Friday, 10 January 2014

Exclusive Interview: Illustrator Jean André De Trémontels

Talented French artist and graphic designer Jean André De Trémontels is a master of quirky, fun, and sometimes, cheekily provocative, sketchbook-like illustrations - all of which follow a minimalist and mainly monochrome aesthetic. I caught up with him to discuss his inspirations and why women are his favourite subject matter.

How long have you been drawing?

I've been drawing since forever! It's been my passion since day one.

How would you describe the style of your work - what is your signature aesthetic?

I guess it's the ink that I use. I draw/paint in black on paper with a dark black ink. I like rough images, I am not into aesthetics, I am not searching for the 'perfect quality' within my images. I just create and what comes out is the image as I leave it, I just like creating!

What is your favourite subject matter to draw?

Nowadays it's women. I always liked the 70's 'Men's Adventure' novels, the one's where the half naked girl is rescued before she's eaten by a crocodile!
I also like the Russ Meyer movies (Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!), the style of old burlesque posters, the shapes of Henri Matisse. There are so many influences from the last century which have become the main source of ideas for my work.

Some of your female-focused illustrations are a little provocative but fun at the same time - what is the message you're trying to communicate with those?

I don't have any message, I'm just drawing, that's all! I don't think that I am provocative and I don't set out to cross any forbidden line. I don't like the style or essence of pornography so my work is just what it is, I guess people will think what they want!

Where are you based, and where do you create most of your work?

I live and work in Montmartre, here in Paris.

How do you keep your work fresh?

I try to draw each time I have free time in my day. I want the people who follow my work to stay tuned and never lose touch with it. So I move forward with new ideas and try to keep a unity to all my images.

Which other illustrators inspire you?

There are so many! I love the work of Yue Wu, Todd James, Tim Lahan, Jean Jullien, Cleon Peterson, Kevin Lyons.

Have you exhibited any of your work in a gallery space? And do you plan to in the future?

My first exhibition was last summer in Paris for Nike Studio, that was an awesome experience. I now create pieces for the HVW8 gallery in Los Angeles, who have been great in giving my work exposure and enabling me to travel with it.
I also did Art Basel Miami this past Winter with my collegues Kevin Lyons and Erin Garcia.
We plan to show our work in NY, LA & Berlin, and I have my very first own show on Feb 3 to 22 at the Colette Store.

Tell me about some of the other creative collaborations / art-based projects you've done?

I work as Art Director for Ed Banger, a french electro record label, 
so every musical project with an artist is a new adventure for me to create the perfect visual for an album. I work with a Parisian clothing brand called POYZ&PIRLZ, and I'm involved in some new projects with the Colette store, which I'm really excited about, but I cannot say anymore right now!

Who else would you like to collaborate with?

Right now I'm happy with everything I'm doing project-wise.

What other upcoming plans and projects do you have for 2014?

I will re-edit my first book Je t'adore (available at Colette Paris), and I am producing a newspaper featuring all of the submissions I drew for a recent instagram project. [Jean Andre invited all of his followers to get in touch for the opportunity to be drawn by him].
I will also make more art objects, silk scarves, more porcelain [he created a series of black & white ashtrays for Poyz & Pirlz], and I hope to draw many magazine covers and hold more exhibitions.
All Images © Jean André De Trémontels



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