July 22, 2016

Spotlight: Tallulah Fontaine

Tallulah Fontaine imagines a new world through her illustrations.

If you haven’t yet heard of Tallulah Fontaine, she is a Canadian illustrator who has best known for her zine Home and has designed for the likes of Grimes, Purity Ring, and Braids. Okay, I understand if the latter part of that sentence isn’t easy to just glaze over. When I first discovered the impression Fontaine is making in the music industry with her illustrations, I was highly impressed to say the least.

Fontaine has successfully created a new world through her illustrations. Looking through her work, both her commissioned and personal, there is a striking continuity among the characters she imagines and the places she creates for them to exist in that seem so effortless. Her more recent work resonates with me because, as she discusses below, the emotions she displays most are sadness and calmness. The presence of sadness and calmness create a beautiful juxtaposition; equally translating the search for balance in life.  Like Fontaine's latest illustrations depict, we are all trying to balance our own sorrows alongside our own inner tranquility.

The Le Sigh: Currently, where are you residing?

Tallulah Fontaine: I've been living in Toronto since January of this year. I'm originally from Edmonton, Alberta.

TLS: As an illustrator, what tools and materials do you use in your creative process?

TF: I start off every piece by sketching it by hand and usually go over it with watercolour, ink or gouache. I do most of the colouring digitally with photoshop and my Wacom tablet.

TLS: Who or what are you most influenced by artistically?

TF: Traveling, my year living in California, a breakup, my friends, music.

TLS: Who are some of your favorite illustrators that have inspired you?

TF: The person who really inspired me to get started was Olivia Mew. I started assisting her in the early days of her company Stay Home Club and learned a lot about running a business and what illustration even was. She gave me my first tablet and I continually seek her out for advice. She's amazing. She also introduced me to some of my favourites like Kaye Blegvad and Maddy Young. Maddy and I share so much in common and have many similar themes that run through our lives. I love collaborating with her and discussing art and music and all kinds of things we find exciting! It's a long distance sisterhood for sure.

TLS: Your work has been commissioned by people like Grimes, Purity Ring and Braids. How has it been working with such notable musicians and bands?

TF: Purity Ring were the first band I've ever made art for and actually my first commissioned job. We've known each other since high school and have grown together as artists and friends. It's always lovely to collaborate with them since we understand each other so well, everything fits together easily. I met Braids maybe seven years ago at a house show and Claire through other mutual friends. I respect and admire everyone so much and am honored that they have wanted to work with me.

TLS: What themes do you find yourself most interested in conveying in your art?

TF: Dreams, memories, femininity.

TLS: What emotions do you find yourself displaying most in your work?

TF: Sadness and calmness.

TLS: What jobs have you done other than being an artist?

TF: I've had so many odd jobs! I've stacked meat in a freezer, waitressed in vlt bars and food chains, alphabetized records and books, was a tea tender in a lovely Montreal tea room and a bunch of other ones too.

Audry Hiaoui. Audry is a writer and artist. She is currently working on an audio project called Tween Queens and a feminist-driven project called Our Clits. Check out Our Clits on Instagram at @ourclits and follow her on Instagram at @audryhiaoui and Twitter at @halfchublover.