Séverin Millet in The New Yorker, and beyond

Severin Millet Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor

In my last post, well leaving aside my birthday shenanigans, I shared that I came upon illustrator Jorge Arevalo in passing in an October 2012 issue of The New Yorker. Well the same as happened again in a double (October 29/November 5) issue of The New Yorker, and the same section too, the Goings On About Town. This time the illustrator is Séverin Millet.

This image is of singer and musician Regina Spektor. You may already be familiar with her but if not there is much detail about her on her own website which I provide a link to the chase, that is her music,  but basically all you need to know is that she is the niece of Phil Spector but in a rebellious gesture due to his treatment of her Aunt Ronnie she changed her name, just enough so that you would notice but not enough too that you would not forget that she was family.

Okay so perhaps Ronnie Spector never wore Regina’s mother’s jeans let alone had the same blue genes but a spectral heir makes a better story than a near name-sake.

What certainly is not made up is that the Séverin here is the one Lou Reed wrote about in Venus in Furs, a 1967 Velvet Underground musing.

Severin, Severin, speak so slightly
Severin, down on your bended knee
Taste the whip, in love not given lightly
Taste the whip, now bleed for me

Despite pre-dating his birth by a whole ten years. Spooky indeed. At least this is what the website Tricksy Pedia has been feeding me. I would give you its URL but it never remains the same for more than sixty seconds.

Millet’s website though is more anchored. Below a Wikipedia snippet.

Severin Millet Wikipedia bio snippet

There is a larger cv about him than there was for Arevalo – it is a long list and includes Le Monde and Libération among many others.

Home Page o fSéverin MilletAbove is the current home-page. Striking.

I cannot recreate a scrolling effect here but if you do scroll down these works then reveal.

Home Page Séverin Millet

If you click on any of these images more images are then revealed, and some times text too. I am going to concentrate on just one image by way of giving you a flavour.

But before I do that a few other bits of business as it were you might be interested in.

If you like enough his work to the extent that you would pay to own it then there is a store on his site of his work. Well some of it. But is there no greater love than to own the object of your love? A little rhetorical question for you to take away with you.

Also in passing I noted from his own blog one of the above featured works (for a Book Festival in Saint Etienne) has been shown in common-place street settings.

Severin Millet Fete du Livre

Fête du livre de Sainte Étienne – on Tram


Fête du livre de Sainte Étienne Bus Stop

Fête du livre de Sainte Étienne – at Bus Stop

That is a fine way to have your art displayed is it not? Although if my eyes are not deceiving me there is already a tare showing on the bus-shelter display, either by a heathen vandal or the cruel indifference of nature…

Severin Millet OuSo finally moving on. This is the image that I clicked on to reveal the images and works below.

The one that most caught my eye, halted me in my browsing, caused me to stop a little longer was in turn the one below.

What is going on there? The background is purple so clearly they are outside, the purple rain having subsided. I have a feeling they are watching golf, how about you? If the man wearing the tartan flat-cap  does not suggest that then the brimming-with-content woman with the tortoise on her head certainly does. As one man is cart-wheeling with perhaps the fleeting rush of having won a wager they  could be at the races I guess.Ou Severin MIllet

These images are very busy. Overspilling with meaning? Or just busy? They certainly merit a number of revisits.

Shelves - Séverin MilletShelving might suggest organisation yet the contents seem very haphazard – suggesting chaos as much as tidiness.

Séverin MilletThis next merits the word lovely but lovely as such pejorative connotations alas. But look a bit closer and perspective is askew. These flowers are Triffid type giant size or these people hale from Lilliput, Blefuscu and its parts. There is menace too, paradise about to be troubled?

These are the final two featured works. I will leave them for your own thoughts to first form. And because well I don’t know what to make of them.

Séverin Millet - 2 worksI do not know what the meanings are in general and have been thought-doodling. But part of me does not want to know.

Like listening to Arias sung in Italian and you do not know Italian and they sound other-wordly, exotic even, perhaps profound but when rendered understood in your own mother tongue the words may reveal as clunky and the meaning prosaic.

