Talking textas with artist Elle-louise Burguez
Sophie Blackshaw | On 16, Oct 2013
It’s impossible not to be impressed by the rate at which illustrator, musician and now-author Elle-louise Burguez produces her beautiful art.
Or perhaps, after all, she’s not working so fast, and it’s actually a case of her audience being so lost in the detail of each piece that before we could finish interpreting the tale of one, there’s another.
Yet despite the speed at which we must travel to at least get a glance of every drawing, their quality is not spared – and that’s why we felt it was high time to have a little talk with Ms Burguez about her texta talent, the influences of being in a band, and what it’s like to build a world.
CD: Describe yourself in a sentence:
Elle-louise:Â I am one of many creatures alive on earth and one that wants to see, feel, create and inspire beauty everyday.
CD: You studied film, TV, drama and music at QUT. How has this effected the art you’re doing today?
Elle-louise:Â Doing such a broad course really helped me develop a better understanding of the creative industries and how there is so much more involved than my naive 17-year-old self originally thought. Initially I thought I would stick with directing and editing films, then that shifted to playing music in a band and now it has evolved into illustrating. I guess the main inspiration from my course would be the range of artists I studied, namely Hayao Miyazaki, Wong Kar Wai and Pedro Almadovar. I had never seen such incredible film making before and watching their films really inspired me to get courageous and be creative in my own way.
CD:Â How did you get into illustrating?
Elle-louise:Â As a kid I was always drawing constantly, I would make magazines full of hundreds of pages of my drawings and staple it together and proudly show my parents. I stopped drawing through my teenage years and then I think it all started again from buying a pack of connector pens. When I was younger I was always jealous of the kids who had so many connector pens that they could connect them into a circle and make cameras and guns out of them. So when I realized I had the money and freedom to go buy my own dam textas, I jumped at the opportunity. Then I just started using them as watercolours and gradually developed my style into illustrating (after watching too much sailor moon).
CD:Â How did your time in Brisbane band Founds affect your perspective as an artist?
Elle-louise:Â My time in Founds was so valuable to who I am as a person today and how I create. I think some people let performing and creating go to their head a little and I kind of went the opposite way. I still gained a significant amount of confidence but at the same time, I have stopped creating purely to please others and worrying about how it may look or sound. Like the artists I admire, I am creating for myself first and then if people enjoy it, well that is a huge bonus!
CD:Â You employ fine ink, textas and watercolours in all your work – why these mediums over others?
Elle-louise: I wanted to fulfill my childhood dream of having heaps of connecter pens… I now have hundreds. Also I love the bold colours. I have started using some beautiful watercolours my friend gave me and there is a lot more risk involved with them but they look stunning!
CD:Â Describe your artwork:
Elle-louise:Â A playful visual experience in a wacky world.
CD:Â What made you want to create a children’s book?
Elle-louise:Â I seem to have always wanted to make a childrenâ€™s book. But I canâ€™t remember why the idea came about. I think my fond memories of being read to by my parents and by my grandma in French has a lot to do with it.
CD:Â You’re obviously illustrating the book – are you writing the story too?
Elle-louise:Â Yes, I have written a story as well.
CD:Â Does it have a title yet?
Elle-louise:Â It does, but I am still deciding whether to change it.
CD:Â Can you provide any details regarding the storyline?
Elle-louise:Â Some cute baby animals are the protagonists in one of my created worlds.
CD:Â Is your book the start of something bigger, or a one-off?
Elle-louise:Â Definitely the start of something bigger! I am working on a recipe e-book with a close friend and would love to continue to create more childrenâ€™s books.
CD:Â When should we expect it to be complete?
Elle-louise:Â By the end of this year!
CD:Â Have you been commissioned to do works for anyone else – album art, videos etc?
Elle-louise:Â My first work for another artist was for a lovely American singer, â€˜Eitchâ€™. I illustrated my beautiful friendâ€™s lookbook â€˜Fazioâ€™ this year as well, and am always contacting other artists for collaborations. Collaborating with other creative minds is so exciting and fun. I am working on a piece for my friendâ€™s house at the moment. Bubble gum, pink igloos, palms and watermelon houses are involved.
CD:Â You’re a fan of some fantastic Japanese artists. Who are your favourite Australian artists?
Elle-louise:Â I need to get into more Australian artists… but a few I like at the moment are: Freya Flavell, Del Kathryn Barton, Lizzie Nanut, Rachel Rutt makes some amazing crochet and I am inspired by photographs of beautiful things and peopleâ€¦ so, Dakota Gordan, Bec Parsons and Akila Berjaoui.
CD:Â What are your thoughts on Brisbane as a city for aspiring creatives?
Elle-louise:Â I think it depends on you making the most of a city or place for creative outlets and inspiration. I definitely could have spent more time exploring Brisbane and its arty avenues whilst I was living there. There are a lot of talented people in Brisbane, so it is a great place to meet like-minded artists. I just think that unlike other major cities, there isn’t as much of a creative culture blooming all year round. That doesn’t mean there is none, you just have to look a bit harder.
CD: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Elle-louise:Â Ideally, in five years from now I see myself loving every atom that makes up myselfâ€¦ and throw in a lot of travelling, loving and living off my own creations.