Better get lost - Elie Huault - Ultrashop

More about Elie Huault

How did you choose your means of expression?

I have always drawn and wanted to tell stories. For me it is synonymous with freedom in what I want to relate in terms of both style and content. I pay particular attention to detail and texture that, in my mind, provide the continuity for a universe.

Is this medium secondary to or closely linked to your subject?

For me drawing is meditative and a means of channelling my energy. I think that what makes a good drawing is when I spend time on it and I have the impression that I will never finish it! More seriously though this is not always the case and I’m not renouncing more naïve drawing, but my more recent projects are very much about contemplation and I would like viewers/interpreters to look at the images for a long time. I therefore pay particular attention to texture and detail so that viewers are drawn to every corner of the image and experience something sensory with respect to my work.

What equipment do you use and why?

I use a Rotring tubular tip because I like its precision and the results produced closely resemble engraving. The black is very dark and this facilitates very meticulous originals that last.

How does a work session take shape?

A substantial drink on the desk, an album that lasts a good few hours, a few images for reference, a lot of mistakes and a lot of patience!

Can you explain to me how your work has evolved since starting out?

When I was younger I wanted to work in animation and video games, I drew in a very “technical” way but without questioning what I wanted to say. These days, my approach to illustration is much more focussed on producing meaning rather than a lovely image, even if I sometimes make more “gratuitous” images. Today, I think more in terms of editorial projects and full stories than a unique beautiful drawing. I also have many more doubts!


Do your origins and culture play a role in the works that you produce?

My origins do not directly influence my work, but, if you think about it, many stories have the same references to great founding texts. At the moment I’m working on a comic in the shape of an initiatory journey, there are potential parallels with great texts drawn from various mythologies.

Which events have influenced you most?

The two World Wars have left their mark on me, the atrocities that came with them and what they demonstrated with regard to human limitations. I have always loved history, particularly 20th century history, and I think that science fiction was very significant then because there was a whole breeding ground to generate the craziest ideas by illustrators and authors that I like. It is also a century of absolutely fascinating radical technological advances that had already seemed like science fiction at the time, and I find that particularly inspiring (and sometimes a little scary!).

What are your sources of inspiration?

I love authors such as Robert Crumb, Joe Daly, Jerôme Dubois, Shigeru Mizuki and Paul Kirchner. Of course there are others but the list would go on and on.

Are there any anecdotes that enable an understanding of the genesis of your work?

In 2012 I came across a document called the “Cometa Report” on the CNES website (National Centre for Space Research). After reading it, I had an idea to do a small series of illustrations, that ending up being a comic project consisting of over 90 pages… I’m still working on it!

Do current events play a role in your work or on the contrary do you distance yourself from them?

The main focus of my project is not necessarily to take current events into account, except perhaps through references, as in any science fiction work, but I keep abreast of what is happening in the world. It’s important to have an idea as well as it being inspiring in many ways. I have also illustrated for the press and I intend to continue with that, I don’t want to give that up!


Are your works more of a dialogue, a trace or a denunciation?

I would lean more towards a trace. I like viewers to have the freedom to see what they want to see in the image, without it being something inaccessible. There may be a certain form of denunciation, but I would prefer for this to be seen more through my work for the press and not when I’m working on a contemplative and poetic narrative.

Do you intend to make viewers wonder or do you prefer to question them?

I would like viewers to wonder, to put themselves in my shoes or in those of the character depicted, without putting a knife to their throat!

How do you view human beings, and consequently your work?

I think that human beings are lost, fragile and a danger to themselves. Paradoxically I think that they are capable of being extremely funny and sometimes I like to explore this “silly” side that we all have, that takes us away from our everyday social codes.

How would you compare your last work with the next?

A consequence!

Is art poetry or social intervention?

I think it’s both.


How do you view your own work?

My work is continually being researched, I’m no longer sure about anything, but that helps me to progress.

What are your current and future projects?

I’m currently working on the science fiction comic, COMETA, something that has been ongoing for several years and that is coming to fruition, as well as on a little exquisite corpse publication project with an unknown who lives in England. For the moment the illustration dialogue is going really well and I look forward to seeing how it unfolds in the forthcoming weeks!

Do you have anything else to add? Over to you for the last word…

Oh, thanks for asking! No one has asked me about my work for a while, I’m lost for words…