Rebel Rebel

“Rebel Rebel”
a drawing of an eroded poster.
Coloured pencils, 250 x 300 mm. March 2018

As I take one step after another on the journey towards my goal – a gallery filled with Paris drawings – I never know what the next addition to the exhibition will be.  It is often the last completed drawing which steers me towards my next piece.

The last completed drawing before “Rebel Rebel” was “Still Life”.

It is obvious how “Still Life” (a grungy Beaubourg urban-scape) metaphorically took my arm and drew my attention to a tattered poster I’d photographed when last in Paris.

This is my source photo for the drawing.

Looking at the drawing “Rebel Rebel” (the title I gave it is from a David Bowie song) I am mindful of Russian Constructivist posters from the 1920s and 30s.  I also think of the pop art of Roy Lichtenstein, romantic heroines of film and literature, as well as the white face and black hair of both mime artists and geisha.

I wouldn’t have made a drawing of a flawless poster.  What appealed to me was the texture and randomness of decay – and –  the fact that this caught my eye in the first place.  The tattered ripped subject is simultaneously beautiful and ugly; eye-catching and something to be ignored.  These dualities fascinate me!

“Rebel Rebel, you’ve torn your dress/Rebel Rebel, your face is a mess/Rebel Rebel, how could they know?/Hot Tramp, I love you so!”

Today I found an image on-line of the poster as its complete self.  If you google images of Fédération Anarchiste you’ll see that all their posters have gorgeous designs and are clearly influenced by the political art of the Constructivists [an artistic movement that extolled art as a practice for social purposes].

How the poster would have looked once upon a time.

La Fédération Anarchiste

You may like to read Subject 4: Street Art while you’re here.


13 thoughts on “Rebel Rebel

  1. Tamara Culp

    I’ve never been to Paris but what a great feel for it I’m getting from your paintings! You are helping me to think about my own photographs in a different way. I tell photographers that I don’t want their perfect shots to use as a reference since I can make them whatever I want. However, my own photographs were taken before I ever began my journey with colored pencils and I’m inclined to look at them with a photographer’s dismissive eye instead of as an artist looking for an interesting element with which to tell a story. I need to apply my rules to my own work! Your exhibit is going to be captivating.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Tamara, thanks for your insightful and self-questioning words. You’re right – that a photo is just the starting point. What one is looking for is something which ignites a spark of inspiration. It certainly doesn’t have to be a perfect photo (if there is such a thing). If you can find a hint of poetry to attach yourself to, that’s what you want to concentrate on. What I mean is, does the image set off an emotion that you’d like to work with – even with its faults? In any case, the faults in the photo can be rectified or omitted in the drawing. I’m very glad you got in touch!

  2. rhodjoy

    Once again, fascinating commentary, Julie. Love those old posters. This exhibition is going to be absolutely mesmerising I imagine, never having been to Paris sadly, really look forward to the experience. There’s something so “French” about your particular style with these images as well, almost impressionistic with your beautiful flowers. Greatly looking forward to seeing your work again.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Joy, you are a treasure and I love your comments. You may never have been to Paris but you’ll certainly be there at Early Work Gallery in South Fremantle in September…just as you ‘came to Kyoto’ two years ago.
      It’s funny but I don’t ‘connect’ to many places the way I connect to Paris in an art way. For instance I love being in London more than Paris – and yet I have no inclination to draw it. I think it is the elegance of Paris that I adore; similarly the elegance of Kyoto.
      See you in September!!

  3. anna warren portfolio

    As I read your words above, I was thinking YES, YES, YES, to each of your perceived connections. It has echoes of all of them. The strength of black, red and white is always powerful, but the delicate nuances of colour in the wall enhance the overall image too. Interesting to see a complete version of the original poster – how appropriate to the concerns of today it still is! I do like your source photo too – the sweep of the graffiti on the wall balancing with the poster. This is going to be a good exhibition …

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Black, red and white – they really are powerful.
      I must admit finding it humorous that this pin-up face for an anarchistic message is superbly made-up. She is one High Fashion rebel. She reminds me of the character of Linda in Nancy Mitford’s “Love in a Cold Climate”. Have you read that yet? I know I’ve raved about it in the past. It is so good that it should be compulsory reading for the world.

      1. juliepodstolski Post author

        There you go – my own bias showing that a rebel should be grungy. I should know better, especially when I’ve read the biographies of the Mitford sisters, most of who were rebellious and thoroughly stylish at the same time.

  4. Suzanne

    Hi Julie, I love your Paris works, particularly the torn posters and graffiti. It shows that we can find interest and beauty in the most unlikely of places. I am a Brit, and having visited Paris I can see why it has captured your imagination. I should be loyal to London, but for some reason it doesn’t compel me to draw it either. You are an inspiration to me. Thank you…

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Suzanne, my theory about cities is that they are either masculine or feminine in character. I only like drawing cities that I perceive as feminine.

      Even the street art that I choose to make drawings from is feminine – at least it always has some elegance. While I might enjoy a bit of ugly street art now and then (especially if it is humorous) I don’t want to draw it.

      I had a ball hunting out street art in Shoreditch when I was in London for a month a few years back. I took so many photos but never made one drawing (though I did do a photographic post). Let’s see if I can find it…

      Thank you so much for getting in touch, Suzanne. I love your message.

      1. Suzanne

        Fantastic Julie! Thank you for redirecting me your Shoreditch photos – I love the humour in these. I do like to see Street Art if it is authorised. I really don’t think I could produce any art of a mural size, I like including details so it would take me a lifetime to finish! However, I am endeavouring to loosen up my style when I start my next project…but it won’t be on a wall (not an external one at any rate!)

        London as masculine and Paris as feminine…I totally get that, although I couldn’t explain why, just a feeling in the gut. I think we are on the same wavelength.

        Your reply was much appreciated. Thanks again for sharing, I always look forward to an update on your blog.

      2. juliepodstolski Post author

        As you live in London, you might enjoy a walk around Shoreditch, Suzanne. Mind you, it was 2013 when I took those photos. It could be different now. For instance there was way more street art to see when I started going to Paris than I can find these days. Policing of it must be more rigorous these days.
        All the best with your next project!!

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