INTERVIEW: French Illustrator Jeremy Combot
Jérémy Combot is a French born artist & illustrator now residing in Brittany. His drawings are impeccably pleasing to the eye with an ode to the 90’s and a twist on proportions. Quirky and sleek, his characters are drawn with chic poised faces and colorful stylish clothes that can only make you wish you were as cool. Fun Fact: I actually found Jérémy on Instagram (jeremycombot_illustration) and instantly knew that this was someone I wanted to feature on INTERVIEW. Check out more of his work here. Meet Jérémy.
Tell us a little about yourself:
Bonjour Jérémy! Who are you and what do you do?
Bonjour Alex, I am Jérémy Combot, 28 years old guy living in France (on the west coast called Brittany). I am an artist and illustrator guided by passion for pop culture, fashion, the 90’s, colors and patterns.
When and why did you start making art?
As far as I remember, I started to draw around 7/8 years old. I used to copy every comics that I loved, mainly a famous one, that every french kids know, called « Tom-Tom et Nana » drawn by Bernadette Després. Every stories she made was so fun and so colorful. Then, I used to make drawings as presents for family and friends. And I still do : it is the most personal present that I can give.
Not only do you use ink and watercolor, but you also incorporate collages into your works of art. What is your favorite medium and why?
Even if I want to try to diversify my work, my favorite medium is and will always be paper. I am a very traditionnal artist, I need to feel the pen on the paper, the smell of the ink that I use, the eraser’s crumbles. Working on paper is also a work of patience. By using this medium I sometimes use one entire day just for an illustration. Because I like the process of it. When I make my first sketch on paper, I start to make my caractere alive. I take the time for each, and by inking, erasing or coloring, I imagine their life, their name, their personality. I don’t live through my caracters, I invent them from A to Z. Every lines, every strands, every volumes, every patterns that I draw on the paper is a step to their intimacy. Very theatrical in some way.
So, a lot of your work shines a light on the 90’s (and I LOVE IT). What is your inspiration behind this and what attracts you to this era?
Being a kid of the 90’s, I grow up around this cultural and artistic diversity. This era had such a strong personality, a great transition between the crazy 80’s and the sad post september 11th. I started to get inspired by all these new mouvements of pop culture. I remember watching all the crazy House Music videos, MTV shows, sitcoms and movies from United States which was the coolest place ever. On the fashion side, icons like Cindy Crawford or Eva Evangelista were everywhere and were seen as goddesses of style. I guess that is why, in some way, I like drawing powerful women. The thing that I also love about the 90’s is its actual representation of global faux pas. I like the link between beauty/tendency and ugliness/kitsch.
Today, I have a certain nostalgia for a period of liberty and optimism.
What other things do you pull inspiration from when you draw?
I live in a region where the weather is most of the time grey and wet. That unique atmosphere has, I think, an influence on my work : the more it is dark outside, the more there are colors in my atelier. Because I am focused on fashion, I am really into magazines of every kinds. Every months I buy so much magazines just because I feel inspired by one or two pictures or outfits that I collect in inspiration notebooks. And, fortunatly, my sister and friends keep their old magazines for me.
Internet is also a great source of inspiration. The first thing I do when I am starting my day is reading my favorite fashion/cultural blogs. It helps my imagination and creativity.
Then, I love to find inspiration in other cities or countries. Big cities or small villages make my mind go crazy at the same level !
Do you have a favorite artist? What draws you to their work?
I love so much artists ! If I am just talking about illustrators, I get lately really impressed by Hsiao Ron chang, Laura Laine, Sean Morris, Laura Callaghan, Gemma flack and Natalie Foss. They all have their own way of express themself in so many differents ways ! And colors, it is always about colors.
I could say that my favorite artist is Frida Kahlo. I am moved by her life and the way she expressed her pain, her love, her opinions through her colorful and intense paintings.
Artist has always been the job of my dreams. Mainly because I feel that it is the only thing that I am good at. But is it, strictly speaking, a job ?
I remember that younger, I wanted to be an art restorer. Carefully pasting some little gold foils on a old master piece or historical places was my naive vision of this job. But anyway, I am not that comfortable at 10 meters from the ground.
You’re originally from Ile de France (which is on the outskirts Paris), but you’re planning on moving to London within the next year. What are you most excited about? If you could bring one thing from France with you, what would it be?
Yes I am from Ile de France and moved to Brittany when I was 11. Now I feel that I need to get out of my « comfort zone ». I always loved London for its intense cultural activity and unique energy. I have friends living there and I have so much fun everytime I go. I am very excited by the crazy people I am going to meet, the mysterious places that I am going to visite, the creativity that I am going to catch. But it is just a project right now, let’s see what is going to happen.
If I could bring only one thing from France, that would be my mum’s food. Because I am veggie and a very bad cooker, it is sometimes hard to make diversified dishes and my mum is the best to make it fun.
Oh and probably some great white wine.
Any New Years resolution?
I would like to write and illustrate a graphic novel, but it is such a big deal, I am not sure that I have the shoulders for this yet. Meet and work with a ton of inspiring people. And of course keep making art, always.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Do what makes you happy, no matter what.
All B&W art work by Cara Mullinary.