1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
I am Cécile Alvarez alias chroniclewow, I like to create pictures: I’m an illustrator. I was born in Paris and grew up in the suburb. When I was a child, I was constantly making up stories in my mind and my big passions were cartoons, drawing lame comics with my best friend and playing Pokémon! As I became older, I decided I wanted to produce art: so I developped a big interest in animation, and later in graphic design, and ultimately I chose illustration, which was the best way to communicate my ideas.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
Colours, shapes, composition. Colour is one of the most important thing and I can’t help but pick vivid colors, I guess I like their brutality. But I’m triying to diversify my palette. I think my work is like assembling forms and objects to create a picture, like a collage. That’s it. I also like to keep the grain of paper.
I want my work to keep a spontaneity and even a little absurdity. I like when I watch a movie or read a book and it doesn’t reveal everything so you have to imagine and make connections in your head, and everybody can react to it its own way. I’d like my pictures to convey that kind of feeling.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
Sharp pencil, coloured pencil. I like marking paper with them, I can use them very carefully and softly and then suddenly press hard and i’ts brutal! And then I add watercolour. But recently I’ve made some work fully on Photoshop and it’s pretty interesting, you have to adapt your way of working cause it’s very different than starting on paper. And something I really like to use on more personal things is black ink. Again I like it’s brutality, I have sketchbooks filled with black ink!
4. What is your artistic process like?
First I think of an idea, it can come out of nowhere so I make a quick sketch to keep it in mind. Sometimes I do several sketches to think about the composition more efficiently. I write notes about how I want some part of the illustration to look like, about colours and about everything I don’t want to forget, even though I might not use these notes at all. And usually when it’s done I’ve already decide which medium I’ll use, so I start to draw!
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
Ah, yeah I don’t know how to answer shortly to this : everything I experience, love and all the things I find cool inspires me. Words inspire me a lot too, an association of words can be the beginning of a great idea. The work of Inio Asano and Kiyohiko Azuma. Petites coupures à Shioguni and Tokyo Sanpo by Florent Chavouet. Nintendo games. Also the urban landscape, urban elements, urban life are a huge inspiration. The world is a theater. And abstract expressionism… Actually I don’t think I can totally explain what inspires me, it’s an indescriptible mess in my head.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
It makes me wonder about the process when I see a finished product. Art is everywhere if you pay attention and it’s powerful. At some point I was spending a lot of time travelling in the suburb so I was taking photographs of everything in the streets, in the train stations, etc; and it made me notice things I wouldn’t have otherwise and I learned a lot from this. Art has helped me growing, finding myself and imposing who I am. I am a big thinker so it helps me channeling my thoughts.
7. Where did you study?
I study everywhere, I am self-taught! I did take art class during high-school, and after graduating I went to a Classe Préparatoire aux Grandes Ecoles d’Arts, I was specialised in Illustration but I pass exams in several Art Schools in order to study graphic design. I ended up accepted in most of them. I stayed less than a week and I dropped out. I was bored, and also I wanted to focus on my drawing. I needed autonomy and efficiency.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?
In 5 years I hope I will be able to make a living out of my illustrations. I think I would rather be working as a freelance than in an agency. I hope I’ll still be progressing a lot and I hope I’ll be more confident.
9. What about in ten?
I’ll still be drawing, and well, as a freelance too. One of the thing I’d like to do is illustrate a poster. I’d also like to create a book full of illustrations and words not necessarily a storytelling but more like an experience, a universe to discover with things to connect. Something close to a travel diary.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
It makes me happy. I’d like to develop my graphic universe and be proud of it.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
My girlfriend’s cookies, paella and…underdone food.
12. Favourite book?
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and Occupied City (Tokyo Trilogy) by David Peace are my top 2.
13. Favourite genre of music?
The original soundtracks of Pokémon games, indie rock and indie folk, Daft Punk. Music is so important, I think it has even become a part of who I am!
14. What are your hobbies?
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
A Pokémon trainer for sure.