29 Mar 2012

Artist 134: Philippe Debongnie


A great artist feature for you now on the impressive Philippe Debongnie. Philippe has a great style. His work is easy to read and has a loose but effective quality. He can bring the viewer into his world of soft tone and strong features with his engaging yet light use of colour and an effective but restrained palette that helps not only to set his work up against vibrant collage imagery but also to provide his subjects with the right amount of context that means they are never overstated but nor do they fade into the ether. He has a great skill level and a draftsman's touch, able to capture both expression and form utilising as few strokes and lines as possible. He brings the viewer more visual treats when he uses his on trend patterns and graphics in juxtaposition with his figure work. All in all Philippe has an impressive style and will doubtless head from success to success but either way it is always a pleasure to feature highly skilled and dedicated artists so without further ado it's Philippe Debongnie!

Who are you:
Well, that really depends on which hour of the day (or night) we are talking about. But most of the time I am a Belgian illustrator living and working in Brussels (a city I love very much). I paint, draw, print and Photoshop images. I have three sisters, a beautiful wife, two young children and no pets. I traveled a lot, held numerous jobs and finally settled on teaching. I teach art and graphic desing in two different schools in Brussels (Saint-Luc and l’IHECS). When I do not teach, I draw and paint or I run the blog: jazzanddraw.com

What do you do:
I draw, I paint, I letter words, sentences, titles, I love drawing letters and I love portraits. I find the human figure to be so full of everything, I could draw portraits for the rest of my life and not be done with it yet. The way people think, behave, dress, talk, sing and all they do inspires me a lot and that really makes me want to portray them. That and I also love to trace lines on paper and see them coming to life. You can find the same tension, the same fascination in a good drawing as you do in life. Hopefully sometimes, I catch that. I'll keep trying anyways...

How did you start:
I have always been fascinated by books and more particularly picture books. It is not like I was always drawing, it is more like I was always thinking up stories and ways to render them not only with words, but also with images. And then when time came to choose my studies, I honestly hesitated between medicine and illustration. In order to take some time and choose, I went to the US as an exchange student for one year and during that year all I did was Art. This naturally brought me to study illustration for four years. I then worked as a graphic designer for a long time. I am now going back to my first love, illustration and I am happy with the way things turn out but every now and than I still question myself as to wether I made the right choice. I could have been a good doctor. Why not?

A Personal statement about you or your work:
I do not like to talk much about my work since I do consider I am not the best person to say anything about it but I'll say something here about what I aim for with my work. I draw, paint, doodle, sketch and paste it all together in Photoshop trying to keep a handmade look but also to bring more to it by digitally retouching it. The feeling I want to convey with these images is something like:"great, he drew that, well done, but how did he get that look? How does that work?" Handmade yet slightly disturbing in the end. You can see this in my Agnes Obel image attached.


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