02.06.17

LEANDRO CASTRO INTERVIEW: SCARLETT ROUGE

Scarlett Rouge



Who is Scarlett Rouge after all?


This is a difficult question.. it’s not like I can go look in the mirror and see who I am. 
And how can I define something, someone, that is constantly growing in flux. I can only be what I think I want to be, and then again, that is not my soul. This ‘who’ is really only a “what”, an image that pertains to the Ego. Who I am essentially, in the most inane terms, is a ‘spirit having a human experience’ and that is a very vast idea that cannot be describe by categoric language. My ego identity, on the other hand, can be defined as a ‘free spirited expression of exposed emotions coupled with the duty of knowing ones place and attempting to take responsibility of their privilege.’ 


Style is...


On the surface it’s a mask. There are two qualities important to style: predominately it is a common way for us - individuals - to express ourselves, and as such gives us an opportunity to be creative, which is a backbone of all life. It is also a means for culture and communities to define themselves, in this sense it is about how the ‘other’ views us, and its use should be considered mindfully, because it has historically been used to differentiate and justify destructive purposes. 


What is the focus of your work?


I am mainly interested in storytelling, whether they be fairytales or religious. In some ways I am looking for a Tao or universal truth. At the same time, I am interested in the myths that historically reinvented themselves, and the “why” they do. I investigate the psychological need for mythos and as well as the reasoning that destroys fable beliefs, while striving to create a new symbolic language that speaks to our modern souls, and reflects the contemporary times we live in. 


How personal are your works?


Mostly personal, and even when I am leaning towards more social ‘cliche’ subjects, I cannot deny my personal refection on the world. I am not sage enough to veto my own personal opinion, nor important enough to claim my vocation goes beyond the circumference of my ‘bubble’. 


Do you collect art yourself?


Yes, I have bought or traded with friends whose works I appreciate, to name a few: Marte Eknaes, Erlea Maneros, Nicolau Verguerio, Zoe Crosher, Pilar Wiley, and Julie Moon. Recently my mother bought me a piece by Mark Leckey that occupies a special corner in my current Torino home. 


Where do you do all your creative work?


I think it is somewhere between my head and my heart, wherever that seems to be on the planet. For me creativity often derives from a given problem that I must find a solution to, no matter where I am, I will do my best to use the all available tools in the current circumstance to obtain some kind of resolution. This is the essence of being creative, does that make all my solutions art, is another question…


Are you an easy person to live with?


Can anyone say no to this? I have been affirmed to be a dogged bossy boots by my most loving friends, and a considerably caring partner by the most unsustainable lovers. 
The truth is, I am rarely easy with myself, how could I be, when my artistic work is  about constantly inquiring into the meaning of my own existence… 


What makes you angry?


With myself, I get angry when I allow uncontrolled emotions to lead me to blind rage, you know when the mind turns off and you say things you don’t mean.   I think that is why I watch so many ‘english aristocracy’ shows, I love the way that can ‘contain’ and still express themselves. Nevertheless, I am an artist who reveals in her vulnerability, the good thing is I am usually led to laughter-even in mist of my own 'Greek Tragedy’. With the world, at the moment it is a lack of common sense, our blind eye to unneeded waste-of what is actually happening because of our ‘let’s pretend it’s not visible effects of pollution’- but perhaps I am more fearful of history repeating itself, watching the pendulum swing towards nationalism instead of growing into a united planet. 


What makes you happy?


So much, my blessed life, my family, my Anatol, my dog, my yoga magic, the flowers in my garden, my walks on the river or forest, my remembering that this is just a moment and to be grateful of it, because tomorrow I will probably feel down and need something to remind me that the hangover will pass and there are so many gifts to be happy for. 



What is your favorite time of year? Why?

I mainly grew up in LA, we don’t have seasons there, it is always perfectly sunny, and everyone is muscle toned, tattooed, and tanned. I did spend a few years in Lyon, France, that taught me about seasons and not letting your flesh disturb the quaint village bourgeoise. One time I recall a guy shouting from his car: What is that stupid way of dressing// Is the circus back in town?? I started wearing my Lyonnaise Aunt’s clothing from that day on, and eventually moved back to LA. Nevertheless, I now find myself living among the cold aristocracy of Piemonte, Italy… and I can still not really answer why. It can’t be the cold glares that follow me down the street. Perhaps, it is their aristocratic need to feel relevant that allows me to walk without objection? So here I am enjoying every moment, the gayety of spiring life, summers of mosquito dread, the glorious colors of fall and the deadly fear of winter, to only begin again… here I am a Californian girl enjoying the embrace of every season. 


Who is your favorite designer and why?


Let’s start by the fact that I hate shopping, literally hate going into a store and buying something. 
When the occasion arises I do always buy something, and then ask myself why the fuck did I buy this ‘whatever’ cause it doesn’t fit me at all…?
The best designer experience I have ever had is my step-father, Rick Owens, made a garment for my elementary school play that was exact to the seam of Anita’s ‘West Side Story’ dress… I still cry for it’s loss..in the rubble of my childhood. And, today, I still only wear Rick Owens. 


Describe your personal style in three words.


Questionable, spontaneous, and functional. 


What is your favorite color?


Considering, that my first two names mean Red, can I say anything other than Rouge?
I loath favoritism, as a child I loved yellow, though it makes me look pale, now I love purple cause it is esoteric. Really, I love rainbows, that cross-section when wetness meets firelight, in Italy it is the peace flag, in American it’s the gay flag.  Either way, I can’t help myself from getting excited about different ways of Loving and shouting it off every rooftop !


What book are you reading by now?


‘The Problems of the Feminine in Fairytales’ by Marie-Louise von Franz, ‘Status Anxiety’ by Alain de Botton, and ‘Madame de Bovary’ that my education neglected to oblige me to read, but which I am currently using to recollect and reconnect to my Française mind. 


Can you name an artist you admire?


I can only hope to align and strengthen the legacy of the woman who have forged the path before me: Emma Kunz, Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois, Carol Rama etc. Though, I am not from a generation that needs to underline their sex to be relevant, I still need, and sadly am required to underline our impotence. 


What do you think about art?


Like many mystery works it is not about thinking, it is about detection, where intuitive feeling meets a deduction of reasoning… 


Your recent songs you're listening at the moment?


Living in a small town, I mostly hear pop radio… but with a gun to my head I still consider Susanne Sundfør ‘Ten long Songs’  2015, the best musical experience I’ve heard/had to date. 


What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?


Think I answered this with the “make you angry” question. 
I hate not being in “control” and yet it is my capacity to be “out of control” and love to be “vulnerable” that makes me an artist. It’s a love-hate-thing that I enjoy, which ultimately feeds my artworks. 


Which words or phrases do you most overuse?


Probably “like” and “you know what I mean” — well actually you don’t cause I am probably speaking franglais —“tu sais?” 


What can we expect from Scarlett Rouge in the future?


Hopefully the none expected and much more spontaneous !





Thank you very much, Scarlett Rouge!

Leandro Castro 


© Images: Courtesy of Scarlett Rouge.