Meet Pounou Heart's You creator Pauline Gentin, a Paris born, New York illustrator who creates stationary, cosmetic bags, and other charming products out of her own drawings. She moved to New York 6 years ago from France to pursue a career in fashion after attending Parson's in Paris for design. After working for such highly esteemed brands as Diane Von Furstenburg and Christian Louboutin, Pauline decided design was no longer on the path she wanted to tread. She has since replaced her needle and thread with a pen and paper.
New York is a funny place in the sense that you come here thinking you want to do one thing and will most likely end up doing something completely different. Pauline left Paris for New York because, as she said, "I didn't want to stay in a comfortable situation where I knew what I could do, but not what I could not do." Above is a quote she believes defines why she first ventured to New York. Fashion design may have inspired her move to the big city but her passion is now for illustrations that allow her to be herself--a self who collects wands and is a die hard Tim Burton fan.
If it wasn't for New York, Pauline never would have begun illustrating. After a couple years of living here she grew restless of the city. Her boyfriend was far and she was lonely. "I had to add something to my life," she said, "I needed another world I could live in." So she created a character of herself and her boyfriend, Fab, and began communicating with him by sending him her drawings of the two of them. Later on, she incorporated her chihuahua as a main character in her illustrations. Eventually Fab moved to New York with Pauline but her illustrations continued. In 2011, her resolution was to start a blog ofher daily drawings.
To understand the humor behind her illustrations you have to understand the characters. Her boyfriend, Fab, became Bouboule (pronounced boo-bool), which means "fatty" in French (a name his friends gave him she swears by!). He is always identifiable by his hat and sideways cap. Pauline became Pounou (pronounced poo-new), a funner, more naive version of herself, who is always happy but never really understands anything. Her chihuahua, Em'bo, plays himself, the too cool for school companion who has all the friends and, as she describes, "has the H&M Versace collection before anyone else." Pauline's main characters are definitely inspiredby those close to her and her daily drawings touch on subjects related to everyday life.
The humor in her work is quirky and relatable and even more attractive knowing that all it's positivity resulted from a difficult time in her life. Her stationary and cosmetic bags are available on Etsy and are also sold at Colette, a boutique in Paris. She draws all the images with the same pen, colors them in photoshop and prints the cards herself. Our favorite cards are her, "Just Because" stationary but we are also a fan of her personalized projects.
Pauline was very welcoming. She opened up her apartment for a couple of hours and we spent the late afternoon laughing and sharing our passions and experiences. It is people like Pauline who epitomize the experience of a New York transplant with her personal journey and the ultimate realization and pursuit of a previously hidden talent. After asking Pauline if she wants to leave the city anytime soon she responded, "I want to stay in New York because it has nurtured this new life for me... It took me time but I've gained a new way of meeting people, like you!" So thanks Pounou, we heart you too.
Be sure to follow Pounou Heart's You on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. You can also follow her blog or shop her products on Etsy.