Interview With Designer/Animator Jacques KhouriDavid 09.16.2013
Our friend and collaborator Jacques Khouri is an artist of many talents. I spoke with him recently about his blog ijotalot.com, which features Jacques own book cover designs based on classic works of literature.
David Queen: What first inspired you to merge classic literature and design? Have you always considered yourself a literary minded person?
Jacques Khouri: Well I got the idea of doing redesigns of classic literature because every time I would go to a bookstore, out of the multiple editions of those book publications, only a select few were actually well designed. Most of them looked pretty bad and uninteresting. The covers did not compliment or sell the content. I’m not a literary person at all and for years I’ve been meaning to read some of these stories, so I decided that designing the covers would be a good incentive/motivation to read and study them.
DQ: What have you taken away from your experiences at Comic Con and the MoCCA Arts Fest?
JK: MoCCA was great! It’s a good place to meet people who like to read and admire good visual work. Comic Con was a little tougher because the general populace that go to the bigger conventions tend to be more into contemporary pop commercial work and less into small press indie stuff. However it was still a good experience and I did meet some great admirers of art.
DQ: I really love the look and use of the postcards. They seem to pair nicely with the classical literary themes of the work…what was it that drew you to that format?
JK: Well the first was pricing; postcards are cheaper to produce and distribute then most other mediums. Also, I like the format. They’re small, compact, and have the feeling of a mini poster. Plus, they are easily sharable. But the most important aspect of the postcard is that it’s a format that people use to share their journeys, and voyages to their loved ones. And I want/hope people see these classic stories as an experience they want to share with others!
DQ: What are some classic books/stories you’d like to do in the future?
JK: Right now I’m working on my comic Inconsequential which i’m hoping to release the first couple of chapters at the next MOCCA but don’t hold me to it! Other things in development are postcards on H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine and maybe The Great Gatsby, as well as the short story on Humpty Dumpty. Later, I also want to do one on Edgar Allan Poe, and more Shakespeare. So many to do…
DQ: I’m assuming you do your own distribution…are there any tips/recommendations you can pass on to artists looking to self-distribute their own work?
JK: Well distribution is the hardest aspect for me I have to admit. The post offices and delivery services are getting understandably more and more expensive and it’s definitely a problem for sales. I favor conventional sales and I am currently thinking of trying to sell my postcard through small local bookstores, comic book stores, or souvenir shops. Some advice though for self-distribution would be to promote the hell out of your work and use everyone and every method of social media to do so. It is the hardest aspect, getting people to see your stuff!
Animator, director, and occasional teacher, Jacques was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. Currently, Jacques works as a freelance animator/designer in New York City. You can check out ijotalot here. To see his portfolio, go to www.jackkhouri.com.