SOLENN HEUSSAFF expresses her deep love for her fellow Filipinos by working with and supporting talented artists and depicting our people’s passion through her own art
Solenn Heussaff-Bolzico wants her art to talk about what is real and what can uplift her countrymen: "I have always painted people I see on a day-to-day basis. I take their photos and imagine what kind of day they have had”
Abrowse through Solenn Heussaff’s Instagram conveys the many hats she wears: mother, wife, artist, actress, fitness fanatic, brand ambassador, and business owner. But that's just the tip of the iceberg of what she wants to become.
“I just want to keep growing and learning. I am excited to see what I am capable of doing," she shares.
In the middle of the pandemic we are all living through, Heussaff finds the drive to broaden her horizons by knowing that humans have the capabilities to adapt.
The 35-year-old has faced difficult circumstances in the past year. She went through postpartum depression after the birth of her and husband Nico Bolzico’s first child, Thylane Katana. Heussaff’s father, Louis Paul, was also infected with COVID-19 last July. (He has since gotten better.)
Despite these, Heussaff leans into the comforting prospects of the situation. “There have been many silver linings like being able to really spend time with family, being 101 percent handson with my daughter, giving life a new perspective, and actually seeing what's important and what isn't,” she says.
In March, Heussaff premiered “Kudiman,” her third solo art exhibit, at Modeka Art Gallery. Just like the exhibition's title, her collection of paintings is a love song to Filipinos.
“I have always painted people I see on a dayto-day basis,” she says. “I take their photos and imagine what kind of day they have had.”
“Many people say my artwork is social realism, yes in a way because I paint from photos I take, but I also re-write a part of the person's story... which is why I like to paint people that I don't know”
“Ihave always painted people I see on a dayto-day basis. I take their photos and imagine what kind ofday theyhave had”
The collection opens with a piece called “The Beginning,” which portrays the abundance of life. The exhibit then flows to paintings that revolve around the disorder of living in Metro Manila and the cry for change as led by the younger generation. At its conclusion, Kundiman ends with “Paradise,” a painting about how there is hope in moving forward.
The exhibit derives through the union of Heussaff’s artistic process: taking candid shots of Filipinos in their communities, being informed of the country’s current state, and seeing real people for who they are. “Then things just flow together from there,” she explains.
Heussaff started her art journey at three years old through painting classes. She started working with acrylic, oil, then tapestry painting, a form of textile art. When she was 18 years old, she developed her signature style and preferred techniques.
"Many people say my artwork is social realism, yes in a way because I paint from photos I take, but I also re-write a part of the person's story. Which is why I like to paint people that I don't know," Heussaff shares.
Social realism is an art movement that sheds light on sociopolitical conditions. It sometimes critiques the power structure behind the shape of the working class's quality of life. Varying from nation to nation, the movement depends on the current socio-political tensions relevant to the time.
The artist adds that friends have asked her to create commissioned pieces of themselves. But being acquainted with the painting's subject would remove her ability to render an original story for them, and so she respectfully declines.
“There have beenmany silverlinings like being able to really spend timewith family, being 101percent hands-on- with mydaughter, giving life a new perspective, and actually seeing what's important and what isn't.”
INVESTING IN GROWTH
Heussaff’s 7.8 million followers on Instagram are always updated as she actively shares posts and stories of her life at home, from what she cooks to how she unwinds.
“Many times, people message asking where I got my mugs or certain ingredients I use and more. So, I thought, why not have a place that sells all the things I love?” she shares. This led to the the creation of Solenn Manila, which caters to the influx of inquiries the French-Filipina receives.
“I love passionate people that share their talent. So, with partners, we decided to open Solenn Manila, a brand that reflects my philosophy on what makes life beautiful and a place where I can collaborate with my favorite brands,” she explains.
In her quest for personal growth, the actress has been pivoting toward more entrepreneurial ventures. “I am more business-minded now because of the pandemic and having time at home to study and take a breath to think of what I want,” Heussaff shares. “I am enjoying this part of my life, but I also love shooting films. I want to have the liberty to choose the projects I accept.”
As an artist, Heussaff is working on artwork for the renowned event Art Basel. While as an actress, she is auditioning for a role in an international film. Of course, among her top prioritizes is her health, so she can be the best version of herself for her family.
Heussaff has become a multi-hyphenate because she refuses to limit her abilities and the ways she can impact others. “I need to keep working hard,” she says. “I know things will unfold nicely.”