Marylou Faure takes on poster design for Montreux Jazz Festival following the likes of Andy Warhol and Malika Favre

The French illustrator is the latest in a long line of artistic elites taking on the poster for the historic jazz festival.

4 December 2020

Montreux Jazz Festival has a history of commissioning world-leading artists for its annual festival poster and this year is no different. While the likes of Keith Haring, Andy Warhol and David Bowie have taken the mantel previously, this year, the task was presented to French artist now based in London, Marylou Faure.

With clients from Nike, Apple, Spotify, MTV and Instagram under her belt, Marylou became this year’s much deserving artist behind the 55th edition of the esteemed jazz festival poster. To celebrate its musicality following a year deprived of live events, Montreux Jazz Festival will return to Lake Geneva’s shoreline from 2 to 7 July 2021. Shining a light on the event, Marylou’s poster features a colourful woman surrounded by geometric shapes in her signature style. The bold artwork hints to the curvature of jazz instruments, specifically the hourglass form of a double bass and the strings of a guitar – a deconstructed poster reminiscent of another Montreux Jazz Festival poster alumnus, Malika Favre.

Discussing the idea behind the design, Marylou tells It’s Nice That she “felt inspired by the way music can make you feel and wanted to convey that through the poster. Music has the power to make you do so many things, one of which is to simply take a break and let yourself be taken by the notes and melody.” Visually balancing the calm felt by music with an upbeat expression at the same time, Marylou depicts a character reclining on her side, “taking a break from everything and letting her mind wander, transported by the music.”

Cleverly, that is where the softness of the image begins and ends, however. When it comes to the execution of the piece, the illustrator strikes up loud primary colours and strong black lines to evoke the power of the music. Marylou says of this delicate equilibrium between piano and forte: “I like to have contrast in my work, and that seemed like a good way to achieve that.” Going on to tell us about her process of putting together this image, first, she constructed the composition for the poster using only geometric shapes and straight lines giving rise to the musical instruments. Then, she added the character in the middle, joining the two elements together to complimentarily become one artwork.

As the jazz festival was postponed this year for obvious reasons, Marylou’s design will re-launch the renowned music festival which has been running since 1967. Drawing around 250,000 attendees from all over the world, the festival has continuously brought together some of the best names in music (Etta James, Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin and so on) with many of the most exciting creative names in the business. Having started out as purely a jazz festival, today, the Montreux Jazz Festival pays tribute to myriad styles and genres; a variety echoed in Marylou’s latest poster for the much-anticipated event.

GalleryMarylou Faure: Montreux Jazz Festival (Copyright © Marylou Faure, 2020)

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Marylou Faure: Montreux Jazz Festival (Copyright © Marylou Faure, 2020)

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About the Author

Jyni Ong

Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.

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