French graphic designer Simon Lamouret’s books border on long-form journalism: The Tribune India
Sanjam Preet Singh
“I’m not a journalist, I’m not an artist, I’m not a storyteller, I’m not a traveler but I try to be a bit of all of those things.”
This is Simon Lamouret (34), whose biography on the social media platform Behance suggests. Meet him and he says he is at a crossroads. “It allows me to take on any role I feel is appropriate,” says Lamouret, who is from Toulouse, France.
His graphic novel “L’Alcazar” gives a better idea of what he means – a glimpse of his method. He observes, mentally notes things, draws them, weaves a story around them and stands out of frame.
He gave a little insight into his style during a workshop on ‘Introduction to Graphic Design Methods’ at Alliance Française, Chandigarh earlier this week.
Lamouret is in India as part of the “Bonjour India” festival and to promote his second book “L’Alcazar”. Its title is derived from the name of a residential building in Bengaluru.
“The Alcazar” is the portrait of a city, its inhabitants, its underside. They are construction workers or, as Lamouret puts it, “invisible people”.
Bengaluru, as India’s frame of reference, caught Lamouret’s attention when he was working in the city as a teacher at a design school from 2013 to 2018. In his free time, he would walk around the neighborhood , was meeting people and striking up a conversation with the help of his friend and Hindi “thoda thoda” which he learned while in India.
“There is chaos all around us. How to give it meaning? Graphic illustrations allow me to organize this chaos. This medium gives me the freedom to sniff out the things that have been kept away from us and to ‘visibilize’ the invisible,” says Lamouret, who draws inspiration from real people.
His first graphic novel was also about Bengaluru. It was titled “Bangalore”, an anecdotal story about the changing city.
“I try to become a graphic novelist, trying to recreate something plausible,” says the French illustrator, who has an eye for detail, ear to the ground and knows where to draw the line. These days he is working on his third book.
In “The Alcazar” there is a vivid interplay of orange and blue – “the two colors that represent Bangalore”. And Chandīgarh? “Green and red”, quips Lamouret. Green, we understand. But red? Leave it open to interpretation.