Hi, Alphonse Mucha, Could you tell us a bit about your background and what led you to pursue painting?

I was born in 1860 in Moravia, now part of the Czech Republic. Initially, I worked as a decorative painter in Moravia, mostly on theatrical scenery. My big break came in Paris, where I moved in 1887 to continue my studies. It was there that I began my work in illustration, which led to my defining work in the Art Nouveau movement. My poster for the play 'Gismonda', featuring actress Sarah Bernhardt, gained wide acclaim and essentially launched my career in this style.

How would you describe your approach to art and the development of your style?

My approach to art is deeply influenced by the Art Nouveau movement. I focus on creating harmonious works characterized by sinuous lines, natural forms, and a sense of elegance and beauty. Over time, my style became known for its depiction of graceful women, decorative floral elements, and intricate details. I believe art should be a part of everyday life, and so I applied my art to a wide range of media.

What inspires you to choose the subjects that you do?

I am inspired by the beauty in nature and the female form. My work often features women in flowing robes, surrounded by lush floral motifs, representing both sensuality and innocence. I'm also inspired by Slavic folklore and nationalism, which can be seen in some of my later works that reflect my Czech heritage.

Could you elaborate on how you approach color in your work?

My use of color is often soft and pastel, contributing to the overall dreamy and ethereal quality of my work. I employ color to enhance the ornamental and decorative quality of my designs, with careful attention to how it complements the overall composition and mood of the piece.

Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring artists who look up to your work?