Interviews

Stories

Fred Jourdain / Martin Parrot

"(...) lost detectives, women of character. »


Interviews

Stories

Fred Jourdain / Martin Parrot

Fred archives almost everything. I'm rummaging through some of his old draw-ings, some date back to when he was a teenager. You can see he always wanted to tell stories. At first, they were mostly about well defined genres, like film noir or science fiction, always with a good dose of humour and iconic characters. Over time, certain themes started emerging. Fred appears to have become more and more aware of what stories he wanted to tell.

Fred, what can you tell me about the way you tell stories and the themes you explore?

A few years ago, I did Round Midnight et Rooftop Inspiration They were about a blasé private detective. I've stepped away from that style since. Right now, I'm more into rites of passage stuff, what is referred to as the Coming of age " tale. That's when a character evolves as he lives through a series of events and by then end, he's usually grown or changed. I've always been inspired by those kinds of stories, ever since I was a kid. Tom Sawyer is one of the first books I ever read, along with Huckleberry Finn. This kind of story has always inspired me since I was a kid.


The film Thelma and Louise and everything it represents also inspires me a lot: how the characters head out west, the car chase, adventures in a convertible with nothing but the open sky and, especially, how the characters break free. It kind of reminds me of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid. Of course, we're far from a story about a couple of bad guys trying to get their freedom one heist at a time. It's about two women that are trying to free them-selves from a male-dominated world, but, at one point, their world collapses and there's no going back.

Like Butch and Sundance, their story doesn't end well but when their adventure is over, Thelma and Louise are free. They realize they're in control of their destiny and they can have the courage of their convictions, no matter the cost. My Vent d'Ouest and Beyond the Boundaries Boundaries illustrations represent those concepts as well.


You talk about rites of passage. What can you tell meBuffalo Will?

The scenery in this piece is a dilapidated industrial park with a forest nearby and train tracks. The little kid, Will, has got a blanket stick and he's being followed by a cat. It might be his, we don't know. At one point, he says to himself, "I'm going on an adventure!", so he sets out on his journey. Eventually, he crosses paths with a giant buffalo. Will tries to approach the animal using his bindle and there's this kind of magnetism between them, as if they're connecting on some higher level. For me, this piece is about being one with nature. That idea is reinforced by the rusted out car and abandoned railway track in the background. And in the midst this junkyard in the middle of nowhere, you've got this ray of hope that is Will and this giant buffalo.

Is that how people read into it as well?

Not always. But you know, I want people to make up their own stories about my drawings. Sometimes people ask me what's happening and I throw the question right back at them. It's open to interpretation and I want them to complete the story. That's when the piece becomes interesting to look more than once. There's always a new detail to weave into the narrative and a new story to tell.


Do you think the narrative of this piece rests on how you draw your protago-nists? On the way you put emphasis on characters instead of action scenes?do notaction, for example?

I think it's easier to be drawn into the piece if you can associate to the character and put yourself in his shoes and, in a way, accompany him.

Star Wars is a good example. Let's say I was drawing a battle scene with spaceships, lasers and explosions. Technically, it would be an great piece but I think it's a lot less interesting than a calm, contemplative scene. For example, when Luke SkyWalker is staring into the two suns of Tatooine. That scene is filled with revery and won-der. From that moment on, his and the galaxy's destiny will never be the same. You could have an illustration like that on your wall and you would constantly look at it and get lost in it. At least, that's what I think. In the end, I guess I draw what I like…

When I was younger, I always wanted to improve how I expressed myself through my drawings. I was always trying to perfect my craft, especially on a technical level. It was necessary, and it still is, but today, I think technique is a way to help tell a story or to say something instead of it being the be-all and end-all.


What aboutThe Vigil? Why a more political project?, no ?

To me, La Vigile is what justice looks like. I was creating the character as if she was a mod-ern representation of the guardian of a kingdom, a sort of knight that watches over all of us. I came up with that image during Quebec's Maple Spring protests. I wanted to draw something that was about more than just oppression and anger. I wanted the image to inspire hope and be a call to action. Ultimately, the ideas this illustration evokes could apply to many protests and resistance movements.

There are lots of small details, for example, the markings on her right arm which represent the number of days she's been guarding her post. The bird on her hand and the black sun, a representation of a ' corporate figure are symbols that help define her character but also the context in which she evolves.


And Mosquito Street ?

Mosquito Street is completely different. The inspiration for this project came from a historical perspec-tive, something I haven't done in the past. It's a scene taken from a more elaborate story. There are lots of oppressive elements like imagery of post-World War II America and symbols of segregation. But then there's also a funky vibe that plays with that idea. And on top of that, the narrative and symbolic elements - the characters, the decor, the aesthetics - depend a lot more on the elements in my head, the ones that aren't in the illustration. funky who comes to swear with the rest. The narrative elements and the symbols - characters, scenery, aesthetics - thus depend a little more on other pieces of the story that I have in mind and which are not integrated in this painting that I planned to integrate into a triptych.

It's interesting because I received lots of comments and heard interpretations about the mysterious elements of this drawing. I wanted to have fun with people and I released it on its own, not as part of a series. I plan on releasing it as a triptych eventually. There are lots of clues there for people to start making their own stories about the main char-acter. Whether their interpretations are true or not, it's great to see people's reactions and hear what they have to say about it. I'm starting to play within my works and I'm coming up with more elaborate illustrations. I have to say it's very stimulating.


