Strong, confident female characters who seem to be freely enjoying their own company. The London-based French illustrator, Marylou Faure puts liberated femininity at the heart of her bold color and form compositions. Her clients include renowned brands such as Nike, Adidas, Levi’s and WWF. Marylou and I talked about female role models, her self-care routine, and her recently published Artbook. Interview!
Your illustrations often raise social issues that are important to you. One of your main themes is female empowerment and body positivity, which is the acceptance of our body. What kind of experience do you have as a female designer in the industry? Do you see any positive changes in the last few years?
Overall, I have good experience as a female designer. Particularly because I’ve always focused on my goals, and I’m pretty straightforward when it comes to work. If I think I should be paid more or treated fairly, I’ll say it. And if the client can’t give me that, then I’m moving on. I think the biggest challenge in the industry is that female artists have to justify their work much better. We often have to explain ourselves, while male artists are given more space and respect from the very beginning. However, I get a lot of positive reactions to my work—I think people are ready to depict the female body in a different, more honest way. I am happy about that!
Have you had/do you have any influential female role models, either in your profession or in your close circle? What did you learn from them that was particularly inspiring for you?
Yes, a lot of people! I was automatically attracted to female artists (without even knowing they were women at first). They helped me shape my style and ambition. I love the work of Dora Marr, Niki de St Phalle, Yayoi Kusama—on the one hand, because of their aesthetics and the way they put women at the heart of their work, and on the other because their work seems to be free and they ignore all excuses. Moving to London, I discovered the illustrations of Malika Favre, Camille Walala and Hattie Stewart, and they were a huge inspiration to me.
What does femininity and experiencing female energies mean to you? Do you have a self-care routine that allows you to stay harmonious inside and out?
I’m a sensitive person, and I can get emotional quickly, so taking care of myself is an essential part of my daily routine. Feeling confident and healthy in my body is a priority for me because I know that it can affect every aspect of my life, whether it’s work or human connections. That’s why I always make sure I have some time to read, roller-skate, bathe, and call my friends, because I know I need this resting period to reboot.
Apart from the situation of women, what other social and ethical issues do you focus on right now that you reflect on with your illustrations?
It is very important for me to use my art to support charities and causes that I believe in, such as fighting social racism, sexism, street harassment and tackling environmental issues. These are all topics that I would like to address throughout my career.
You have published your own Artbook of your work. What was the concept behind it? Are you planning on making more at different times in your life, or is this a one-time thing?
I was very excited to work on my first Artbook—it felt really good to look through everything I’ve done in the last five years and pick what I was most proud of. I usually dismiss a work as soon as it’s finished, so it was a good practice to review and reflect on my archive. I would like to create a new book in a few years’ time and repeat it every five years or so.
You’ve worked with several sports brands, including Nike and Adidas, but you’ve also designed table tennis bats and skateboard illustrations. Do you have these many sports-oriented assignments intentionally or by accident?
I think that the energy behind my characters and compositions is well suited to sports brands!
What is filling your daily life these days, and what are the next goals you want to achieve?
Right now, I’m trying to spend more time on my own and do things for fun. I roller skate a lot, which I love, and I spend time with my family. I also have a few professional goals for 2022/23: for example, to learn 3D, do more shows, and experiment a little more with my work.