Kiblind’s Illustration Festival (IF) saw the artform celebrated in drawing battles, gigs, bazaars and even tattoos
We’ve picked out five highlights from the festival in Lyon, which brings the illustration community together for an eclectic and fun programme of events.
- It's Nice That
- 8 November 2023
Celebrating the latest and greatest in illustration, this year’s IF (Illustration Festival), from French magazine and editorial platform Kiblind, showcased around 80 remarkable illustrators and countless more creative minds in attendance – there to witness the collective, curated influences of the art form. Taking place over two days in Lyon, IF hosted an eclectic array of activities and exhibitions, from masterclass talks and short film screenings to live exhibitions and ‘Pimp My Body’ stations.
Whilst diving into the seemingly endless imaginations of the festival’s illustrators, IF also ultimately poses creatives a question via its namesake… IF? Encouraging us to open our minds and, much like the wonderfully diverse array of perspectives on show, to look at things slightly differently, to ask new questions and to welcome new contexts. To that end, Kiblind also ensured the festival was free to all, with no one left out.
To celebrate the celebration itself, we compiled five highlights from the lovely event. Let’s get started.
A Wonderfully Bizarre Bazaar
Featuring over 30 exhibitors, IF’s illustrated objects bazaar was a triumph in how playful, colourful, whimsical and thoughtful one could be, regardless of the medium. From prints and pins to ceramics and stained glass (as well as some lovely rugs, toys and jackets), we wanted it all!
For those ready to commit to their favourite artists, IF made space for Tata Tattoos and their illustrator-tattooists Espirro, Laho, Rister and Rémy Mattei, who generously offered ink in each individual’s style. Not only a one-of-a-kind experience, but one that’s quite impossible to forget – but why would you want to?
Sounds and Scribbles
Going hand in hand with IF’s Illustrate the Music exhibition – which explored the aesthetic of the band Khruangbin and its relationship with illustration – the festival also hosted a number of its own concerts in a vibey collision of sounds and scribbles. Celebrating the artists who merge these two practices, as well as coupled up musical and illustrative pairs, the resulting immersive gigs featured electric kinetic visuals, live drawings and incredible instrumentals. The line-up included prog rock band Michel Chemin with live drawing by Mathieu Labrecque; an electro set from Submarine FM with VJing by Ocean Flounk; and a DJ set by P errine, backed by an original animation work by Angela Kirkwood, Alice Saey, Rapapawn and Alice Monvaillier.
IF was a glorious showcase of posters, not only the ones found throughout – be it thematic exhibitions, workshops or creative pieces – but also the remarkable collection Kiblind commissioned for the festival itself. With artworks made by Zebu, Angela Kirkwood, Simon Bailly, María Medem (pictured top) and Raman Djafari, IF asked each illustrator to ask and answer a question beginning with ‘IF’, to which they did to varyingly abstract and hilarious effect.
The pen (or pencil or paintbrush) is certainly mightier than the sword, a sentiment IF was determined to prove. Matching illustrators up for a fight, the festival put creatives in the ring armed only with a graphic tablet. Round after round, illustrators would have a timed draw-off in a ruthless battle to the top, becoming not only a hilarious exhibition of wit but an enviable feat of talent – emblematic of the festival as a whole.
Maria Medem: If you could would you choose to see the future? for IF (Copyright © Maria Medem, 2023)