the figures I draw and dresses I paint, express the elegance and intensity of a moment that stops to capture motion and emotion. I am inspired by how their bodies create expressive movement that is entirely in sync with the fabric flow; how that single moment is caught in a stolen second. A breath held. A glance caught. A feeling paused. Just her and I - both unfolding and both free.
"I don’t think I could ever describe in enough detail how I felt when I became a mother twelve years ago. I was at the top of my game at this time of my life in England. My husband and I had big plans for our lives, so when our little blessing came as a surprise, everything was turned upside down and our lives changed so much! However, London became a lonely place as a new mum who had no other mum friends. All of a sudden, I hit a wall.
My interior design career was non-existent at that point and my husband had been made redundant so we decided to leave London with a heavy heart and move to Manila, Philippines – my home – but a place my husband had never lived before. It was definitely a trying time for our little family. My post-natal depression lingered under an invisible cloak that I hid from everyone, or perhaps I didn’t even acknowledge it myself. I hid from the world but scarily, I hid from myself. But things turned around after my daughter was born eight years ago and I was given a chance to become the head of interiors for an architectural company – where I managed projects around the country as well as international projects. This was my time to grow, which I did, but I was never home for my family. I missed my daughter’s first steps, my son came home after school to his nanny and not his mama, and the list continues.
So when burnout happened, I knew what I had to do.
The day I decided to leave the firm was the day I felt like I took charge of my own path but it wasn’t an easy escape. Three years ago my depression resurfaced – again, hidden from everyone around me - I had lost all grasp of myself, my life, but most especially, the important people around me. It was only during this period of time that I rediscovered my love for art and it’s healing powers. My art has been the medicine in growing towards becoming a better version of myself – a version who believes in herself and her art, herself and her role as a mother, and but most importantly, herself as a person. Art is a powerful, special tool that I’m grateful for as it’s given me the platform to express all the things I can’t express in words. I only dream that my art can give people the same magic that it has given me."