Credit: Louis Vuitton

For the fourth year in a row, Louis Vuitton is back with the Artypucines, a limited-edition collaboration where the house invites leading contemporary artists from all over the globe to transform the Capucines from a blank canvas to limited-edition artwork. A testament to the iconic bag’s ability to inspire unbridled creativity, this year, artists Amelie Bertrand, Daniel Buren, Ugo Rondinone, Peter Marino, Park Seo-Bo and Kennedy Yanko have brought their unique creative visions to the bag’s timeless design.

Amelie Bertrand. Credit: Louis Vuitton

In this exclusive interview, we speak to Amelie Bertrand, an artist whose work consists of colourful, psychedelic imagery, a myriad of hallucinatory images — such as leitmotifs of chains, camouflage, tiles and tropical plants. Here she describes the inspiration behind her design for the Artycapucines, and what it’s like making Louis Vuitton’s first ever Capucines to glow in the dark.

Tell us a bit about your background. 

I am from Cannes, Côte d’Azur. When I think of my childhood I think of endless sunsets, which to this day are suggested in the colours and light I use in my paintings. My father is an artist and graphic designer, and I was brought up in an environment where drawing was the most natural thing to do. That led me to study at the Beaux-Arts in Marseille, and then pursue a life as an artist. 

What’s the first artwork you recall seeing that left an impression on you? 

At school, I discovered Italian Renaissance painting, which totally blew my mind. Piero della Francesca and, in particular, Giotto. His work feels so contemporary in its conception of space, and its use of colour, decor and sense of artifice — such as the highly stylized clouds — has been a big inspiration to me. 

Credit: Louis Vuitton

Who or what informed your decision to pursue life as an artist? 

From a young age, my father taught me how to use Photoshop. That quickly opened up a world of computer generated drawing — which I kept secret from my tutors at art college — and its techniques and aesthetic influenced everything about my future working process. 

Talk us through that working process. 

My work is a study of surface. Each painting is constructed using layers upon layers of digitally sourced materials — tiling, pebbles, plant motifs, artificial nature — which are first composed as small-scale digital works and then hand-drawn and painted onto the larger-scale canvas. Unlike a lot of painting, there is only one single layer of painting itself in my completed works; the layers exist in the source material, not on the canvas. 

Tell us about working on your Artycapucines bag. 

I immediately thought, a bag’s an object, so let’s treat it as a sculptural work. This made me consider how the light would hit its surfaces, and how the bag itself would throw light back, perhaps onto the owner’s clothes. I wanted a bag that illuminates the night, like a nightclubbing bag, or like those scooters that people “pimp” using those bright artificial light panels. You could say I wanted to pimp my bag! The bag’s phosphorescent handle and surface components “charge up” using daylight in order to then lighten up the night, evoking the internal light that a computer emits. 

Credit: Louis Vuitton

How was the process of working with Louis Vuitton’s expert artisans to transfer your work onto the Capucines bag? 

It was like a highly creative laboratory. The process itself mirrors my own work: the gradual adding of different layers, finding the best possible application of these elements to the surface. As an artist you can be quite free form, whereas the Louis Vuitton artisans are more structured, so we pushed each other in different directions and landed on a final product that feels unexpected and exciting. 

Do you consider this project as art or as fashion? 

I see this project as intrinsically linking the two.