Interview: Jean Jullien
Jean Jullien ist einer der vielseitigsten Künstler, die mir im Netz begegnet sind. Neben der Malerei und Illustration beschäftigt er sich mit Skulpturen aus Papier und Holz, T-Shirt-Design, Theaterkulissen, Kostümen, Kurzfilmen und Schriftdesign.
Hier Teil 3 der Reihe Diskursdisko interviewt interessante Künstler.
Experimentation is the whole point of my studies. To me, it’s the best place to experiment and try new things.
Diskursdisko: Hi Jean. To start things off, what’s your background? When did you start doing illustrations and creating artwork?
Jean Jullien: I come from Nantes, France. I did a degree in Quimper (France), then moved to London to do another degree in graphic design at Central Saint Martins. And I’m now doing a Master at the Royal College of Art alongside my professional activities.
I’ve always drawn alot. I’ve been keeping a visual diary for about 5 years now so that keeps me drawing when I’m too busy working on other stuff.
I started experimenting in the illustrative field at Central Saint Martins. Experimentation is the whole point of my studies. To me, it’s the best place to experiment and try new things. It’s like a peaceful laboratory where I’ve met a lot of interesting people and where I can progress without having anything else in mind, develop tools and ways of producing that I can then use in my professional work.
If you’re gonna communicate ideas and things, I don’t see the point of being exclusive and producing it for an exclusive crowd. If you wanna assess the quality of your work, show it to a large audience of random people, not to a selected panel of design experts.
Diskursdisko: How do you mainly produce your art?
Jean Jullien:Â I don’t have a set way of producing work. I like to try different things and to renew myself as much as possible. Lately I’ve been approached more and more by people who wanted me to do “paper stuff”. I love working with paper but I am wary of becoming my own cliché. I don’t want to be labelled as a “paper artist”. That’s why I’m more and more drawn towards other mediums like wooden toys, stage design, books, posters, film, costumes and classic illustration. It is essential for me to keep an eclectic body of work. So to answer your question, I don’t have a specific operating system. I’ve used paper a lot not because it’s cool but because it’s the cheapest material I’ve found and it is basic, yet allows you to do virtually anything with it.
Diskursdisko: What inspires you?
Jean Jullien: Pfiouu, a lot of things inspire me. Pretty much everything inspires me to be honest. Toys, comic books, lame tv shows, weird images found on the internet, my brother’s music, children books, paintings. I love masters like Saul Bass, Savignac, Sempé, Sendak, Tomi Ungerer, Daumier, Van Gogh, Jack Kirby or Alan Fletcher but, as I said, there is so much great stuff around, the list would be too long. Recently I’ve been collecting tones of weird random pictures found on the internet. There’s no connection to my work but I like their odd contents. I find randomness to be a great source of inspiration.
Diskursdisko: A lot of your art is based around very colourful, cuddly monsters. Where do they come from, inspiration-wise?
Jean Jullien: Hmm, from early childhood memories I’d say. Toys, cartoons and illustrated books. I love anything japanese and they’ve got the best range of mythological creatures in my opinion. I admire how they’ve managed to incorporate their folklore into their daily visual environment. Creatures like Tanuki are being transformed into kawaÃ¯ characters in order to survive and I see that as a great homage rather than a vulgarisation of the original myth. If only we could do the same with our iconsâ€¦ I’ve never had any intention of doing things for kids, I don’t do it willingly but I guess there’s a simplicity in that field that appeals to me. It’s all about colors, simple shapes and reinvention of the body: it’s a fantastic field of experimentation. So I guess the “cuddly” monsters and other creatures come from that: a subconscious direction toward a simple, careless aesthetic rather than a well thought process to elaborate visuals.
Diskursdisko: Have you considered making toy versions of the monsters, I could imagine there’d be quite a market…?
Jean Jullien: Yeah, I’m actually working on that at the moment. I’m starting with a small range of wooden ones. I want to work with noble materials and get away from my hand drawn production and see if I can keep a certain coherence. I get annoyed with myself when I look at my work and see how quirky and messy it can be. Photography helps to keep it neat but you should see the sets when I do a photoshoot, it’s a horrible mess of paper, inks & tape everywhere. I’d like to try and produce beautiful things for a change.
Diskursdisko: You’ve done quite a few designs for T-Shirts. Do you feel that T-Shirt-Design is different to other, “regular” art?
Jean Jullien: T-Shirts are a very popular medium I find. It can be (in the best case) very cheap and, hence, accessible to everybody. If you’re gonna communicate ideas and things, I don’t see the point of being exclusive and producing it for an exclusive crowd. Exclusivity can be a good thing, in certain specific cases, but I like the idea of sharing thoughts through design and illustration. Plus you get reactions and comments you wouldn’t get on another medium, like someone seeing another person wearing a cool graphic and saying straight away why he likes it etcâ€¦ It’s the beauty of any “vulgar” medium: it provokes honest and genuine reactions. If you wanna assess the quality of your work, show it to a large audience of random people, not to a selected panel of design experts.
