Real-life stories in children's books
By Rachel Lee
Colorful illustrations in the doorway welcome anyone who is ready to explore the world of thought-provoking illustrations.
“Voyage to French Illustration” presents some 250 works by 20 French authors and illustrators who are already established and respected abroad but have yet to get exposure to most people in Korea.
The exhibition, designed for children as well as adults, runs through Sept. 9 at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in Seoul.
“I would like to deliver not just a single message but a series of many in my book,” said French illustrator Joelle Jolivet during a press conference at the center on Tuesday. “In one of my books ‘Penguins 365,’ proliferating a number of sea birds signifies social issues like immigrants or global warming. I want to talk about something that actually happens in real life.”
Jolivet, 47, who has long worked in various fields such as advertising and broadcasting, is known for applying traditional skills to contemporary art. The award-winning artist’s published credits include “365 Penguins,” “Ouos!” “Papido dans la ville” and des poetes.”
Her illustrations have been praised as robust with graphic aspects that easily catch the eye.
“You will find as many as four different stories developing on each page. It’s dynamic,” said the mother of two children, who she describes apathetic about her works.
Regarding her design process, the artist said she always begins her work on a computer and sees the overall picture. She then goes on to produce a board to print the work, which she finishes by painting different colors on it. “Each of these pieces goes through many steps. It involves a lot more hard work than anybody can imagine,” the French illustrator added.
The artist also said that Korea is an “important and big market” for her as 10 of her 25 books have been translated and published in here, compared with just two translations in Japan.
“I think the reason it’s more popular in Korea is that Korean people like things that are clear and definite,” Joelle added.
“Voyage to French Illustration” consists of three sections, each of which represents one of the three colors (blue, white and red) used in the French national flag.
The “blue” part contains works that were produced after experimentation with new methods. Participating artists include Nathalie Lete, Marti Jarrie, Louis Riguard, Herve Tullet. For the “white” section, illustrators such as Serge Bloch, Philipp Kailhenn and Philippe Petit-Roulet present works that embrace many social and philosophical topics. The authors make issues somewhat difficult and heavy to cover easy to understand for children’s’ books. The last “red” part comprises imaginative works that break the boundaries between fantasy and reality, created by artists including Francois Place, Delphine Chedru, Marc Moutavant, Florie Saint-Val and Christian Voltz.
For more information, call (02) 3143- 4360 or visit www.viwartcenter.com.