Recently, I have been obsessed with Malika Favre’s illustration works. The works are very colourful and playful. I like how she blends minimalist illustration style with the Egyptian arts culture, creating works are some what rather tongue in cheek. Today, I would like to use my time on Swide to introduce, to you, one of my favourite illustrators, Malika Favre.
Hello Malika, it’s my pleasure to have you on Swide this week. Your works are very refreshing and i'd like to find out more about you and your world. First off, what's the one thing that attracts you to the illustration industry?
I have always been drawing as far as I can remember so it came together very naturally and without really thinking it through to be honest. I started my career as a graphic designer at Airside, a small London multidisciplinary design studio and ended up doing more and more illustration projects as the years went by. I was doing a lot of self initiated work while at Airside so the shift from that job to becoming an independent illustrator happened very organically. The illustration industry is huge in the Uk and my fear was to become yet another fish in the pond but keeping my personal work going seems to attract the right clients and commissions so far.
I think your illustration style is unique and really catches our attention. Well, let me ask you a hypothesis question: if you were not an illustrator, what kind of jobs do you think you would be doing? Would it be arts related?
I would be a psychiatrist. I find people fascinating and I think my methods of treatment will be slightly more creative. Thankfully, we won’t have to find out.
I would have never expected you to tell me you would want to be a psychiatrist but that sounds interesting! How do you describe your illustration style? I notice some of your works are influenced by Egyptian arts, why is that?
I would describe my process as trying to get to the essence of things : minimalistic, bold and colourful . I love the fierceness of Egyptian figures and engravings. They are extremely simple but strong. Also, their aesthetic is close to my sensibility. Therefore, I feel like trying and use these influences to develop something new.
Your style is very refreshing, especially I like how you give a modern twist to the Egyptian arts. I don’t think a lot of artists can have the ability to blend minimalist illustration style and Egyptian art together, but you have definitely nailed it. Speaking of Egypt, is there any other place you will want to visit in Africa in the future? Is there a particular thing in that place you think will inspire your artworks?
I have never been to Africa actually. My first trip would be to go to North Africa to see the village where my mum comes from. Being mixed race surely had an influence on my visual aesthetic I think I would be curious to explore Algeria and see how that pilgrimage would influence my future work.
I really hope you will have a chance to go to Algeria soon. I have another question in mind and I hope you will be able to answer; your works are always so colourful and I am just wondering, are there certain colour combinations you dislike but always seem produce satisfying results?
I love every single colour combination I use in my work actually. I even tend to dress in the same palettes. Bright Red and electric Blue is probably my favorite and most recurrent combination. It shouldn’t work and is slightly intense on the eye but I find is deeply pleasing.
Interesting, when it comes to red and blue, I always think of male and female, and I believe this might have to do with the artist’s instinct. Speaking of gender, I have noticed that some of your works are very provocative. Sex is usually a very sensitive subject to a lot of people but you illustrate it in a tongue in cheek way, is there a particular message you want to bring out of these pieces?
Sex is a playful thing by essence. I am not trying to be provocative or to shock anyone with those projects but each individual has it’s own taboos and boundaries when it comes to erotic pictures. Mine is just slightly further down the line. I am just trying to show that sex is a fun, playful and cheeky thing and we don’t need to take it too seriously.
I agree with you on this and I think artists are always open minded and can bring positive messages to their audience. Now I am curious, if you could travel back in time, is there a particular painter/illustrator you would want to collaborate with? If so, what kind of image would you two create?
I would go back and work with Kandinsky. His colour choices were just stunning. We would probably deconstruct a colourful orgy. That could be fun.
You and Kandinsky would definitely work well together and I could only imagine the what that deconstructed colourful orgy would look like. Before I end this interview, I do have one last thing to ask you: when I look at your personal website, I see you have created some animated gifs. If I ask you to pick one to represent your recent mood, which one will you choose? Why?
The little moustache writer holding a pen would be the perfect one for today’s interview ; ) He is in a jolly mood and so am I.