Going to Print: Art Life by Catherine Ocelot




It’s that time of year again! Andy’s been busily inking contracts and now we’ve got a couple of exciting acquisitions to announce! The first is Art Life by celebrated Montreal artist Catherine Ocelot, originally published in French as La vie d’artiste. We’re pleased to share that Conundrum Press has purchased World English rights to Art Life, which will be translated by the talented Aleshia Jensen, and published in 2020. Stay tuned for a second announcement later this week!


About Art Life

In her new opus, Catherine Ocelot wonders about her place as an artist, digging into the layers of what it means to live this Art Life. In her search for answers, she talks with seven artists from different disciplines who express their doubts, their struggles, their ambitions and their sometimes-wise and sometimes-funny observations. The author stages these encounters with finesse and wit, and echoes them with scenes from her own life. Art Life is a tragicomic tale tinged with fantasy that explores the impact of others on oneself, led by an artist who slowly comes to understand herself.

Twenty 2 Questions with Catherine Ocelot

(Big thanks to Aleshia Jensen for translating!)


Photo Credit: Justine Latour

1. The fantastical characters who live in your work is part of its charm. Why do you choose to depict your characters as animal/people hybrids?

The book is for the most part a sort of artistic coming-of-age story, in which I search out others and listen to their experiences. I try to learn by observing, evoking the idea of studying a species: the artist. These bird costumes can be seen as a way of representing the themes of the persona and protection from the outside world—both ideas present throughout the book. How to be permeable, to take in influences while remaining whole and protected are very much of interest to me; it’s a difficult balance to achieve as an artist. Finally, as I also speak about my fear of falling in the book, the feathers are there to soften my eventual fall, which happens when I’m standing on a branch and try to hoist myself up on a tree that isn’t mine.

2. This graphic novel examines the nuances and complications of life as an artist. Was there a particular incident that motivated you to start working on this project?

Perhaps not one incident in particular, but building an “art life” for myself and making the choice to make art took some time. For all sorts of reasons, it wasn’t something that was a given for me; it was a difficult decision to make. And before making it, I questioned myself at length. This book is a bit of a summary of those questions and related observations. And since part of my process is to engage with others, making a work around encounters with other artists made a lot of sense to me. Communication and dialogue are central to my work, and the way the book is formatted helps show how my character evolves thanks to these encounters.




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