Your drawing displays small portraits of a variety of people and animals. Who are they and why did you feel the need to draw them?
“This work is conceived as a free gallery of portraits, of which all characters and figures come from old sketchbooks, from about 10 years ago. They are all images from vintage films or fussy commercials that I find interesting and expressive. There is a certain awkwardness and anger in it, and at the same time, I tried to keep things light. This assignment was a good opportunity to look back at those drawings and to make a selection on the spot with the most expressive ones.”
So it seems as if you have placed the different people and animals together quite randomly. Is this the right way of phrasing it or not?
“I wouldn’t call this composition random, but rather intuitive. I had no idea what it would look like in advance. One figure calls out another. The size of the chalkboard is relatively big, so I wasn’t able to see the whole work at a glance. This contributed to the intuitivity, in where I had to work ‘by feeling’. I tried to find a balance between male and female figures, between different emotions and expressions to create contrasts, to give the drawing a certain dynamic. I eventually removed the pigeon from the two animals because I had already used it in my last chalk drawing called ‘Early Birds’. I promised my daughter to use the horse. I like visual contrasts, so I always look for combinations of characters that collide and bite each other. Herein lies the logic of the drawing for me.”
Much of your work is concerned with alienation and wonder. Why are you interested in these subjects?
“When I start with a work of art, it is almost always with the idea of making images or objects ‘my own’. This is how alienation origins during the creative process, by moving existing images or objects in a context where they do not belong in order to emphasize certain properties/expressions. I find it especially important to question obvious things.”
Is there a particular message you want to transmit via this drawing?
“In this case, I would like to see my drawing as a word of welcome for the guests of the hotel, and as a nice business card for me.”
Interested in more work of Jean-Phillipe? Check out his website or Instagram.