Curious Mutations and Scenarios Occupy Martin Jarrie’s Stylized Acrylic Illustrations — Colossal

Curious Mutations and Scenarios Occupy Martin Jarries Stylized Acrylic Illustrations | RetinaComics



Art
Illustration

#animals
#drawing
#Martin Jarrie
#painting
#surreal

January 5, 2024

Grace Ebert

“Bestioles.” All images © Martin Jarrie, shared with permission

Elephants with blue scales and pipe-like trunks, a woman sporting an enormous bouffant filled with birds, and a farmer grasping a tree with roots evocative of veins or intestines are just a few of the otherworldly characters that populate Martin Jarrie’s illustrations.

The French artist is drawn to mutations and curious scenarios, skewing bodily proportions or melding two creatures into strange hybrids. “What interests me most is giving birth to imaginary beings, animals or humans, under my pencil or my brush,” he shares. “I was very marked in my adolescence and youth by the discovery of surrealism, from Giorgio de Chirico to Magritte via Marcel Duchamp.”

Whether working on a commission or a personal project, Jarrie begins with a minimal sketch before choosing a substrate—paper, canvas, or sometimes wooden produce crates—for his acrylic works. “I never paint on a white background, but it is always already smeared with paint (remnants of palette, bottoms of tubes, etc…),” he notes, which is also evident in the streaks and blotches lining the perimeters of his works.

 

a man with a large white cowboy hat, red checkered shirt, and tall gray pants grasps a tree with a green canopy and tangling roots. flowers and plants surround him

“Horticulteur”

But sometimes an initial drawing doesn’t translate to a larger illustration. Jarrie has amassed a collection of sketchbooks from the past three decades, which he references when he needs inspiration. He explains:

There are a lot of failures, unfinished drawings… When I get stuck, I consult them and sometimes find solutions in drawings that I found unsatisfactory but which suddenly open up new avenues for me. And then always in case of blockage… I leaf through the books in my library, art books, exhibition catalogs, books on nature, animals, sky charts, old sea charts, etc…

The resulting works are filled with unexpected oddities and textured details, which the artist describes as direct translations of an idea or thought into “a sensation…The pleasure of drawing is to let yourself be surprised,” he says. “Something escapes.”

Jarrie’s most recent commissions include a seasonal label design for Staple Gin, along with a book project for Vista Alegre. Find much more of his work on Instagram.

 

a portrait of a woman with a large bouffant filled with birds

“Tête +oiseaux”

a drawing of a human hand in navy with thin white lines covering it

“Main”

a silhouette of a face in blue with dark hair on a red backdrop. small gears, bolts, and other tools dot the body

“Les 2 géants”

a woman with curly black hair, a red shirt, and a yellow and black striped skirt is surrounded by dozens of dogs

“Femme aux chiens”

a man with a long red beak nose, blue shirt, and red and black checkered pants sits on an oversized red wood chair while a white bird with long red beak perches in his palm

“Nid”

a green fennel bulb

“Fenouil”

#animals
#drawing
#Martin Jarrie
#painting
#surreal

 

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. You’ll connect with a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, read articles and newsletters ad-free, sustain our interview series, get discounts and early access to our limited-edition print releases, and much more. Join now!