Would you be surprised if I’d tell you how stressed I can be since I’m a grown-up ? Especially when I have so many things to do that it feels like I’m doing nothing but running a race all day. I’m sure you wouldn’t ’cause you probably have experienced that feeling too.
That’s Modern Life, they say.
A life you need to live fully and intensely. A life where you have to work like a dog all week and then enjoy your weekend and holidays like they were your last days on earth (which, actually, could be true if you work really hard but that’s not the point). But more than enjoying your free time, you need to share it to the whole world to make it “count”.
We all know how overconnected the human kind became. Media love talking about our cyberaddiction (especially about how dangerous it is and how cursed we all are). We know it, they know it but does anything change ? Not at all. The social pressure is probably way too strong and the comfort of living with and through a smartphone hard to give up. Same with our holidays around the world, all these pretty things we buy to feel better about our crappy life and this capitalist’s idea that work defines people.
Of course, blaming people doesn’t work. At all. Never does. But one good way to make people think about this nonsense they call “Modern Life” is to make them laugh about it… And I’d like to think that was the purpose of Jean Jullien’s book, precisely called Modern Life. I actually believe I got it right since JJ himself defines his work as “a form of graphic journalism”, explaining that he tries to understand the world “by documenting it an theorising it with humour and humility”.
Who is Jean Jullien ?
If like me you had never heard of Jean Jullien before, you might like to know that he is a French graphic artist currently living in London. He does not only draw but also works with photography, videos, costumes, installations and clothes which makes his work really diversified but nonetheless still consistent.
You can have a glimpse of what he does and what he looks like in this video :
What about Modern Life ?
Modern Life is divided in two parts, the “Modern Life” part, full of funny (and sometimes crazy) “stories” about the world we live in and the “The artist in the world” part, where he shows how creativity is truly everywhere if you want it to be, by using objects as part of his art work.
Even if the book is in English, everyone (at least in the Western world) can relate to his stories, often relayed in only one drawing and without any words… Indeed, as Jesse Eisenberg wrote in his foreword, JJ is “funier without words than most are with”.
Published a few month ago by teNeues, a German book publisher specialised in in the areas of photography, design, lifestyle, and travel, Modern Life is a coffee table book you like having in your library and definitely a great Christmas’ gift idea !
Here you can find some pieces of art I liked a lot :