Practice Session #3 – Jean Jullien

Trying to find balance

We recently chatted with Jean Jullien, a French graphic artist living and working in Paris, about daily rituals and connecting with others.  Jullien’s new show, Hello Again, is opening in Seoul at Albus Gallery this April. 

What would you say is your consistent creative practice? Do you adhere to a routine or ritual ?

I used to when I was doing more commercial work and living in London. I had a proper routine and tried to take things seriously enough. But these days I'm all over the shop and I find it incredibly freeing. I feel comfortable (-ish) in what I do and I feel like I don't have to say yes all the time anymore. So these days I do a bit of commercial work in my office upstairs if there's a nice project then I go down to the studio to paint and chat with friends.

What personal tips do you have to feel positive and optimistic when you are working, especially when you are creating on a deadline.

Think less, do more, see what happens. So... ideally try to forget about deadlines and just produce work consistently, in a flowing way, then see what's good and what you feel works best, etc. 

How has your pre-established practice and routines helped you through these more uncertain and trying times?

It definitely helped me keep a certain structure when I needed it. Forcing myself to do work in an organised way, etc. It's definitely good to keep a structure if you feel you're naturally lacking in that department. It's all about trying to find a balance. 

How do you handle emotions while you work? Stress can often lead to a stunted practice, or it could make you breakout of your funk. What sort of steps in your practice are geared toward harnessing and supporting your emotions?

I'm super sensitive to stress and am, in general, a pretty emotional person. Deadlines, keeping up with social media and clients, being competitive and all that made my stress levels sky rocket and that was really not good for my family, my work or me. So I tried to listen to that and change what I could in order to be happier and produce better work. It's hard because we live in a world with a strange philosophy where we're all in competition with each other to have more exposure, share more intimate details etc. Personal life and public appearance get mixed up a lot. I understood early on that that wasn't for me, but sometimes feel conflicted because you still have to reach out to an audience in order to communicate your work to others. And that's something that I've always loved, the exchange. Things like Instagram have made all of that easy and weird at the same time. I'm trying to work with it the best I can without feeling too invaded or led by it.