Σάββατο, 1 Απριλίου 2017

The portrait of an artist: Mouni Feddag



Mouni Feddag such a nice person! She liked to get compliments from friends and teachers, so she became an illustrator. Her pictures are crowded, colorful, full of people, plants and joy.
 
Tell us a bit about your life. When did you begin to paint, what made you decide to do illustration?

I was born and now live in Nottingham in the UK, though I studied and spent most of my life in Frankfurt. I’m not really a painter, but ended up ‘majoring’ in illustration in my graphic design degree, because it was the best way for me to get plenty of compliments from teachers and other students.
 
What kind of illustrations do you do? Would you like to share with us a unique experience you had when illustrating a book?
My illustrations, I suppose they tend to be colorful and involve humans or plants. They’re kind of domestic as well, not abstract or anything physics-defying, though some clients request that and I’m happy to give anything a go. I don’t have a manifesto or anything, just try and draw what keeps me entertained. 

 
Is there a text, a book, a fairy tale, a song you would like to illustrate but haven't yet? 
 
Not particularly, though I do like to read – a tabloid newspaper would be fun. But I think most things would be fun to illustrate, depending on what restrictions you have or what client you’re working with, if it’s a commission. 

What materials do you usually use? 
Pencil (graphite) and black ink. The coloring is all done digitally.

Is there a time of the day you prefer to work? Do you always paint at home? 

I always, always work at home, I don’t need much space and it’s nice to be able to get up and stretch or dance around whenever you feel like it. I like to eat breakfast and get going, to get the work “out the way” as soon as possible. I still dread starting a new picture!
 
What is on your desk at the moment?  
Apart from drawing-things, a small selection of bowls and plates. A big mug of water. My hairbrush, moisturizer, phone, iPod, and a painful customs bill I need to pay for some exercise bands I just had to order from the US. 


Are you currently working on something?
I’m trying to start work on a kind of sequel to my book that Ilex/Octopus are publishing in April. I’m waiting to hear back about a potential project, and just finished an overload of 3 large-ish editorial commissions at once, so it’s nice to have a quiet few days!
 
Is illustration a profession for you or a hobby? Is it possible to make a living through illustration in your country?
These days I suppose it’s more a profession and rarely a hobby – though just because you’re getting paid for something doesn’t mean it can’t be a hobby, does it? I’ve been lucky to have had a good couple of years working as an illustrator, but it’s been barely two years, and I’m always aware that the next job might be my last because tastes change, etc.. So: Ask again in 40 years!

Which illustrators (classical or contemporary) have inspired you?
Recently I’ve barely looked at any other people’s illustration, but in the past I’ve loved the work of Nicholas Stevenson and Julia Pott. And ATAK. You see such funny looking people outside and on TV, I feel that’s much more inspiring!

Images form imagination. When you paint do you think that images will come alive in the imagination of children?
Children, or children’s books, are a bit alien to me in that sense, but that’s something I’d like to work on because I’ve been approached by publishers and told my ‘style’ would be good for kids’ books. I just personally don’t remember thinking much about the pictures in picture books, I remember loving unillustrated books (and manga, later on) and feeling those created much more vivid images in my head. 

What in an illustrator's relationship with childhood? How much do your childhood memories define your work?
I’m sure they do – you can probably tell from them that I used to be really into anime. I don’t know about childhood, but there’s something fun about hiding things from my teenage years in pictures. 

Although the characters you draw seem to be serious, or even annoyed with something, your paintings are extremely colorful and joyful! They usually show a funny side of life. Are you as optimistic as they are?

Haha, I’m so glad you see them that way! That’s something I would really like to show – that some opposites don’t contradict each other, that some people are happy being angry or that you can be the meanest and nicest person at once. I love to rant and complain about certain things, it’s just fun! I’d like to think of myself as optimistic – are you?? You work with what you’ve got, anyway, and I have a good life.

Your paintings are full of little details, it takes time to the viewer to observe every dimension. It is as if you want to take advantage of space in order to add colors, characters, flowers, objects. Have you ever tried yourself in something colorless?

That’s true! To avoid boredom, mostly. I used to do rougher, sketchy things that didn’t really involve the computer at all, but when it comes to bigger images I’d always prefer to do a crowded scene with plenty going on, even in b&w. This one graphic design professor used to tell us to be “intelligently lazy”. I consistently go for “stupidly hardworking”, maybe because I’m not intelligent but tend to have plenty of time or energy, so that’s what’s necessary to squeeze those compliments out of people. 

What do you find inspiring in your routine? How would you define happiness?
  
Things that I love and truly find inspiring every day are Fitnessblender.com, discount supermarkets, libraries, comedy, Facebook, the people in my neighbourhood and many aspects of England. Happiness, I don’t know! Maybe it’s something you do rather than are? Maybe it’s writing replies to interview questions about yourself, enjoying the idea that you’re remotely worthy of such attention!

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For any information concerning Mouni's work have a look here

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