Jacques de Loustal at Co/Mix 2011
I first saw artwork by Jacques de Loustal at one of the Comics Brew
exhibitions in Cape Town, a few years back. Alongside his comic book work,
he is renowned for his travel journals, and his richly coloured scenes of
exotic locales stuck in my mind. A few months ago, an official in the French
Embassy, Guy de la Chevallerie, got in touch with me to tell me about an
exciting Loustal travel journal project to be hosted as part of the French
Season, to be held in SA in the second half of 2012. The first part of this
project, he told me, would involve Loustal coming to South Africa for a couple
of weeks in 2010 to make a travel journal about his visit. This would then be
published and launched next year as part of the French season in SA.
Great, I replied. Why doesn’t he participate in our Co/Mix exhibition, which
we were at that moment planning. And so it came to be. Loustal is such an
incredibly high-profile, busy artist that we haven’t as yet had personal contact
with him, but what is obvious from the numerous blog posts about him is that
he seems to travel more or less non-stop, making art and being celebrated
wherever he goes.
Here’s some info about him, gleaned from various online sources.
Born in Neuilly, a suburb of Paris, in 1956, Loustal got involved in illustrating
rock & folk ‘zines and posters while an architecture student in the early ‘70s.
He became friends with the writer Philippe Paringaux, and they began
working as an artist/writer team on comic projects. At around that time
Paringaux and Loustal started producing comics for Métal Hurlant (Screaming
Metal), the French adult comic magazine specialising in weird SF and horror,
sex and existentialism. Launched in 1974, and created by a collective of avant
garde comic artists known as Les Humanoïdes Associés (United Humanoids),
including Jean Giraud (better known as Mœbius) and Philippe Druillet, Métal
Hurlant was very much the ‘in’ ‘zine on the French BD scene in those days.
In 1977, Métal Hurlant arrived in the English-speaking world as Heavy Metal.
(Sadly, the version that exists today is a miserable shadow of the original mag
of the late ‘70s and 80s.)
From 1984 Loustal became a frequent contributor to the monthly À Suivre, for
which he created ‘Coeurs de Sable’, ‘Barney et la Note Bleue’, ‘Un Jeune
Homme Romantique’ and ‘Kid Congo’. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, he
published numerous albums in which his work was collected.
Loustal describes himself as ‘an obsessive traveller’ and has traveled widely
in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Mediterranean, recording his adventures in
a succession of travel journals. Besides comics, Loustal has also had an
extensive career in illustration.
His Co/Mix contribution consists of 12 small original drawings, in pen and
ink and colour, documenting scenes and moments from his travels around
the world. He will be visiting Cape Town and Grahamstown from 25 June
until early July. Stay tuned to this blog for opportunties to meet the great BD