Diskursdisko: You’ve done a lot of artwork for french electronic artist Niwouinwouin. What’s the connection – do you also make music yourself, or are you “just” a listener?
Jean Jullien: Niwouinwouin’s my brother. We love working together: he does music for my videos, I do visuals for his albums, we do short films together etc… we share a very precious relation having been brought up together. We’ve watched the same lame tv shows, listened to the same music, played the same video games, spent our whole childhood and teenage years together. In a way, because we’re so similar in everything, we know each other perfectly and, in many ways, we produce the same work, in term of content and fantasy world. I translate it visually, and he translates it musically. If you compare both, I think you’ll find that his music is the perfect illustration of my visual universe.
Great people, total freedom, what else could I ask for?
Diskursdisko: You’ve obviously got the website at jeanjullien.com, any other presences on the web you’d like to publicize? Social networking?
Jean Jullien: Yeah, I’m on YCN, they are this great london based agency that helps young creative. They are doing a really great job, you should check out their website, you’ll find a lot of new talents.Â I’m also represented by TOY, a new illustration label that only just started. It’s by Chris Gray, our abbot. There’s also a lot of great talents in TOY, you should check them all out.Â I’m represented by french agent Illustrissimo, also a fantastic pool of cool illustrators.
As for social networking, well I use good old Facebook like everybody I guess.
Diskursdisko: As you use the internet to showcase your art, are there any other websites you feel have influenced you, opened your mind or shown you new ways of creating art?
Jean Jullien: I couldn’t think of any websites that have influenced me or opened my mind, but looking at the work of some of my friends like oscarandewan.co.uk, pierrevanni.com, damienpoulain.com and jenniehancock.com always makes me feel like I’ve learnt a lesson.
They are all great creatives that I respect.Â
Diskursdisko: Of all the work you’ve created, or at least the ones showcased on your website, can you name a couple that you have a special love for or connection to?
Jean Jullien: Mmmh, let’s seeâ€¦ I think the work I did for Manystuff is one of my favorites. I was given 100% creative freedom by Charlotte Cheetham (who runs Manystuff), which is incredibly rare these days.
We planned the exhibition months in advance and talked a lot over the internet when I was doing the flyers & posters. I met all the others who were involved in the exhibition and it was overall a fantastic experience. Great people, total freedom, what else could I ask for?
I’m going to shoot a music video for Niwouinwouin quite soon, so that’ll be a good warm up for a longer film.
Diskursdisko: Do you have any specific plans for the future direction of your artwork? Stuff you plan on doing?
Jean Jullien: A bunch yeah. Like I said I want to make toys but first I’ll have to find someone to produce them. I’d love to create beautiful wooden toys on a limited edition basis, but also a range of plastic, cheaper ones that’d be more accessible.
In general, I think I would like to get neater, to produce better executed works and to keep my universe, only to develop it through different mediums.
I also plan on starting on my next film at the end of this year, but that’s gonna be a lot of work and will probably take a lot of time. But I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to shoot a music video for Niwouinwouin quite soon, so that’ll be a good warm up for a longer film.
I’d also love to have a solo exhibition and to have Carte Blanche: the opportunity to fill a room or a space with whatever I want. That’d be the best playground I could think of. I’ve been working on a few things for that. Let’s see if that happens in the near future!
Diskursdisko: Jean, many thanks for the interview – is there anything you’d like to add?
Jean Jullien: Thanks to you. I’d just like to thank YCN, Chris Gray and Illustrissimo for all the good things they do for me.
- Interview: Sergey Nikolaev
Der russische Künstler und Illustrator Sergey Nikolaev schafft farbenfrohe, leicht retro-angehauchte Bilder mit hohem Wiedererkennungswert…
- Interview: Frank Chimero
Die Illustrationen von Frank Chimero sind genau das, was ich zum Anfang des Sommers brauche: bunt, knallig, von einem feinen Humor durchzogen und garniert mit schönem Retro-Feeling. Ganz besonders interessant: die Reihe The States, in der Chimero nach und nach die US-Amerikanischen Bundesstaaten durchgeht und zu Objekten morpht. The Past I started drawing when I was a kid
- Interview: Nathan Jurevicius
Nathan Jurevicius illustriert wunderbar verschrobene Phantasiewelten und dazu passende Vinyl Toys und Comics. Seine wohl bekannteste Figur Scarygirl ist seit dieser Woche Star eines fabulösen Browsergames…
- Interview: Max Dalton
Die Illustrationen von Max Dalton wirken, als hätte ein Cartoonist aus den 50er oder 60er Jahren einen Unfall mit einer Zeitmaschine erlebt.
- Interview: Andrew Holder
Andrew Holder gestaltet sehr ruhige, fast schon meditative, pastellfarbene Bilder, Illustrationen und Skulpturen. Insbesondere seine bemalten HirschkÃ¶pfe haben es mir angetan. The Past …it took me a while to realize that I could make a living creatingÂ art. Diskursdisko: Hi Andrew. To start things off, what’s your background? When did you startÂ doing illustrations/artwork? Andrew Holder: I graduated from Art Center