Emmanuelle Ly is a visual artist based in France. She is making a name for herself by doing a sketch a day and posting them on her Tumblr and Instagram. She has a bold and graphic style that she uses to make a raw portrait of society.
Introduce yourself, tell us a little about you and where you are from.
My name is Emmanuelle Ly, I'm a French visual artist based in Lyon, France, originally from Burgundy. My father is Cambodian and my mother is French.
I've always been drawing, it's a childhood passion. I received a Master Degree of Fine Arts with honors from Ensa Dijon and I make a drawing a day on my social media since 2012.
What made you want to start a daily drawing challenge in 2012? What makes you continue with this challenge after 5 years?
It was a logical continuation of a project I initiated when I was in art school. In 2012, I ran a blog to share my work online with new people. At the beginning, I started this project because I wanted to do a 365-day challenge to improve myself. You become better by exercising often and regularly.
Like when you cook, play music, or when you engage in sports activities, you need daily practice. It's the same about drawing. Practice makes perfect and drawing is really addictive. It's as essential as breathing [to me]
I had four big maxillofacial surgeries during these past two years and drawing is a way to stay focus despite all of this. I'm still alive!
You mentioned that the sketches are created to 'make a raw portrait of our society'. Why is it important to sketch these moments?
For me each artist is a mirror of our society, there is just several representations and multiple prisms. I don't want to draw only nice or cute stuff. Sometimes, there is also ugly weird things. You know a picture is worth a thousand words and drawing is a good approach to express yourself.
When you saw an ancient Egyptian figure, a paleolithic cave painting or an Italian Renaissance masterpiece, you realize the power of figurative art. I mean drawing is like a time machine. The marvelous thing about art is the spiritual travel!
I remember the first time when one of my drawings was reblogged more than 5000 times on Tumblr the same day, it was incredibly insane! And now, 13,495 folks have seen and shared my 4 planets Saturn drawing! Dope!
With my work, I’m seeking something that can evolve with me over time catching my state of mind, capturing l’air du temps (the times).
For example, when David Bowie died, it was important for me to draw his portrait. I try to illustrate my fleeting mental pictures mixed with our collective remembrance.
- Interview by Alex Lucas