Artist Isabelle Feliu Invites Us Into Her Minimal Oslo Apartment
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, artist Isabelle Feliu welcomes us into her home.
If Isabelle Feliu’s art looks familiar to you, it’s probably because you’ve seen it in your dreams—or on Instagram, at the very least. The Québec-born, Oslo-based artist paints lush, idyllic scenes inspired by travel, interiors, nature and womanhood. They’re the kind of pieces you wish you could live inside—with a perfect breakfast scene here, a heavenly holiday moment there. In fact, each dreamscape invented seems more idyllic than the last.
As with her work, Isabelle’s home is a curated space designed to harness imagination and creativity. She describes her style as ‘minimal’ and heavily influenced by her five years in Scandinavia. Still, her colourful artworks take centre stage in the living room and bedroom, with teak mid-century modern furnishings and vintage trinkets placed thoughtfully throughout the space.
The bedroom is a calm and tranquil scene with slate walls and Lavender linens; whilst in her home studio, potted plants, paintbrushes, and colourful mood boards are balanced out with just the right amount of negative space. As you’ll see, Isabelle’s interior aesthetic is stylish and considered—just like the women and scenes she paints.
Shop our exclusive Isabelle Feliu x Bed Threads Prints here.
Hi Isabelle! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
I make illustrations, mostly hand-painted.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
I am a very introverted person and I am not really good with words. During the last few years, I discovered that painting and drawing was the best way for me to express myself and process my emotions. I just feel better when I paint.
When did you start creating art and painting? And what inspired you to go down this route with your career?
I have always loved to draw, but I never thought about doing it professionally until I moved to Norway a few years ago to be with my boyfriend. I just had a lot of free time and I started to paint every day. Little by little, as I started to gain visibility, I realised that this was something I could do and a lifestyle that worked with my personality.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
If I am very lucky, I get a clear idea of what I want to do. When that happens, it feels amazing because I have a vision to guide me and it makes me feel confident about the image I’m creating. Most times, though, I start by researching pictures that inspire me, and I try to find the right colour palettes. I then sketch a lot, reworking and overthinking details and compositions until I feel satisfied to go ahead with my final painting.
What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to grow your creative business?
Definitely social media, I don’t think I would have been able to build my business without it.
What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt since you started your business?
Saying no. I struggled with it at the beginning, but I quickly realised that it wasn’t manageable to accept projects that didn’t inspire me or that I didn’t fully believe in. In this industry, there are a lot of people who want you to work for free, promising exposure among other things. It is important to say no to these offers if you want to keep your energy for projects that you’re truly passionate about and will help you build your career.
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your business?
I think that overall, it is great to have more freedom. I had never been in this situation before where I could travel when I wanted and manage my time as I see fit, so I feel extremely privileged to have found this way of working.
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to start their own business?
Don’t listen to others! It sounds a bit cheesy, but it is important to follow your heart. There are no traced paths in the art and creative world, so it is time to do things your way—from your style to your website and social media, how you choose the person and businesses you work with and so on.
Shop Isabelle's look with the Objet Aimee Coquille Vase.
Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
Almost five years.
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
I moved to Oslo to be with my boyfriend, and since this is his apartment, it was kind of part of the package. I didn’t get much choice, but I really liked it here which made it easier to move from Montreal.
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
Not really, we just changed the guest room into a little office where I could work.
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
We live in a very small space, so it is important for us to keep it functional and minimal. We are always careful not to buy too many things and choose pieces that we will love for a long time. We are always asking ourselves, “Do we really need this? Do we have space for it?”
What are your favourite pieces in the home?
We recently got a beautiful throw from BFGF, and I also love our Alvar Aalto vase from Iittala. I love its shape and I often draw it when I feel uninspired.
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
I think we have all we need for now, but I recently got a new apartment in Montreal and I have been obsessing about getting a Helle Mardahl vase, even though the place is currently empty and I should start by getting a bed!
Which is your favourite room in the house?
My little office! It can be a bit challenging to move into someone else’s place, and for me it made it a lot easier to have a little space that is mine.
Shop Isabelle's look with the Lavender Bedding Set.
Tell us about your bedroom.
It has a soothing effect on me. When I moved here, it felt like it was the first time in my life that I had a bedroom that wasn’t chaos. It might be the long and opaque velvet curtains, the dark grey of the walls or the view of the mountains, but I instantly feel calmer when I step in it.
What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?
I have yet to style a place all by myself, but having lived in small apartments all my life, I definitely value minimalism in decoration. I think it might also be the Scandinavian influence after all these years! These days, we are bombarded with images and it is difficult to know what we truly like or what to buy/style our place with. I think it is important to take a step back and try to understand our true personal taste. Personally, I know that I genuinely like a piece when I still think of it a few months after having seen it for the first time.
Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?
In the next few months, I would like to concentrate on personal work and paint more on canvas and bigger format. I’d also love to have a few more collaborations with clothing brands, but we will see!
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