yann le bec is a colectivo futurist

Yann Le Bec’s works offer a window into the human emotions of sorrow and affliction. By staring at his images, you’ll start feeling curious towards what is causing his characters to feel this way and you’ll probably be left with more questions than answers. This is by no means a bad thing; how often does an illustrator manage to spark your imagination these days? Read on below to learn about Yann’s influences, current obsessions, and future ambitions. 

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CF: When did you first find out you wanted to be an illustrator? What were some of your early influences and what or who influences you now?

I always wanted to draw, that’s the first real job that I considered when I realised that I was probably never going to be an explorer.

Like most french illustrators of my generation, I’ve been heavily influenced by Blutch. The discovery of American comic book authors like Daniel Clowes, Charles Burns and Chris Ware in my early twenties was also a revelation. More recently, through French and English translations, I encountered the amazing works of Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Seiichi Hayashi, and other Japanese authors from the 70’s “Garo magazine“. But I’m also looking a lot at photographers, cineasts and painters.

I’m interested in this feeling of slight anxiety, it’s something that we can all relate to in a way, it reveals our fragility.

CF: You focus mainly on monochrome images, why do you think that’s the most effective technique for your work? Would you ever consider using color or is that out of the question?

I would love to develop more colour works, but when I started this series I was feeling the need to go back to black and white. There isn’t much room for black and white in the illustration scene at the moment, on the contrary everything is really bright and colourful. But I grew up reading people like Hugo Pratt, Tardi, José Munoz. I admire Raymond Pettibon’s work, Guido Crepax, Felix Vallotton’s black woodcut, etc, so to go back to my roots I had to go back to black and white. There is something really dramatic and enigmatic with black and white which corresponds to the mood that I wanted to convey in these drawings.

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CF: Are there other formats you would like to explore with your work?

I would love to start some bigger formats, maybe even life size. The formats are important, they give a special significance to each drawing. It’s the same thing for cinema, it’s really different to watch a movie on a laptop at home or at the theater on a wide screen. The experience is much more immersive with big formats.

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CF: At your recent exhibition at KK Outlet in London we noticed a lot of your pieces were filled with anxious, almost distressed characters, why is that a recurring theme?

There is a certain feeling of anxiety in these images, but it’s a diffused one. Most of the time you can’t really see the character’s expression. The distress is mainly conveyed by their attitudes and by the surrounding. The characters are isolated, even when there is more than one person in a picture it looks like they can’t truly communicate with each other. I’m interested in this feeling of slight anxiety, it’s something that we can all relate to in a way, it reveals our fragility, our vulnerability, and I’m using the landscape to emphasize that.

drawing was the first real job that I considered when I realised that I was probably never going to be an explorer.

CF: If you could choose a soundtrack for your work, what would you choose?

I would love one by Flavien Berger.

CF: What is your favourite thing about living in Paris?

I used to live in London and I definitively miss the parks, among other things. I’m now in Paris, and my favorite thing about this town is the cinema. There are so many of them, and lots of greats ones!

CF: Are there any more exhibitions or projects planned for the near future?

I want to do more exhibitions, maybe with more colour next time, and I would also really like to work on a comics strip.

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