Entertaining ourselves during the COVID-19 lockdowns looked different for everyone: Some people baked bread, some learned TikTok dances, and some watched all of Netflix. French creative director and artist Caroline Rennequin’s pandemic-fueled outlet? Painting a series of 350 vibrant flowers, most of which she created using gouache paint—​​an opaque watercolor made from natural pigment—on India paper. 

This month, local home goods boutique Homebody hosts “Milky Way Flowers,” an exhibition showcasing a selection of Rennequin’s lively florals, at Ginny Williams Gallery in Cherry Creek. We caught up with the artist ahead of her first-ever U.S. exhibition.  

Editor’s note: The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

5280 Home: Have you always had an inclination for the arts?
Caroline Rennequin: I’ve been involved in art schools and the artistic community since I was 15 years old. Pursuing this career path has always been obvious to me. Since I finished my studies, I’ve engaged in painting, sculpture, photography, costume design, fashion, and window displays. For the past 15 years, I’ve focused on two areas: painting and sculpture, and artistic direction for the fashion industry.

How do those mediums—fine arts and fashion—influence one another in your work?
As an artist, my practice is a dialogue with myself. My perspective requires total freedom to create paintings that are unique and personal. My work as an artistic director involves a dialogue with another creative person regarding their work, to which I bring my vision and expertise in colors, as well as my creativity in decoration. My artistic knowledge has greatly influenced my work in fashion—it’s a strong source of inspiration that has always made me unique in the fashion industry.

What inspired you to create your collection of vibrant floral paintings?
Reading French philosopher Emanuele Coccia’s work on our belonging to nature was the trigger. [I felt compelled to] express my relationship with nature, to represent its strength, and define the empathy I feel for it. The aesthetic inspiration comes from the 1970s, my childhood era, while Egyptian art, antiquity, and primitive Italian painting also influence my work. 

What message do you hope to convey through your art?
I am captivated by the magic that inhabits works of art and allows them to cross different eras with ease. If a painting or artwork provides this sensation, I’ve achieved my goal. Art transforms us, it allows us to find new perspectives for our lives, and it triggers different sensations.

The opening reception for “Milky Way Flowers” by Caroline Rennequin is Friday, April 7, from 5:30–8 p.m at the Ginny Williams Gallery (299 Fillmore St.). The show is on display Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. through April 18 before it moves to Homebody (2920 E. 6th Ave.).