Jules Magistry wants to “feed” masculinity through his colorful drawings

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When Jules Magistry talks about his influences, it might not be surprising to hear that he is inspired by the comics, video games, skateboarding and films of Gregg Araki. Most imperative, however, are its references to boys, men and “visions of masculinity.”

A subject particularly present today – given the rise of social networks and the influx of immediate communication – Jules hopes to draw his own version of masculinity through his illustrations. As such, Jules draws on pop culture, identity, and adolescence, reflecting on his own experiences and ultimately creating a “nurtured” version of masculinity. Below, we caught up with Jules to take stock of his most recent sketchy and gorgeous illustration work.

Where are you from and how did you come to illustration?

I grew up in the suburbs close to Paris, not too far but not so close. It was like an American suburb with all the same houses and the same gardens, the same parents and the same cars. The area I grew up in changed so much because Disneyland had just arrived, so everyone was working for Disney, and all the fields became suburban homes and big malls. It affected me a lot and brought me closer to American culture in my imagination.

I also grew up as a gay kid in a very closed small town, but that started to change when I graduated from high school. However, this was not enough; I moved to Paris to study graphic design to reassure my parents that it seemed like a better way to make money. I graduated three years later in 2013 and presented an illustration book with barely any graphic design work inside (haha). I started to do internships in publishing houses because I wanted to be close to illustration and books. It didn’t last long because I didn’t want to work on layouts on Indesign – all that kind of stuff – I just wanted to draw.

So I got a lot of odd jobs and started working hard on my designs. One day, it clicked in my head: the colors, the characters, the tools – everything. It was around 2016. And then I published a few things here and there, and I created my first published book Teenage Apocalypse 4 (in homage to Gregg Araki) in 2019, presenting it at the Paris Ass Book Fair at the Palais de Tokyo. I had the chance to meet other queer artists there and really show my work. And then in 2020, Versace called me, and I created designs for them. It was a dream come true, and I’ve been working on new things since then.



© Jules Magistère

© Jules Magistère



© Jules Magistère

What are your influences ?

I have to say, mostly boys and men. Instagram is a horrible and beautiful place for both that kind of inspiration, but there are still some obscure Tumblr references that I love with cool guy mood boards and somehow brutalist architecture with that. So yeah, guys.

Visions of masculinity are changing so much these days, and so are the issues around it. It’s exhilarating! For example, I have already drawn Yann Horowitz three times, a pro queer skateboarder whom I adore. The subjects, for me anyway, are often guys, adolescence, the suburbs, violence and queerness. But I get a lot of my inspiration from movies and TV shows, photography, actors, costumes and colors! I mean, I can’t get enough of Gregg Araki, Edward Scissorhands or Heathers. And at the same time, great new shows are appearing like We Are Who We Are by Luca Guadagnino.

I try to mix everything with my great geek culture. That includes comics and video games, which is a tough world to follow, but there is so much interesting work involved. X-men comics are always very political, the French comic industry is always full of incredible new artists and independent video games are always inventing a new way of telling stories. For so long, I couldn’t find any stories that mixed good queer characters and geek / video game culture, so I tried to start drawing her. Finally, the fashion industry and magazines like Interview and ID remain good references for work.

Sketchbook © Jules Magistry



Sketchbook © Jules Magistry

Sketchbook © Jules Magistry



Sketchbook © Jules Magistry

Sketchbook © Jules Magistry



Sketchbook © Jules Magistry

Can you tell us about your process?

I’m trying to identify the overall color palette I’m going to use, almost like I’m using paint, but they’re all colored pencils! So I find the main colors and all the nuances I could add. I try not to create too many sketches before the final drawing, to avoid it being static – I also like to keep mistakes. I love them. And I work, again, as if I were using paint by putting colors here and there, one on top of the other, changing one by adding new tones.

I can’t erase anything with my colored pencil technique, so changing something just add or put a new color on top of another and press hard on the pencil. I like the “no fix” process. This is the nicest part of the drawing – my idea of ​​colors frames everything in my work. I mainly work on books by Leporello, so in the end all the drawings create a continuity, one story at a time.

Can you choose some recent works and tell us about them?

The first is part of a series of drawings that I start on queer love scenes in the cinema. I just finished the campfire scene in My Own Private Idaho, a movie that I can watch over and over again. The scene breaks my heart every time, and River and Keanu, I mean, I think I’ve drawn Keanu Reeves almost ten times in addition to this scene. I am therefore quite proud to have finished the scene and to have found the right colors for the atmosphere; it is melancholy but warm. It’s also close to my heart, so seeing my small version of it is like having a collectible action figure or by-product from the movie for me.

The second is taken from the pages of the logbook that I started during my residency at La Villa Noailles with the artists Jean Claracq and Paul Rousteau. I didn’t want to forget any of those incredible moments. It was a dream summer with them! So I wrote things down and drew a lot of the moments that I loved. For example, there is a photo of the sunrise that we watched together; we woke up at 4:30 am just to watch it. We went to the beach with our motorbike, the colors were stunning and everything was perfect! The last one is the Gayletter cover that I recreated, the one with Frank Ocean on it. It’s special to me because I love Frank Ocean and because it was my first time trying to work with oversize and oil pastels. Love the messy rendering I got. Starting a new technique is always scary and exciting, so it’s one of my favorites (and I love this bruise).

© Jules Magistère



© Jules Magistère

© Jules Magistère



© Jules Magistère

What messages are you trying to convey through your work?

I don’t think of any audience when I draw; I do it for myself. Like I said before, it’s like something is missing, like a toy that I can see but doesn’t exist yet – the things I love from the mainstream culture. But I have to make it my own, and if I can make it more gay, even better!

Sometimes I think of my teenage self most of the time, and sometimes it’s my self angry with the world that needs to cause a nuclear blast or two to release that anger. But at the same time, I want to share messages and stories. My point is to talk about violence against young people, what it creates in identity, how we nurture the culture of toxic masculinity, how we have to find new representations of men. I would love to do it with drawings and books! I think, for now, I want to start reaching the people I want.

I’ve started a series of workshops with college students over the past few months – these were workshops on pop culture, identity, violence, and adolescence, all of that. I feel useful, and it’s like I created my own Glee Club. I will be able to exhibit more next year, and so these kinds of discussions and actions will increase. But I think my best way to do it in the future will be through graphic novels.

© Jules Magistère



© Jules Magistère

© Jules Magistère



© Jules Magistère

What’s in the pipeline?

I have three shows coming up. One in December at Atelier Quintal in Paris with other artists (Lisa Mouchet, Elsa Dray-Farges, Laura Ottone and Elie Martens), and we all work around the theme of flowers – simple but effective. We will also create a special edition (a small book) with other designs.

I also have another show in Paris in February, and for this one I will continue to create queer and gay love scenes in movie history. It will be a lot of work, but I want to create a huge Leporello, a huge Frieze and find a way to use the comic codes in a new way.

The last one will take place in Lausanne, Switzerland, and it is a collective exhibition at the Olympic Museum on skateboarding. I’m excited about this one as well, as I will be able to select and draw some of my favorite queer skateboarders, beautiful, talented and inspiring people. Hope this gives them a good place to be represented and inspire others! I am also still working on my graphic novel but I need to find a publishing house.


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