DAMDAM

Conversations with

Ara Starck

BY PHILIPPE TERRIEN

Photographed by Peter Christian Christensen

I first met Ara Starck decades ago when she would visit Tokyo as a child with her father who was my client, the French designer Philippe Starck. A fond, early memory of Ara was of her in a corner of the kitchen at their Paris apartment, surrounded by the chaos of one of the many parties hosted by her father, studiously drawing and making her art. I must have known she would end up in her father’s creative footsteps because I still have some of her childhood drawings saved!

Today, her large fresco paintings decorate the ceilings of hotels such as the Meurice in Paris and the Mondrian in Park Avenue New York. She moonlights as a musician, too – her voice can be heard on records by Lulu Gainsbourg, a family friend. Recently, we reunited in Tokyo at a concert of Lulu’s, with whom she performed, and we stayed in touch since then. Here, a quick chat with the New York-based, tutu-loving artist and new mother, Ara.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a French a storyteller living in New York City.


Photographed by Peter Christian Christensen.


Fresco painting by Ara Starck at the Philippe Starck-designed Hotel Meurice, Paris.

“The inspiration behind my painting installation or exhibition almost always comes from the places itself and its purpose, its magic and poetry.”

What inspires your work?

The inspiration behind my painting installation or exhibition almost always comes from the places itself and its purpose, its magic and poetry.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

I wake up around 6 A.M. with my son and husband. I drink a large cup of plain hot water then head to the gym for an hour and fifteen minutes of cardio.

Ara Starck from a story in Madame Figaro.“Terrien”, a drawing of myself by a young Ara!

“My first emotional and artistic shock happened in Japan when I was 8 years old. I’ve been back since, and the same feeling comes back every time . Tokyo is my ‘madeleine de Proust’.”

Where are your favorite travel destinations?

Tokyo and Formentera! My first emotional and artistic shock happened in Japan when I was 8 years old. I’ve been back since, and the same feeling comes back every time . Tokyo is my ‘madeleine de Proust’. Formentera, is the smallest island of the ballearic in Spain. I’ve been going there since I was born and it’s a place that I’m grateful to also call home.

What do you do on days when you need to unwind and unplug?

I like to take the time to work on a new painting project, a new story, and adventure.

Ara inside Architectural Digest magazine.Ara’s work inside the hotel Mondrian Park Avenue New York.

“In beauty products, I always look for the most natural and organic. I avoid artificial scents but I’m very attracted to the natural fragrance coming from essence of the ingredients.”

Do you have a beauty ritual?

I clean my face morning and night. I use toner and hydrating cream and sunscreen! I rarely put make up on. In beauty products, I always look for the most natural and organic. I avoid artificial scents but I’m very attracted to the natural fragrance coming from essence of the ingredients.

Can you share your most frequented places in Paris/New-York?

In Paris, it’s Hotel Meurice, Sennelier, Quai Voltaire. In New York, the Hotel Mondrian Park Avenue and the Annie O. music series at The Standard, East Village.

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