Elodie Lascar’s illustrative creations are profoundly cinematic. In one of her works, a woman looks you directly in the eye and holds you at gunpoint; the magnifying use of colour makes the image appear like it’s been pulled right out of a 70s crime film. There are a few others just like this, where the chromatic blue backdrop alludes to a warm sunny day, while the expression on the subject’s face gives off a sense of pure drama. The work conveys prowess and narrative, and when it’s not a group of women practicing shooting their targets, she’ll otherwise be drawing up familiar scenes of females on a terrace smoking, or a group of women sunbathing at the poolside, or another woman proudly standing amidst the lusciously warm weather.
The French illustrator tends to start her day early, and usually heads to a sunny cafe terrace to read a book. This is a very unsurprising start to her process, considering the fact that her illustrations are all but flooded with the heat and light of the sun. In the last few years in particular, she’s been focusing largely on feminist theory, a move that’s helped her understand the world around her – not to mention providing her with an abundance of inspiration, like the idea to focus on illustrating strong female characters.
Elodie first dabbled in the medium at the age of 25, before pursuing an art school degree in Strasbourg. In a previous time, she would spend her days working in bars, drawing the customers or the people she saw on the street on the sideline. So even if she hadn’t figured out what she wanted to do from an early age, it’s something that she’s always expressed an interest in. “One day, I went into a library and started flicking through a comic book, Lucille by Ludovic Debeurme,” she tells It’s Nice That. “It’s probably the book that made me wish I could tell stories with my drawings. And so I needed to learn how to do it.” This resulted in her applying for the illustration programme at university, and “luckily” she was accepted.
An observational and critical tone underlies Elodie’s portfolio, and when asked about her references, she pinpoints Nan Goldin’s exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in 2002 as a key marker. A retrospective show of the notable photographer and artist, Elodie was inspired heavily by her works which portray narratives from LGBTQIA+ communities, the HIV crisis and the opioid epidemic. A pioneer of diaristic photography, which rightly unearths the stories that the world wasn’t quite ready to know beforehand, Elodie says on the significance of Nan's work: “I keep going back to her work when I need inspiration for characters or the expression of an emotion. And of course the light in her pictures is so beautiful.”
When inspiration strikes, Elodie heads to her studio, a place that she shares with artist friends. At present, her work is very much split between personal projects and commissioned pieces, the latter of which she’s recently started approaching through an iPad – a new tool she bought herself and one she loves for its ease and efficiency. Other projects entail a more analogous methodology, especially if it’s a piece of work that requires more time and thought. For these projects in particular, she prefers to use silk printing and Risograph to give it a more raw, unhindered yet detailed aesthetic. Otherwise, she’s been enjoying the addition of oil pastel and drawing in her most recent pieces.
These later works have seen Elodie go back to her more illustrative ways, where she decided to draw her old family pictures. “I don’t know why, but I’m the one in my family who keeps all the pictures,” she says. “And since my first year in art school I always end up drawing them.” So the women you’ll see in her portfolio are often those close to the illustrator, like the illustration of a woman smoking, based off a picture of her mother in her 20s. “She is very young [in these pictures], probably younger than I am now. I think I keep trying to go back in time by drawing these pictures over and over. It’s a kind of conversation between me today and her at this moment in her life.”
Elodie places great importance on character development, largely because she’s copying the scenes and moments of her family’s past. In doing so, the mundanities of daily life are emphasised by the extravagant use of colour and compositions, in turn building a theatrical representation of an artist’s life. “My main goal,” she says on her work’s final message, “is to create empathy between the audience and the characters I draw. So let’s say my images are about the female gaze.”
GalleryCopyright © Elodie Lascar, 2021
Elodie Lascar: Target (Copyright © Elodie Lascar, 2021)
About the Author
Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent the last seven years as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.