Interview

stories

Fred Jourdain / Martin Parrot

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


interview

stories

Fred Jourdain / Martin Parrot

Fred archives almost everything. I'm rummaging through some of his old drawings, 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 black film or sci-fi, always with a good dose of humor and iconic characters. Over time, some themes started emerging. Fred appears to be more and more aware of what stories he wanted to tell.

Fred, what can you tell me about the story?

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


Thelma and Louise and everything it is also inspires me a lot: the chase, the adventures in the face of the earth, and, especially, how the characters break free. It kind of reminds me of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Of course, we're going to have a couple of bad guys trying to get their freedom one day at a time. It's about two women who are trying to get away from their world, but, at one point, their world is not going back.

Like Butch and Sundance, Thelma and Louise are free, their story is over. They are in control of their destiny and they can have the courage of their convictions, no matter the cost.

My Vent d'Ouest West and Beyond the Boundaries Illustrations represent those concepts as well.


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

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

How are people read?

Not always. But you know, I want to make 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 to complete the story. That's when the piece becomes more interesting. There's always a new detail to the narrative and a new story to tell.


Do you think the narrative of this piece is your protagonists? Do you want to focus on characters instead of action scenes?

I think it is easier to be drawn into the piece if you can associate yourself to the character and put yourself in your shoes.

Star Wars is a good example. Let's say I was drawing a battle with spaceships, lasers and explosions. Technically, it would be a great piece of purpose 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 wonder. From that moment on, his and galaxy's destiny will never be the same. You could have an illustration that you would like to 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 it is a way to help me tell a story or to say something about it and the end-all.


What about The Vigil? Why a more political project?

To me, The Vigil is what justice looks like. I was creating the character as if she was a modern representation of the guardian of a kingdom, a lot of knights 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 just more than just oppression and anger. I wanted the image to inspire hope and be a call to action. Ultimately, the ideas this illustration can be applied 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.


And Mosquito Street?

Mosquito Street is completely different. The inspiration for this project came from a historical perspective, something I did not do 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 a funky vibe that plays with that idea. And the top of that, the narrative and symbolic elements - the characters, the decor, the aesthetics - a lot more on the elements in my head, the ones that are not in the illustration.

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 the people and I have published it on its own. I plan on releasing it as a triptych eventually. There are lots of clues for their own stories about the main character. 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 with my works and I'm coming up with more elaborate illustrations. I have to say it's very stimulating.


credits

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

Translation from french: Peter Tardif

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© Affranchi - The contents of this publication may not be reproduced without the author's consent

Fred archives almost everything. I'm rummaging through some of his old drawings, 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 black film or sci-fi, always with a good dose of humor and iconic characters. Over time, some themes started emerging. Fred appears to be more and more aware of what stories he wanted to tell.

Fred, what can you tell me about the story?

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

Thelma and Louise and everything it is also inspires me a lot: the chase, the adventures in the face of the earth, and, especially, how the characters break free. It kind of reminds me of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Of course, we're going to have a couple of bad guys trying to get their freedom one day at a time. It's about two women who are trying to get away from their world, but, at one point, their world is not going back.

Like Butch and Sundance, Thelma and Louise are free, their story is over. They are in control of their destiny and they can have the courage of their convictions, no matter the cost. My Vent d'Ouest West and Beyond the Boundaries Illustrations represent those concepts as well.

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

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

How are people read?

Not always. But you know, I want to make 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 to complete the story. That's when the piece becomes more interesting. There's always a new detail to the narrative and a new story to tell.

Do you think the narrative of this piece is your protagonists? Do you want to focus on characters instead of action scenes?

I think it is easier to be drawn into the piece if you can associate yourself to the character and put yourself in your shoes.

Star Wars is a good example. Let's say I was drawing a battle with spaceships, lasers and explosions. Technically, it would be a great piece of purpose 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 wonder. From that moment on, his and galaxy's destiny will never be the same. You could have an illustration that you would like to 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 it is a way to help me tell a story or to say something about it and the end-all.

What about The Vigil? Why a more political project?

To me, The Vigil is what justice looks like. I was creating the character as if she was a modern representation of the guardian of a kingdom, a lot of knights 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 just more than just oppression and anger. I wanted the image to inspire hope and be a call to action. Ultimately, the ideas this illustration can be applied 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.

And Mosquito Street?

Mosquito Street is completely different. The inspiration for this project came from a historical perspective, something I did not do 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 a funky vibe that plays with that idea. And the top of that, the narrative and symbolic elements - the characters, the decor, the aesthetics - a lot more on the elements in my head, the ones that are not in the illustration.

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 the people and I have published it on its own. I plan on releasing it as a triptych eventually. There are lots of clues for their own stories about the main character. 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 with my works and I'm coming up with more elaborate illustrations. I have to say it's very stimulating.

credits

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

Translation from french: Peter Tardif

Share this

© Affranchi - The contents of this publication may not be reproduced without the author's consent