PHOTO CREDITS

Anthony Jourdain, Catherine Côté, Fred Jourdain, Martin Poulin, Martin Côté

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Ó The contents of this publication may not be reproduced without the consent of the author

Fred archives almost everything. I'm rummaging through some of his old draw-ings, some date back to when he was a teenager. You can see he always wanted to tell stories. At first, they were mostly about well defined genres, like film noir or science fiction, always with a good dose of humour and iconic characters. Over time, certain themes started emerging. Fred appears to have become more and more aware of what stories he wanted to tell.

Fred, what can you tell me about the way you tell stories and the themes you explore?

A few years ago, I did Round Midnight et Rooftop Inspiration They were about a blasé private detective. I've stepped away from that style since. Right now, I'm more into rites of passage stuff, what is referred to as the Coming of age " tale. That's when a character evolves as he lives through a series of events and by then end, he's usually grown or changed. I've always been inspired by those kinds of stories, ever since I was a kid. Tom Sawyer is one of the first books I ever read, along with Huckleberry Finn. This kind of story has always inspired me since I was a kid.

The film Thelma and Louise and everything it represents also inspires me a lot: how the characters head out west, the car chase, adventures in a convertible with nothing but the open sky and, especially, how the characters break free. It kind of reminds me of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid. Of course, we're far from a story about a couple of bad guys trying to get their freedom one heist at a time. It's about two women that are trying to free them-selves from a male-dominated world, but, at one point, their world collapses and there's no going back.

Like Butch and Sundance, their story doesn't end well but when their adventure is over, Thelma and Louise are free. They realize they're in control of their destiny and they can have the courage of their convictions, no matter the cost. My Vent d'Ouest and Beyond the Boundaries Boundaries illustrations represent those concepts as well.

You talk about rites of passage. What can you tell meBuffalo Will?

The scenery in this piece is a dilapidated industrial park with a forest nearby and train tracks. The little kid, Will, has got a blanket stick and he's being followed by a cat. It might be his, we don't know. At one point, he says to himself, "I'm going on an adventure!", so he sets out on his journey. Eventually, he crosses paths with a giant buffalo. Will tries to approach the animal using his bindle and there's this kind of magnetism between them, as if they're connecting on some higher level. For me, this piece is about being one with nature. That idea is reinforced by the rusted out car and abandoned railway track in the background. And in the midst this junkyard in the middle of nowhere, you've got this ray of hope that is Will and this giant buffalo.

Is that how people read into it as well?

Not always. But you know, I want people to make up their own stories about my drawings. Sometimes people ask me what's happening and I throw the question right back at them. It's open to interpretation and I want them to complete the story. That's when the piece becomes interesting to look more than once. There's always a new detail to weave into the narrative and a new story to tell.

Do you think the narrative of this piece rests on how you draw your protago-nists? On the way you put emphasis on characters instead of action scenes?do notaction, for example?

I think it's easier to be drawn into the piece if you can associate to the character and put yourself in his shoes and, in a way, accompany him.

Star Wars is a good example. Let's say I was drawing a battle scene with spaceships, lasers and explosions. Technically, it would be an great piece but I think it's a lot less interesting than a calm, contemplative scene. For example, when Luke SkyWalker is staring into the two suns of Tatooine. That scene is filled with revery and won-der. From that moment on, his and the galaxy's destiny will never be the same. You could have an illustration like that on your wall and you would constantly look at it and get lost in it. At least, that's what I think. In the end, I guess I draw what I like…

When I was younger, I always wanted to improve how I expressed myself through my drawings. I was always trying to perfect my craft, especially on a technical level. It was necessary, and it still is, but today, I think technique is a way to help tell a story or to say something instead of it being the be-all and end-all.

What aboutThe Vigil? Why a more political project?, no ?

To me, La Vigile is what justice looks like. I was creating the character as if she was a mod-ern representation of the guardian of a kingdom, a sort of knight that watches over all of us. I came up with that image during Quebec's Maple Spring protests. I wanted to draw something that was about more than just oppression and anger. I wanted the image to inspire hope and be a call to action. Ultimately, the ideas this illustration evokes could apply to many protests and resistance movements.

There are lots of small details, for example, the markings on her right arm which represent the number of days she's been guarding her post. The bird on her hand and the black sun, a representation of a ' corporate figure are symbols that help define her character but also the context in which she evolves.

And Mosquito Street ?

Mosquito Street is completely different. The inspiration for this project came from a historical perspec-tive, something I haven't done in the past. It's a scene taken from a more elaborate story. There are lots of oppressive elements like imagery of post-World War II America and symbols of segregation. But then there's also a funky vibe that plays with that idea. And on top of that, the narrative and symbolic elements - the characters, the decor, the aesthetics - depend a lot more on the elements in my head, the ones that aren't in the illustration. funky who comes to swear with the rest. The narrative elements and the symbols - characters, scenery, aesthetics - thus depend a little more on other pieces of the story that I have in mind and which are not integrated in this painting that I planned to integrate into a triptych.

It's interesting because I received lots of comments and heard interpretations about the mysterious elements of this drawing. I wanted to have fun with people and I released it on its own, not as part of a series. I plan on releasing it as a triptych eventually. There are lots of clues there for people to start making their own stories about the main char-acter. Whether their interpretations are true or not, it's great to see people's reactions and hear what they have to say about it. I'm starting to play within my works and I'm coming up with more elaborate illustrations. I have to say it's very stimulating.

PHOTO CREDITS

Anthony Jourdain, Catherine Côté, Fred Jourdain, Martin Poulin, Martin Côté

Share this article

Ó The contents of this publication may not be reproduced without the consent of the author

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