It's easy to make her laugh, whether you employ dark humour or simply fart with your armpit. As a kid, she didn’t have many friends and she lived in her own bubble, reading a lot. She has the tendency to say "Oh, this is my favourite one!" for a bevy of things. For example, her favourite authors are Baldwin, Kesey, Fante, Faulkner, Dostoïevsky, Camus, and Gary. She acknowledges that human beings are deceitful but "also amazing."
Who is she? Freshly turned 27, Sarah Vignon is a vivacious French illustrator based in Berlin.
In October 2017, she quit what she calls her "zombie job" in Retail Management to become a freelance illustrator. Even if each day is a surprise and/or a struggle, she is so happy to wake up and tell herself, "I am doing what I love, this is my goal," and not "I am working because I have bills to pay and in my free time I will find time to draw." She feeds her brain with music, cinema, and books.
How did I first discover Sarah's art? At Slow Galerie on Rue Jean Pierre Timbaud in Paris. Her work is à la fois whimsical and serious. She says she likes to mix something visually "cute" with a sad or deep thought. This is best demonstrated in her last poster - a simple portrait of a girl with her nose up, jaded - quoting Baldwin. Baldwin's original words were about progress concerning civil rights but are also certainly applicable to the contemporary Me Too movement.
Sarah admits that she is still "overwhelmed" by the last book she read, The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, calling it "a very honest, sharp and universal book about love." As such, it's evident that Sarah is passionate individual. My first Sarah Vignon purchase was a card of a redheaded girl drinking a glass of wine under the stars. I found "Summer Night" very romantic and fun. Sarah asserts, "Letters are romantic, poems are romantic, to pay attention to details is romantic…"
What are some of these details? Keep reading to learn more.
RS: How have your political views shaped your work?
SV: My work is infused by the art I like and the art I like, cinema-speaking, literature-speaking, is infused by political statements. I am so enthusiastic to see how more and more people make their voices louder … There is no small activism. My vision of activism can be resumed by the tale Pierre Rabhi uses in one of his books: the forest is burning, all the animals are running away except a tiny hummingbird who keeps carrying drop after drop of water from the sea to the forest. The other animals ask him, "What are you doing, you crazy! Run away, you will burn before you extinguish the fire with your tiny drops!" And the hummingbird answers, "If everyone carries the water he is capable of, we can do it!"
RS: How does capitalism affect you?
SV: It affects me enough for me to feel the urge to read again The Communist Manifesto from Engels and Marx.
RS: Who are your favourite artists?
SV: I really love a bunch of comic artists: Riad Sattouf, Joann Sfar, Brecht Evens…
I also really like the work of artists I discovered through the galleries I work with (Slow Galerie in Paris and Supalife in Berlin): Palefroi, Cachetejack, Julie Miammiam… the illustrator scene is very active and social networks are a blessing to discover new artists. You should definitely check out the art of Cachetejack; they have simple but very commited posters about feminism, the environment, full of powerful messages and hope.
RS: What do you look for when capturing an image?
SV: I want it to make sense, even double sense!
RS: What's your daily routine?
SV: I like to start my day reading and then doing "computer work" - emails, submissions, workshop preparation, social networks - as I am working from home, I like to go out and sit in a café to do this part, it's easier for me to stay focused. And in the afternoon/evening, I like to draw and work on my projects.
RS: What gets you down?
SV: To be unable to find any inspiration for a drawing is very frustrating! As a person working from home and for myself, I learn slowly how to deal with these "down days" (no inspiration, no project to go on, no answer to an email…)
RS: What kind of spaces do you like to dwell in?
SV: I am definitely an indoor person, I love this feeling of "being home," cosy with books and tea or friends and wine (and food), but I couldn't live without nature! I need green! I love Berlin; it is amazing to live in a capital and still be surrounded by so many green areas. I love to go outside to take breaks, sit close to the river, get rid of my shoes and put my toes in the grass.
RS: How has your relation to nature and environment changed since you moved to Berlin?
SV: Ecology is more central in the daily life here and I get more and more concerned about what I'm eating and consuming. I changed my habits a lot, gave up on all the chemicals in my bathroom and fridge for example.
RS: What is your signature scent?
SV: My scent, the one I like and which defines me for all my surroundings, is the smell of my home: a mix of "papier d'Arménie" and vegetal scent (from my apartment jungle)… I found it as a perfume for me with the cologne from Astier de Villate "Commune de Paris." I love it.
RS: What do you think young artists need?
SV: Young artists need to be fearless, confident, to challenge themselves and make their dream of creation come true. We leave in a society with such an uncertain future in terms of jobs and employment, it is very sad and I am very concerned about it (I do believe in universal income to face the progressive disappearance of most jobs) but on the other hand, our generation has the amazing possibility to re-invent ourselves.
RS: Your first language is French, you live in Berlin so you have to speak German, and you speak in French with your boyfriend and most of your friends.
SV: Language is such an interesting topic for me! I am French, I am used to loud, dynamic discussions where everyone is cutting everyone off. In German, the sentences are built with the verb - so the action - at the very end. So it is just impossible to cut off someone in a conversation, you have to wait if you want to know what your interlocutor speaks about! Just a way to grammatically build sentences changes your culture completely in terms of communication!
RS: Tell us about this tribe you read about that has no left or right / up or down in their language, only the cardinal points.
SV: Do you understand how differently they see, they perceive all the world? They have a permanently global vision of spaces and have to know where is the north and where is the south (and probably a way more accurate relationship to sun-moon-nature as well).
RS: What kind of people do you hang out with?
SV: I really trust my intuition concerning who I hang out with, therefore I do believe I am surrounded only by good persons, very different ones for sure.
Sarah Vignon is definitely a person we want to be friends with.
Sarah just finished a series of drawings for a theatre production and now she is looking for new projects. Get in touch with her if you're an apparel brand that would like to collaborate. She will have new prints out in September and we expect them to be striking and versatile as ever.