Petite Noir’s art director Rochelle Nembhard on her bold and futuristic vision

Rochelle Nembhard has been collaborating with South African musician Petite Noir (Yannick Illunga) for six years, working as his creative director and producing strong visuals for his latest album, La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful and other releases.

Rochelle moves around between Africa, Europe and Asia and her global travels have clearly influenced her immersive and distinct ideas. She discusses her creative process, how she works with Petite Noir and which artists she has her eye on.

How did you start working in the arts?

I can’t pinpoint a particular time I started working in the arts. I feel like I have been a part of the arts my whole life. I have always appreciated the beauty in the unknown. As I got older I had visions that would jump in my head and take me hostage till I released them into the physical world. I guess I started working in the arts when I accepted the visions I had and decided to let them manifest into reality. When I started university, I was a muse to many painters and sculptures, this was around the same time I started Drone Jewels and a creative collective called Drone Society.

Artwork by Lina Viktor

Artwork by Lina Viktor

And how did you become Petite Noir’s creative director?

Yannick and I have been partners for six years. We have loved and worked together since the day we met. Our creativity is intrinsically linked. We ran a creative collective called Drone Society in 2011 which over time morphed into the conceptual movement we have today which is called ‘Noirwave’.

Yannick would always work on the music and I would work on the vision which has taken on many forms including visuals. Once he had completed his album, Yannick asked me to come on board as his creative director. This made complete sense to me and was very similar to what we had already been doing, the only difference was that I had a name for it and I would be working with larger teams of people.

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