Julien Ceccaldi

"I'll look at my reflection in the mirror, and I'll tell it how ridiculous it is."
Interview by Fiona Duncan 

"Defenestration," charcoal and pastel on paper, 12 x 16 in, 2015

Let’s talk practice. When you’re drawing do you find your hand follows your brain? Or does sometimes your hand do surprising things? Like is it all deliberate?
Everything is very deliberate. In high school, our art teacher kept asking me to loosen up, but I’ve always been like, I don’t want to say anal but...
You’re tight.
And I’m getting tighter. In my first batch of comics, you can tell I was trying to draw with a loose hand. I didn't want my brain to consider anything other than the story and the words. But I like to put effort in draftsmanship, it's obvious by now.
Yeah, your more recent work’s got this gloss.
Up until I was eighteen, it was my goal to figure out how to replicate the glossiness of a professional, published illustration. I've picked up where I left off.
Are you still making clothes? How did that start?
My first shirts were spray-painted and done within twenty minutes; they looked gross and cheap. I sold them to my friends at craft fairs for next to nothing. The idea was that graphic tees are a joke within themselves. And I was wearing them, even running a graphic tee business, so the joke was really on me. Clothes are a goofy support for a painting, so from the get-go, you know you won't be taken too seriously, and you can knock yourself out creatively speaking. I'm tired of selling clothes though. Fashion is fun, but retail is brutal.

"Parasite Purge," installation view, Paradise Garage, Los Angeles, 2013

Your characters aren’t named, right?
Right, they’re nameless. You can think of them as either interchangeable, or the same person throughout.
Like, we can talk gender?
My character designs are getting more unisex, with more slender silhouettes, which I'm compensating for with large sweaters and bald heads here and there. The comics reflect this uniformity. It's a world where on one hand, nobody comments on the way each other's body looks, yay! But on the other, there is no diversity, and the collective consciousness is dogmatic and binary.  The one threat to this are visceral emotions; that's where the glimmer of hope is. I remember feeling less crazy when I first read all this Judith Butler stuff in school. I was basically being taught that everybody is in a constant state of performance, trying hard to maintain appearances at all times. I let out a sigh of relief: oh, it’s not just me.

From Sex Magazine #10 Spring 2015
Labelled Comics