Inspired by the Queer, BDSM and nightlife scenes in Brussels, Caroline Gibaut, AKA Petrouchkaka, brings all her influences into colourful bird-like brilliance through her detailed illustrations. Celebrating the female body and the diversity of its curves with her powerful figures, she crowns each with the head of a bird, a symbolic form for freedom and strength.

Originally from Brittany, France, Caroline became a bit of a nomad in the early days of her creative practice. She has studied graphic design in Bristol, a city she fell in love with. After a short stint in Bordeaux, she finally settled in Brussels where she now lives and works. Finding there also “the open-mindedness and the benevolence that I had liked so much in England”, the buzz of the city has come to influence much of her work. This is most clearly demonstrated in her series Les Devantures. Inspired by the photos on her phone of past adventures, this is Caroline’s love letter to “Brussels’ drunken evenings where you walk through the streets with a can of Jupiler in your hand”.

When Caroline describes her creative process, we realize that she embodies the creatures in her illustrations as she is a bit of a night-owl herself. Inspiration comes to her during spells of insomnia. This is when Caroline dreams up the saturated colour combinations and detailed patterns that characterise her work. The effect of this vibrant mix is “a bit like the embroidery you might find on traditional Breton costumes,” Caroline says. Though Brussels is where her heart lies, referencing these costumes through her work is a way of reconnecting with the Breton heritage of her childhood.

Works by Petrouchkaka

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