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The notebooks to spirals of LOUSTAL

© Bachi-Bouzouk

Les Carnets a Spirales de Loustal  p.18 -21


Of New York , Miami in Kid Congo, exoticism and the disorientation are major components of his/her/its œuvre. Loustal travels, draw, photograph, like a writer takes some notes.

Of New York, Miami in Kid Congo, exoticism and the disorientation are major components of his work. Loustal travels, draw, photograph, like a writer takes some notes.

"I adored to travel always. But before traveling, I adored to look at the cards and to walk me in the atlases…." For an author that one often taxed literary, this confession for the love of the books is to the picture of the pleasure that one immediately takes while opening a work of Loustal. That it is while taking a comic strip or a notebook of journey, it is the same call of the large, the same desire to run away, to discover something else that the banal reality of our daily. Since, the beginning, the titles of his books speak of themselves:Arrière saison, Zénata plage, Cœurs de sable, Kid Congo…… until his last published last year work, Tourist of bananas, adaptation of a novel underestimated of Georges Simenon-of which Loustal is a big admirer-and that tells these funny tourists who escaped France for the colonies, thinking that one could live there merely while eating some bananas.

In 1990, under the impulse of Etienne Robial, Loustal publishes at Futuropolis his first notebook of journey that retakes excerpts of notebooks of drawn sketches between 1981 and 1989 from Morocco, in Spain, to Mauritius or to Mexico. Since, The Doorstep took the principle, reissuing this first work then completing it by a second book in 1997. Today, the notebooks of the comic strip drawers are more and more matter to publication, as us the shows the excellent notebook of Barcelona of Dupuy and Berbérian

. Besides, this year, the Festival comic in Bastia was not mistaken of it, making of the journey drawings the theme of one of his exhibitions, and placing the authors of comic strip as the creators of another literature of journey.

At Loustal as at Hugo Pratt, the journey is first of a domestic tradition: "My father traveled a lot, he always brought back full of thing of his journeys, of the objects, of the memories. There were also a lot of displacements in my family, even to very faraway generations. For example, I have the ancestors who traveled in China. There were quite a lot of soldiers who went in abroad garrisons. I lived with this idea of the journey. The fact to be able to put the finger on a card and to try to know then how is the atmosphere of the country. I have a sort of knowledge bulimia, as the project to know all places of the world. I think that it is necessary to leave as soon as the opportunity presents itself, even for two days. To meet foreign in a country, to be in a state of permanent discovery, that is very exciting. But it is true that to travel can ask for the efforts. When one arrives in a city a certain energy is always necessary to decode the place. One arrives by plane and one sees the country of in top, it is gigantic, that can frighten. One sees some guys by car that know where they go, he can be night and the city is filled of small luminous points, and us, one arrives in there, one knows anything. All that asks for a certain effort and I understand that there are the people who don't like to travel, that that annoys, that meets in organized journeys. "

Thus, Jacques Of Loustal likes to leave alone: "I accumulate the maximum of guides, I make some lootings in the libraries of everything that I can find on a country, I take a flight with a car to the arrival and after me travels of hotels in hotels, without stopping me. When I was younger, I made a long journey in stop through Yugoslavia. Now I don't make that more, I can pay myself for the hotel! But I don't like the luxury hotels too much, I like the old hotels better, like these hotels in Morocco left of the thirties. For example I went lately to Cairo to make the poster of a festival and I asked Golo to find me an old English hotel in the center of the city…"

Author of comic strip, illustrator, it is also the possibility to travel and Loustal doesn't spit on a small displacement all cool paid. In fact, all opportunities are good to make a small outing far from the Parisian dullness: festival, locations, drawings for a poster or an illustration: "In my profession, I am brought to travel often, through the French institutes for example, the cultural centers, the festivals of comic, in countries where I would not have made the effort maybe to go, as in Romania, in Poland, or in Iceland. In fact, when I travel for work, I make it in great conditions: I am received by people who know the country very well, I am presented to local artists, etc. I cannot say that it is the job, it is not like a guy who works in an enterprise and when he leaves to Hong Kong, he goes at the same time to the summit of a tower, I envy the people who have a profession where one sends them like that every two years to live like expatriates in a foreign country. It is not the same thing when one is resident. The only time where I lived indeed abroad, that marked me a lot, it is when I made my cooperation in Morocco. I lived one year and half in a small city on the Atlantic coast. That pleased me a lot. In fact, I always have this idea to be going to install me abroad, I have even some years for that. "



