1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
I spent my childhood in the mountains near Grenoble in France. My whole family still lives there. My parents had an old house with a view of the mountains around and a big garden. I shared my spare time between the kitchen table where I was drawing and the forests around. As a child, I was obsessed with witches and monsters, and my notebooks of that time are full of horrific creatures. Once my primary school teacher convened my parents because she was worried that I was only drawing monsters. I was fascinated by the old, thrilling (and pretty gory) fairy tales like Bluebeard, LittleThumb, Hansel and Gretel and some old legends of my region that my Grandma was telling me before going to bed.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
It’s a bit hard to define. I like to paint minimalist compositions, that always give the light and the colours a central role. I’m mostly interested in the atmospheres and feelings that colours can generate.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
All of my illustrations are hand-drawn and painted with acrylic or gouache paints.
While in school, I had classes with the painter Marc Chalmé, who was a purist in his art and very attached to these traditional mediums, especially oil paints. These were my favourite classes, and I was always feeling moved when he was teaching us how to observe textures, colours, lights… It definitely shaped my vision of illustration, in a way that I’m maybe less focused on the concept than the impressions or feelings. I often feel uncomfortable working on a computer. Although I recently tried out some combinations of ink and digital colours on the iPad, I’d much rather take out my paint tubes and brushes.
4. What is your artistic process like?
It usually starts with little doodles in my sketchbook. I carry it with me most of the time, and whenever an idea crosses my mind I make a little drawing to remember it. I mostly draw from my imagination, but I sometimes like to take inspiration from life, nature, museums, streets, cafés… When I’m working on a picture book project, I make a lot of sketches and researches. I draw a small storyboard of the whole book to have a general idea of the compositions, the rhythm, and I even create a small black and white paper layout to see whether it works or not, what pictures need to be replaced or modified.
When I complete the storyboard I draw my sketches again on bigger paper sheets or canvas for the final painting.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
I take my inspiration everywhere: my daily life, my friends, Berlin, old books and movies, Instagram, travels… I think that inspiration is more about living your life and paying attention than anything else, and it is nothing like this magical lamp that switches on and off as it is sometimes pictured. Of course, there are also exercises, such as Lynda Barry’s, Ivan Brunetti’s or Gianni Rodari’s that train both creativity and inspiration and that I’m doing as often as I can to keep my imagination warmed up.
Among the artists that inspire me the most, the first names that I’m thinking about are Félix Vallotton, Maurice Sendak, George Ault, Carson Ellis, Kitty Crowther, Odilon Redon, Henri Rousseau, Guim Tio, Shaun Tan…
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
Art, or at least illustration, is both a passion and a job, which makes it very present in my daily life. As an illustrator, and as a person, I’m questioning a lot of things and I’m trying to answer these questions with stories and pictures.
7. Where did you study?
I studied at Pivaut School in Nantes, France.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
That’s a good question! It’s already quite hard to see myself in a couple of months, so in five years! I hope that things will be still going well and that I’ll have some more books on my shelves.
9. What about in ten?
In ten years, I picture myself painting from a big studio with large windows opening on a lake, and petting a dog with a warm cup of coffee on my desk.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
So far I’ve mostly worked for children’s books, and I would be interested to expand my work to new formats, such as fashion, objects or set design. One of my current goals as an illustrator is also to develop more « activist » stories and picture books, involving more feminist, queer or ecological topics…
I’ve been recently told by a publisher that children’s literary wasn’t a place for activism, and I don’t agree at all. There is so much to question, to be curious about, to defend, to fight for, and children’s literary, and picture books in general, are a major place for that.
The more I work, the more I question myself about what it means to be an illustrator, and the more I try to be aware and conscious of what I choose to represent.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
Any Israeli dish.
12. Favourite book?
The answer certainly changes every day. The books that right now pops up in my mind is the Odyssey of Homer, although it is not the book I’d spontaneously read again.
13. Favourite genre of music?
I can’t pick one genre either. Right now the songs that I’m listening, again and again, are « Run the road » of Santigold, « Barrio » of Mahmood and « Where The Catch » of James Blake.
14. What are your hobbies?
When I’m not drawing, I go to the gym, or to boulder. I try to spend a lot of time outdoors or with my friends.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?