Revelation dissolves. Mystery preserves.

Jorge Arevalo in The New Yorker, and beyond

Jorge Arevalo Illustration of Audrey Tauto France

Audrey Tautou

I came upon Jorge Arevalo, well I nearly passed him by. If you read or have ever read The New Yorker then you will know that in amongst the endless words which you pretend you are swimming with but have long-since drowned, in amongst all these words are occasional pictures and photographs of which to serve as some relief from those words but are as often and quite rightly demanding our attention too. I must admit I usually but glance at them eager enough to keep up with those words but on this occasion I was distracted enough by an illustration to decide to explore its creator’s work further.

This particular issue was the October 22, 2012 one and the illustration in question was not even attached to a written piece but in the Goings On About Town which I usually rush through as not actually best placed to gad about New York what with being on the other side of the Atlantic and all. More particularly it was in the Movies Opening section illustrating ‘Nobody Walks‘.

Nobody Walks Jorge Arevaldo IllustrationWith the web an easy enough task to delve deeper and or wade wider and his own website  was quickly stumbled upon. It greets us with a photograph of the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr and Dean Martin). Clicking on we see his illustrations. There is not much detail on his website and perhaps there does not need to be.

His site does detail his clients, the list is not that long but again perhaps it does not need to be including as it does in addition to the aforementioned New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone.

He has a number of books published of his portraits and illustrations too – I am not going to detail them as I have enough to gabble on about here. But if you like what you see here and want more of his work then there are links to his publications on his site too.

Juliette Binoche by Jorge Arevalo

Juliette Binoche

I’ve not included all the photos as what would be point of that when you can visit his site on his own terms and what-have-you, but instead a list of those not featured here who you may want to see illustrated in this fashion – Kate Moss with and without Pete Docherty, Chet Baker, Kate Hudson, Sasha Grey, Martin Scorsese, Lady Antebellum, James Franco, Kanye West, Jonas Brothers, Garrincha, Jane Reno, Jackie Kennedy, James Brolin, Elijah Wood, Chloe Sevigny, Pharrell Williams, Grace Coddington, Stacy Peralta and Alexander McQueen. A lot. Or enough.

Meryl Streep by Jorge Arevalo

Meryl Streep

Miles Davis by Jorge Arevalo

Miles Davis

The ones I have included I have kept my responses, bubbles of thought to a minimum  –  as I’m not you and you’re not obviously me therefore and it follows you will respond in your own unique way so I don’t think you are much interested in my view overmuch. We are all narcissists together on the world wide web after all. But anyway bravely, foolishly I include a few of my thoughts in words however invisible they may be to you between Arevalo’s portraiture.

Amy Winehouse by Jorge Arevalo

Amy Winehouse

Disgracefully I have never written about Amy Winehouse – her music, her voice, her life – what’s that about (?) but then I read your blogs dear subbers and you’ve not written about her either – what really is up with that?

I like the unfussy statement of Arevalo’s portraits. A kind of a doodle but super-charged in full colours.

Mad Men by Jorge Arevalo

Mad Men – y’know those Ad Men

Mad Men by Jorge Arevalo
More mad men…

Mad Men by Jorge Arevaldo
Mad Women…

His time frame stretches from Dean Martin to Miley Cyrus, the young at heart Dean to the old head on young shoulders Miley …

This picture of the Olsen Twins captures their innate spookiness well I feel.

The Olsen Twins by Jorge Arevalo

The Olsen Twins

The next of the singular time-defying Grace Jones and it looks like she is singing I’ve Seen that Face before!?!

Grace Jones by Jorge Arevalo

Grace Jones

Some of his illustrations are a bit more busy but no less bold.

The Black-Eyed Peas by Jorge Arevalo

The Black Eyed Peas

Charlotte Casiraghi by Jorge Arevalo
Charlotte Casiraghi, some minor European Royal

So if this has wetted your appetite, piqued your curiosity, stirred wonder in your hearts…you know what to do.