Interview: Seb Jarnot

Please, introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about you.

My name is Seb Jarnot, artist / illustrator, I’m 43, I live and work in Nîmes (south of France)
My work as an illustrator is known for the records sleeves I made for the french electronic music scene, for a Nike print campaign and
for the book « 3×7=15 » published by Die Gestalten Verlag (Berlin).

Recent, current or future projects you are involved in that you would like to share with us?

I’m currently working on a movie poster for a famous french director.
One of the proposals (my favorite one) is an abstract hand-made collage. It’s an enigmatic, colorful and eye-catching image.
The idea is to express the feeling of the movie (which is quite odd) rather than showing an image of the movie or the actor(s).
We are at an early stage but the 1st feedback I got so far is that it’s not enough movie-poster-like but I don’t despair…

What kind of things do influence your work?

I think the main influence is music because my work as a collage artist is all about rhythm, harmony and feeling.
In fact I really think I’ve been trying to make visual music for a long time.
People like Serge Gainsbourg, Sonic Youth or Aphex Twin have had a huge impact on my work.
I’ve posted a lot of music stuff on my blog ( so you can see the wide range of music I listen to.
But of course, my influences are not limited to music. The worlds of artists such as David Lynch, Lars Von Trier, Raymond Pettibon,
Dash Snow, Mike Kelley, Max Ernst, Daniel Richter, Aya Takano … (to name a few) inspire me a lot too..
There are not only famous names, I see a lot of great and fresh stuff on the internet that have also a big influence on me.

How is your normal process of collaging? (idea or commission, where do you get your materials or find your images, which is your cutting technique, best way you have found to paste, where do you work and how, and very important: what do you do with your scraps)

I love printed stuff in general and particularly magazines from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s for the way they were printed. I don’t find interest in today’s magazines. I’ve been collecting magazines since my childhood but I really began my collage work for about 6 or 7 years.

I often go to flea markets looking for books, magazines, frames etc… I cut with scissor or cutter and paste with a glue spray,
I know it’s not very good for earth but it’s the best way I found so far. If anyone could suggest another glue, cleaner for the earth (and still clean for my collages), I’m open…

When I work, I don’t have a precise idea at the beginning but often I have 2 or 3 scraps of image that give the 1st direction.
I see a feeling or something in each scrap, actually it’s like they are talking to me… And the rest of the process is instinctive reactions to accidents or curious associations until the collage begins to live on its own. Usually, I work on several collages in the same time, this allows to stand back.
I’m not easily satisfied, so it could be a very long process (often weeks) to obtain a haunted and obvious image.
I’m not interested in making tons of collages, all I want is to make strong and deep images that individually echoes inside of me.

On my desk, I have mountains of scraps, on my shelves tons of books and magazines and I love the idea that future combinations are already in the air around me. I’m a bit mystic so I think I’m not the only actor in this process.

Wich is your latest discovery in the collage world? What advice can you give to a collage beginner?

It’s not my latest discovery but when I discovered Dash Snow’s work a few years before his death, it was a real revelation.
I love the energy that emanates from his collages. It’s some kind of magic and that’s what I’m looking for in my practice..

If I had to give advice to a collage beginner, I’d tell him or her to be very demanding and to pay attention not to fall in the easy
associations, (I’m bored with porn pictures and cosmic skies).
Indeed I think it’s quite easy to make collages, it’s more difficult to invent new graphic and sensible approaches.

What do say your friends/family about your collage work? And, what do you do when you are not working on art?

Firstly, I noticed that girls are generally more interested in my collages than boys.. In my friends and family circle, I have very good feedback
and I’m regularly surprised by unexpected interpretations… For exemple, my wife often sees sexual content in my images where I only see
pleasant abstract shapes ; )
Most of the time, I work on my commissioned works or on my collages but when I’m not working on art,
I try to spend some time with my wife and our 2 daughters

Would you like to ask anything to John Baldessari? Shoot.

no, I don’t have any precise question but few years ago there’s been a big exhibition of his work here in Nîmes, at Carré d’Art. I think this show gave me answers without I ask any question