Date
14 December 2015
Reading Time
3 minute read
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Review of the Year 2015: a closer look at illustrator Jean Jullien

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Date
14 December 2015
Reading Time
3 minute read

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As 2015 draws to a close we will be providing exclusive interviews with ten creatives whose work has stood out and made an impact over the past 12 months. First up, we speak to illustrator Jean Jullien about his remarkable year.

Jean Jullien’s narrations of modern life have continued in their steady momentum, appearing as magazine illustrations, animations, murals and clothing; constantly observing and communicating with humour and visual efficiency. But this has been a strange year, with his work reaching a whole other scale of visibility through his responses to both January’s shooting at the Charlie Hebdo office and the November attacks across Paris. Jean responded to both attacks, and the 2014 shooting in Ferguson, with illustrations that functioned as both intelligently observed social commentary and personal yet broadly meaningful calls to action. His belief that through cultural interventions you can generate discussion and communication was proven by his responses being some of the most widely referenced, shared and understood, particularly in the instances of Je suis Charlie and the peace symbol adapted to represent the Eiffel Tower.

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Jean Jullien: Peace for Paris

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Left

Jean Jullien: Peace for Paris

Effective in their visual clarity, inventiveness and ability to communicate weight without denying a sense of lightness in both the line work and element of humour, these drawings are very much representative of Jean’s work more broadly. This year Jean has had a series of solo exhibitions and worked with Colette, Olow, Suddeutsche Zeitung Magazin and Ace & Tate; as well as doing countless editorial illustrations; having books published about beach blunders, owls and visual jokes from everyday life and working on a tv series with his brother that is set to be like The Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy combined. Below, he answers our questions on his highs and lows of 2015.

What was your creative highlight of 2015?

My shows in Los Angeles, Paris and New York. I love doing shows because they are often like a laboratory or a playground where you get to try new things and experiment.

What was your lowlight of 2015?

Having my work gain exposure from a tragedy.

What do you think are the markers of a good year creatively?

Diversity, excitement and reaching personal goals.

Which piece of work from the last year has been your favourite to work on?

My clothing collection with Olow. Something that I find visually quite cool happened by accident through our respective involvement.

Which piece of work from the last year do you feel has been most significant to your portfolio/career?

My cover for SZ Magazin about sex education. It has everything that I like doing: a challenging contemporary subject, a great dialogue with the art director, freedom to do something visually bold, with humour and a final image with multiple levels of meaning, printed in a medium of mass communication. I’m not often satisfied with what I do, but this one I liked.

How has your work evolved over the last 12 months?

Frustratingly, I’ve grown eager for it to evolve visually as it evolved semantically.

What’s been the most important thing you’ve learnt in the last year?

Favour hard work over cheap tricks.

Who has been the most influential creative for you in the last year?

Yann Le Bec, he’s such a genuine craftsman. He keeps working and developing his style, making it into the perfect tool to express what he wants. His drawings have grown to be incredibly articulate.

Describe 2015 in five words.

New York, renard, TV, tragic, egg.

What are your hopes for 2016?

For the TV series that I created with my brother to make it big.

Left

Jean Jullien: Petit Appetit

Right

Jean Jullien: Petit Appetit

Above
Left

Jean Jullien: Petit Appetit

Right

Jean Jullien: Petit Appetit

Above

Jean Jullien: Petit Appetit

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Jean Jullien: Ace & Tate

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Jean Jullien: Warby Parker

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Jean Jullien: Olow

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About the Author

Billie Muraben

Billie studied illustration at Camberwell College of Art before completing an MA in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art. She joined It’s Nice That as a Freelance Editorial Assistant back in January 2015 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis.

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