Becoming a parent is an experience no one can fully explain or prepare for. Aside from the inevitable mix of emotions and sheer love for your new bundle of joy, unexpected things turn your world upside down. Inès Pagniez has attempted to share some of them in her humorous new campaign, Mum's Life.
Using her trademark colour palette and charming clay figures, Inès Pagniez has expressed some of the universal realities of becoming a mother, from body changes and brain fog to low energy, in a fresh series that will relate to many parents.
The idea sparked during maternity leave with her second child. She wanted to share much of the "not always glamorous" or tender moments you aren't prepared for. "At first, it was just a little side project to get my hands back at work, but I realised I loved working on something to reflect what I was experiencing at that moment," she says. "There are so many things I didn't know about pregnancies and postpartum; I knew the body would change but not this much, the hormone roller coaster, the (thankfully temporary) sleep deprivation, the weird butt cramps after giving birth. Having a baby is an amazing experience and definitely a big source of inspiration."
A French sculptor specialising in plasticine, Inès's work is characterful, playful and cleverly depicts the everyday mannerisms and nuances of human expression. A graduate of the French animation school Supinfocom, Inès arrived in London in 2012 and worked as a 3D animator for some years. Having a passion for the imperfection and accessibility of plasticine, she decided to move away from computer-based work to start using her hands to create. Something stuck, and she's been immersed in sculpture and animation ever since. "I'd describe my work as colourful, joyful, with a love for dark humour. I adore the clay medium, the childish side of it, and the fact that it is accessible to anybody."
Has Inès's work changed at all since becoming a mother? "Probably because I have so little time now, I focus on things that I want to do and subjects that matter to me instead of just producing a large amount of work just for the sake of being productive and posting."
Looking through the Mum's Life series, there will be some familiar experiences for other mothers. But what did Inès find the most surprising? "Probably that it's impossible to plan anything. First, you don't know when you'll get pregnant, then sometimes you're pregnant, and you don't even know – I found out I was pregnant with my daughter at four months," she says. "I thought I knew which mother I was going to be, but I wasn't; you don't know how your kids will be. You just have to adapt and go with the flow, which is challenging for me. But It is a happy mess, really."
Other recent projects that have captured our eye include Inès's cover for the Financial Times' weekend magazine and her commission for McDonald's in France via DDB and Pell Mell. For more, visit her portfolio or follow her on Instagram.
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