Founded by friends Antoine Duruflé and Evan Renaudie, both from Paris, Passport Editions is a zine series that looks at the legends and tales of different countries. As students at the Decorative Arts School of Strasbourg (HEAR), the project was initially conceived as a platform through which to promote the work of artists they admired, but soon developed into a space in which to explore literature and storytelling through drawing. The tales, fables and folklore of each destination “are often short, rich in action, and graphically, they remain simple for illustrators to visualise images to put into form on two or three pages,” says Antoine.
The first issue of Passport Editions focuses on Japan, a place of huge influence and inspiration for the duo. “Japanese prints which combine drawing and history are a common reference point for both of us and evident in our work,” explains Evan. “Japan is a country we have both been to and are very attracted by, which is why it felt natural for us to launch the series with it.” The process of making this first instalment saw Antoine and Evan scouring the internet for the country’s stories and legends. After narrowing down their findings, they reached out to six illustrators and invited their artistic interpretations of the selected texts. “We want to present a wide range of illustrative styles, so we are careful to contact artists whose work is very different to each other,” says Antoine. “We have an implicit trust in our contributors and do not ask for visuals to be submitted before the issue goes to print.”
Moving on to Norway for the second release, Antoine and Evan curated a list of illustrators including Diesneigh, Jul Quanouai, Clémentine L’Heryenat, Alice Meteignier, Manon Cezaro and Sarah-Louise Barbett. The eight illustrated stories (including two of their own) showcase a variety of different aesthetics and concepts, from bright and dark colour palettes to rough and refined linework, to abstract and figurative subject matter. As a physical object, the zine strikes a satisfying balance between slick production and DIY aesthetic; a happy medium that shows off its handmade characteristics whilst still being a publication of quality.
“To guarantee continuity throughout the issue as a whole, we work in partnership,” explains Evan. “Antoine oversees the graphic design from his studio in Paris whilst I, as well as printing the silkscreen cover at HEAR and the other pages at home with my risograph, manage the layout model.” Working in their spare time, each instalment takes months to produce on a relatively tight budget. Taking money from first issue sales, profits they make from their screen printed posters, and some project aid from HEAR, the duo manage to keep their zine afloat. Currently reaching out for further support, Antoine and Evan say they hope, at some point, to be able to offer the entire collection in a single volume. “But, in the meantime, keep an eye out for the next instalment which will see us take on the Aztec and Inca histories of Mexico.”
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