This feeling of sadness that often abounds in people when a relationship is broken, is very present in the illustrations of Marie Jacotey. This young artist looks from an ironic perspective at what happens almost every day and analyzes it to represent it in her artwork. As she said, the text is the key element in the images that se depicts. Most of her work is accompanied by a little text where she describes the situation and the feeling that is happening in the illustrations. Take a look and discover what is behind the artwork of Marie Jacotey.
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You are from France but you moved to London to study at the Royal College of Art. In which ways have these countries affected in your work?
I found French and English approaches over teaching fine art very different; and I felt my Royal College time complemented well with École des Arts Décoratifs. I guess the language switch is the only real way it affected my work as such, going from French to English. Other than that, it would be hard to find a precise answer to something that has been shaped so organically.
Your work is very influenced by comics as we can see in your illustrations. When did your passion for this start?
I have been reading comics since I was very little, which is a rather common thing in France really, and loved it ever since!
Some of your illustrations have a dark and ironic tone. Do you agree with that? 
I wouldn’t know if it’s the best way to express a feeling but it’s definitely a way of doing so. It helps taking distance from reality. I am always slightly cautious of being rather twee or dull when depicting things as they appear to me at first.
I’m curious about your creative process. Can you talk about it?
I work from notes, written and drawn, that I make everyday in my sketchbook, from images I collect from social media and from photos I take of anything. From this bank of raw materials, I make up pieces of work, ranging from editions to installations. I mainly proceed in series but rarely start out of an ensemble of images with a concrete idea in my head. The first piece will inform the second and so on. I progress in variations and the repetitions help me find out what it is I’m trying to express through one specific body of work at a certain period of time.
Would you say that the text in your illustrations is like the transition between the images and the story?
I would go further, more than a transition I believe the text to be a key element to my images.
Besides the paper, you also have worked with materials like plaster and plastic dustsheets. Why did you decide to experiment with this materials? I guess that working with something new brings more experience to your work, right?
I have always been working across media and it indeed does inform my traditional drawing practice in a different way. I often choose the material considering the fundamental content of the piece and, on a more pragmatic and simple level, according to its envisioned scale.
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Most of your illustrations are based in love and family affairs, human relationships. Are these personal experiences or do they come from your imagination?
They are never autobiographical. They’re more like fantasy situations but, of course, they can loosely and remotely connect to close friends and my personal stuff.
The female body has an important paper in your art, right? Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Yeah, for sure! And I think anyone believing in equal rights between men and women should call themselves as such, men included.
You said that you are inspired by images within images and the chaotic atmosphere that they create. I find that some of your art has the same atmosphere. Aren’t you afraid that this can come out as overwhelming to the viewer?
It’s hard for me to tell what impact my images will have on the viewer; this said, if my work was to be described as overwhelming it might be a good thing.
Two years ago you published Dear Love Who Should Have Been Forever Mine, a book made out of 30 individual works where the reader is able to understand them in many ways. How do you interpret the love story that the book narrates?
Well, the book has a rather unusual portfolio shape, loose pages divided in two parts. One part is about the male ex-lover and the other part about the female. The idea is to present the two visions of a break up from collected ‘letters’ sent to one another. This correspondence, made of images, snapshots of past or fantasied times, and bits of texts, is sort of self reflective on both parts. More like two monologues rather than an actual conversation. It wishes to depict the turmoil and the insecurities in the choices made during and following a break up.
You have collaborated with Alexander McQueen. Tell us a little about it. How did this collaboration come about?
I was contacted by McQueen’s creative team and offered to produce five drawings, including the new range of bags called Loveless. I imagined this feisty girl character getting over a heartbreak and depicted her in a few different situations – at home, in her studio, etc. For the launch of the bags, I also made a new series of texts based on dust sheet paintings, which was presented in the project store in Old Spitalfield Market.
After all the stuff that you have done, what’s coming next?
I am developing a few series of new works to be presented in a solo show at Hannah Barry Gallery in September. I am also working on a book project with poet Rachael Allen for Test Center publishers to be launched at the show. Currently in process of discussing potential production for an animation project initiated and written by Lola Halifa-Legrand. Some of my drawings will also be part of a collective show in Rome, at Sara Zanin Gallery from February 9th curated by Marcelle Joseph. I will also collaborate with artist Phil Goss on a floor piece design for a temporary event space curated by artist Freya E. Morris. Exciting times!
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