“My working place is at home. So not very big. Which is fine, because I work mostly on small pieces of paper. I’m member of a communautary printing studio, where I do silkscreen printing. Another reason why I don’t need that much space…In the past years I have been working on collages so I have a BIG collection of old 50’s to early 70’s magazines, like Good Housekeeping, Life, Elle (France) mostly women’s magazines, they are a lot more fun great outfits, bra and fridge ads and a good variety of fonts. I don’t work so much with computers or very little, that’s why it sits in a corner…it uses the exact space it takes in my life. And, the telephone plug is in that corner.”
Born in 1965 in Montréal, Julie Doucet
was educated at a girl Catholic school. Then she began Fine Arts studies, first at the CÉGEP du Vieux Montréal (the equivalent of junior college), later at the Université du Québec à Montréal, where she completed a degree in printing arts. During her studies Julie Doucet took interest into drawing comics, and eventually devoted herself completely to that funny artform. Dirty Plotte began life as a photocopied fanzine. In it Doucet would document in french and in english her day-to-day life, her dreams, angsts, fantasies…The series was first published in 1991 by Drawn & Quarterly, in the comic book form. Shortly afterwards she won the prestigious Harvey Award for Best New Talent. She left for New York City, where she spent a year related in “My New York Diary”. And then moved to Seattle. From 1995 she spent three years in Berlin, during which time L’Association in Paris published her first book in French: “Ciboire de criss”. Returning to Montréal in the late 1990s, she abandoned the medium of comic books and went back to printing. Woodcuts, linocuts, silkscreen printing, followed by an abundant production of artist’s books. She took part in many group exhibitions and, finally, in 2006 she had her own solo exhibition of her print work at the galerie B-312. Julie Doucet now writes and makes collages. Mostly.
FROM YOUR DESKS: What is your cat’s name?
JULIE DOUCET: My cat’s name is Jojo, but I never call her. It’s more like a name for the human to use. I mostly call her “hey” or “what d’you want?”
FYD: Who makes that cool radio and what do you listen to?
JD: Tivoli. I thought it was American? I bought it that one time I received an art grant. It was the my congratulations gift to myself.
FYD: What is on the wall behind your desk; some of your work no doubt.
JD: The art on the wall are collages of maps, I mean made-up maps for a made-up country of website project…I’ve been working on that for a while, got most of the visual, a made-up language. I will silkscreen print passports so people can immigrate. I still have to write the descriptions and all. It’s going to take a while, I’m afraid! Also : no money.
I have been reading a lot of German speaking literature like Max Frisch, Edgar Hilsenrath, Alfred Döblin and Thomas Bernhard. T. Bernhard : my very very very favorite.
FYD: Do you keep your computer tucked at that smart little desk for a reason?
JD: I’ve got no Facebook or anything like that, so I don’t really have trouble to not keep away from the computer. I’ve got no patience, I can’t read texts on a computer, can’t look at films on YouTube the resolution is so bad it makes me scream! I am not too fussy about quality on printing but for some reason the bad image quality on computers I can’t stand. I love my little computer, I couldn’t live without it now.
FYD: Are you reading anything good?
JD: I am trying to be better reading/writing and eventually speaking German, so I have been reading a lot of German speaking literature like Max Frisch, Edgar Hilsenrath, Alfred Döblin and Thomas Bernhard. T. Bernhard : my very very very favorite. I can sort of read his theater in German, but no more. I use a dictionary, but I am at a point it’s not too hard and unpleasant. Also, I am doing a Fanzine in (bad) German. Mostly writing. Silkscreened. Once every two months. 4 issues out! I’ve had some real German read it : it’s bad-funny, I’ve got a personal style, they say! T hat’s good, it could be just bad-boring. The name is “der Stein” (the stone). Making fanzines is the best thing to do ever!
I couldn’t live without a good French bookstore in the neighbourhood anymore.
FYD: Any good movies? And your collaboration with Michel Gondry; for those who want to check it out; do you recommend reading “My New York Diary” first (to those who haven’t) then jumping here or here.
JD: I kind of stopped going to the movies after the Gondry project…that was quite something. Not so easy for me, as a person who always worked at home to her own (slow) rhythm. Making a movie is just fast, quick decisions to make, drawings to do RIGHT NOW at the corner of a table…too many people, too much money…I don’t know.
Gondry is a great guy, and great friend. No question. He is not at all into the big business. He is living on another planet. And the film fun and charming…I would suggest to watch the movie then read the NY diary…sounds like a better suspense. Watching Michel working inspired me to do my own animation films. Very short one-minute films, mostly abstract, or with words only. A friend of mine is doing the sound part. We are not very good at distribution. Well, we are lazy. They have been shown a couple of times…I don’t think I will do much more, my eyes hurt too much now, and working on a light table is not the best. Otherwise: der stein!
JD: Going back to pictures words on paper. The usual. My favorite.
FYD: Do you ever miss New York?
JD: No…I have been visiting many times in the past three years because of the film project with Michel…the city’s energy is very refreshing when you come from Montréal, but…it’s too competitive as well. I couldn’t live without a good French bookstore in the neighbourhood anymore. And I am more into going to the countryside, for the sileeeence!