To the will of illustrator's works, the destinations vary: "Lately, I have been marked very by journeys in South America, I made six journeys there: in Argentina, to Chile and in Ecuador, because I had a roving personal expo. These countries frightened me a little because of all the paranoiac politics bound to these places. In fact, I found that there were with us European an a lot richer human proximity than with the peasants of the Middle-West for example. There is a common culture bottom. We are all of the Latin. Besides, I got back to Spanish to take advantage better of these countries. The last of these journeys in the Galápagoses was magnificent. Otherwise, I had the opportunity to make a book on Indonesia published at Christian Desbois, Java, and then, I also participated in the Kodansha project of the French drawers in Japan. The fifteen days in Tokyo had been great. "

Bulimic of destinations, Loustal doesn't forget to reserve of the personal journeys, outside of all professional activity. About two times per year, big journeys are decided, but ever for too long, fifteen days to the maximum. As in his comic strips, Loustal likes the islands of which one can make the tour, the hot countries,: "I like the seascapes, lights bound to the sea, the navy architecture. The effects of salt and wind on the earth are things to which I am sensitive…" And especially, Loustal likes to return something of his journeys: "I adore to return some pictures. I made a lot of photos when I pulled myself the negatives. It is an activity that I had developed when I was teenage, in the bathroom of my parents and that I quit has a short time. "

Because what one knows little, it is that Jacques Of Loustal is also an excellent photographer, author notably of numerous panoramic views, assembly of several photographs, to the picture of the work of David Hockney on this topic. Of the same way, Loustal observes, dissect, record, sometimes for the purpose of his work, and experiment the new numeric technologies: "I discovered another thing to return some pictures, these are therefore the small numeric, small video cameras very discreet. That records everything that one wants with a very fine sensitivity, like a supplementary œil. I pass that by the window of the car, I can make some stops on pictures, it is indeed too easy, it is incredible. That served me a lot in my locations for the comic strip that I make currently with Charyn, White Sonia, I could rather shoot scenes of the Bronx difficult to take usually. After me make some small albums while printing on a printing video of the small pictures. "



The notebooks of journeys of Jacques Of Loustal are small jewelry of simplicity. While thumbing them, it is possible that one succeeds in sharing the artist's real intimacy in journey, visiting his hotel room, bathing in the same waters, sharing the same humanity. Of confers a big creative liberty as much as the exercise: "The notebook is a very free principle that permits to experiment new techniques. One day, I left quickly to Mauritius a little, I had forgotten my material while telling me good, it is not serious, I am going to find some feathers over there. In fact, there was not anything of all that, there were only Chinese brushes that I bought in a bazaar and as there was only blue ink, I began to make these drawings to the brush. It was the first time that I experimented this technique. Of other times, I recover the possibility to use the Bic to make some hatchings as sketchbooks of Crumb. It is very pleasant bus in the comic strip, one is stuck from the beginning to the end in a certain graphic consistency. In illustration, it is similar, one always expects what I present a certain type of work. It is true that since these notebooks are published, I am not anymore as innocent. Of moments ago where, in the evening, I make some drawings while recalling me what I saw. That, it is something else, it is as a writer's notes. To the basis, there is always this pleasure to bring back books filled of drawings, it is the principle of the unique book. " And then, the important is not to give precisely account of the reality: "What interests me that is the result. When I began to draw according to nature, I made that to the pencil with my architect's formation, that is to say with the perspectives. A very irritating thing that led to very school, very laborious drawings, as the students make it in architecture that one sees to the Forum of the Covered markets. Me, I learned the perspectives in manuals of the beginning of the century destined to soldiers who had to be going to draw topographic sketches, usable in case of war, and that had to therefore, to be very very precise. It is very well, that learns the depth, but makes to some, one makes fun some completely to know if it is precisely similar. In fact, I saw a friend who drew a car a few years ago. He began like that, by a tip, and he made fun some completely to know what that was going to give. Gradually, the picture of the car became completely deformed and that finally gave a drawing a lot more interesting. From the moment where one draws the bone of a wall the whole remains in ensues. The interest for me it is the result, it is the drawing generated by the moment. Since the departure, the drawing of journey, it was a drawing of pure pleasure. I am well then in a place, to prolong one moment, I take a notebook with a paper that I like well, with a feather that makes a pretty noise on the paper, and I draw. There is not any idea of report in there. I draw what I have before me, to the moment or I want to draw. It is for that that to the United States, it is a lot more difficult to make it because it is necessary to stop. The countries that I draw are often the islands where I cannot move anymore. " While waiting for the next book of comic strip of Loustal to appear at Casterman, a history that takes his roots in the violence of the Bronx of New York, one will be able to, in January 2000, to feast of a new published notebook. It will be just after the neighbor journey. Destination: China."

Vincent Bernière

© Bachi-Bouzouk - NUMBER 6, OCTOBER 1999 / P.18,19,20,21





















of Journeys