The Freediving Painter

Kukukita, a French artist living in Bali, had the strange idea one day of painting underwater. Her real name is Orianne Sophie, and she is a 28-year-old illustrator who has been passionate about diving for years. This self-taught painter studied philosophy, and has always been fascinated by color and the underwater world. Along with her Japanese husband, she settled in Bali two years ago to experiment with different artistic ideas. Today, they are in Gill Air to paint underwater.

The Approach of Kukukita is to create without conceptualizing; thus, her work focuses mainly on colors and not shapes. “Free diving is a discipline that requires the least amount of effort to take full advantage of the aquatic world. It is necessary to limit movements and unnecessary thoughts as they consume energy. Only simple but effective movements should be made.” She practices it regularly, and likes to compare painting underwater to a form od meditation. She dives to a shallow depth and holds her breath for about a minute, working in the utmost calm. “In the water, colors, perceptions and ideas are different. I simply let myself be guided by my feelings; I paint in weightless conditions in clear water while playing with beautiful colors. It feels incredibly gentle; you really feel at one with the sea.“ She creates her paintings with natural pigments, sequins and a mixture of different vegetable oils, including linseed oil that speeds up drying time. She works on canvas with towels and directly with her fingers, while attached to an easel weighted with 10kg of lead.