What is Oulipo? Here's a neat, all purpose definition from Oulipo founder, poet Jacques Roubaud.
In the latest issue of the White Review, which is launching tonight.I've attempted to exhaust George Perec's essay, "An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris", in which the writer sat down for three consecutive days in the Place Saint Sulpice, Paris, trying to record everything that he observed.
The first step in building the Oulipian labyrinth as a visual is surely to create a key that is, if possible, more complicated than the words it represents. After all Walter Benjamin (not an Oulipian, but similar hair) once said
If you can't come to celebrate the launch of the magazine tonight, you can buy The White Review 3 (with my work on a fold-out poster) here.
I talked with José-Louis Bocquet, author of the fabulous Kiki de Montparnasse, at the final event of the weekend, about drawing in London and Paris,as well as drawing a model dressed Kiki-esque lingerie...
There was also absinthe, macarons and many legendary Franco-Belgian comics creators.
I always make some kind of odd face while drawing...
I've been asked to appear at the wonderful BD Passions weekend at London's Institut Francais in South Kensington, which starts tomorrow.
Happily I'll be talking about drawing and writing in London and Paris, and drawing live (and probably life-sized). And there will be Absinthe.
This is my take on Kiki, drawn from a photograph of her at work. Alice Prin (Kiki's real name) became perhaps the most famous Surrealist model, as well as having a sell-out solo show of her own paintings at the Galerie au Sacre du Printemps in 1927.
Looking at her in the photo it's difficult, in an age of airbrushed supermodels, to see how she held such sway. A little too hairy, a little too un-buff for today's tastes. Though photographer Man Ray, her lover, fixed her image in the century's imagination with hundreds of pictures, Kiki ended her career overweight, underpaid and, most of the time, drunk, a heroic failure, like the heroine of a Jean Rhys novel.
If you'd like to come and see me - or go to any of the other events over the weekend - I have ONE SPARE TICKET to give away. As the festival starts TOMORROW I'm giving it to the VERY FIRST person who asks for it in the comments box below.
When did you know you wanted to be an illustrator?
For years I resisted becoming an illustrator: at school art was considered a second-tier lesson for students who couldn’t cope with ‘academic’ subjects. I did an English degree and doodled during lectures but I don’t regret it because reading and writing are at the heart of what I do.
What piece of art most inspires you?
Right now nineteenth-century cartoonist Honoré Daumier’s Les Bas Bleus series about the pretentions of female intellectuals: satirical but also deeply sympathetic. His lithographs have such wonderful tiny touches like the smoke of a woman’s cigarette clearly made by wiping a drip of acid across the plate he was working on – such personal, hands-on ‘moments’ draw the viewer closer to the moment the picture was made.
I did a Q&A with the Tate: see more of it here...
And please enter my Tate print giveaway here.