‘Everyone should have a tree in their home’: The Highbury artist connecting people to nature

Camille Deniau founder of Project Roots

Camille Deniau founder of Project Roots - Credit: Camille Deniau

A Highbury-based artist is bringing nature into people’s homes through detailed wall-art of trees. 

Camille Deniau, founder of art and lifestyle brand Project Roots, sketches black and white tree designs on framed glass or paper. 

The 33-year-old had previously worked in the technology industry for several years before leaving her job at the end of 2020 to pursue her artistic ambitions.

She said: “My whole idea with Project Roots is that everyone should have a tree in their home.”

Born in France, Camille grew up primarily in Singapore and London, studying geography and economics at the London School of Economics before settling in a job at Google in Dublin.

Artwork from Project Roots

Artwork from Project Roots - Credit: Camille Deniau

According to Camille, the work environment at Google encouraged workers to explore their hobbies and it was during this time she reconnected with her creative endeavours. 

The Highbury resident said: “Art has always been something that I did to relax and it had long been a tool of mindfulness for me. 

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“Then about six years ago I had a bit of an identity crisis, because I grew up all over the world and I started questioning: Who am I?”

While exploring her personal origins, Camille found a foundation in art and nature and especially developed an interest in trees and the strength of their roots – the very roots she felt she lacked. 

Camille Deniau founder of Project Roots

Camille Deniau founder of Project Roots - Credit: Camille Deniau

Through her tree-inspired artworks, Camille explained, she could explore her own feelings of rootlessness while finding stability within the power of nature. 

The artist said: “Trees are so much bigger than us and I have this feeling of being very safe in their presence.

“It’s also the fact that they live such long lives, you look at them and think of all the memories of our ancestors they carry but also all the hopes for our futures.”

Initially sketching on paper, before moving on to tracing paper to provide a more translucent base, Camille eventually discovered painting on glass when she accidentally found old picture frames under her bed.

Framed glass provides an especially fascinating medium, Camille explained, as depending on the time of day the shadow of the tree design that is projected onto the wall behind the glass differs.  

Having found her own artistic style, Camille launched Project Roots initially alongside her job before deciding to devote all her time to developing the brand over one year ago.

She said: “It was such a feeling of freedom discovering this whole new world, meeting so many incredible people, creative entrepreneurs, artists and small business owners who are doing incredible things.”

Now, the artist mainly produces commissioned works where customers request a specific tree, often one with a particular meaning, to be painted onto glass. 

In a process taking up to three weeks, Camille confers with her clients to produce the desired design before she begins drawing it on glass with a black permanent marker. 

Artwork from Project Roots

Artwork from Project Roots - Credit: Camille Deniau

Alongside this, the entrepreneur recently launched a collection of artworks drawn on paper in an effort to make her products more affordable and realise her mission to bring a tree into everyone’s home. 

Her non-commissioned works are often inspired by walks through Highbury, where she lives with her fiancé.

Camille said: “I use inspiration from my nearby park or Highbury fields. It’s wonderful to be surrounded by so many trees in London.”

Her favourite tree, however, is one not commonly found in the area. 

The frangipani tree sports big yellow scented flowers and is often found in Asia or Central America – and Camille’s living room in Highbury!  

For the artist it is a reminder of her connection to Asia where she spent much of her childhood.

Looking back at her journey towards developing Project Roots, Camille said: “I remember when I was applying for university and writing my personal statement, it was all about how I really loved people in nature and I wanted to explore that connection. 

“So here I am. 20 years later.”

Visit: www.projectrootsart.com