“Karl Lagerfeld seemed shallow when I started working for him. But he ended up showing me otherwise and, eventually, we became friends.” Philippe Boonen is not a fashionista illustrator even though Chanel, Dior and Sonia Rykiel support his work. The history of this Belgian painter is written in Provence, Paris and Barcelona, the city where he settled down for love, and where he combines his duties as a parent with sleepless nights in his art studio. “I love to unleash my paint brush with loud music on the stereo.” You might also catch him singing Rock, his other great passion.
Where does your devotion for illustration come?
Drawing and painting has always been a necessity. When I was five, my parents could only calm me down by giving me a pen and paper…
How did you learn to draw?
I’m self taught. In my teens I painted murals in several bars of Aix en Provence. That was my school! I also studied drama in Paris.
What inspires you?
Women. I think they are the stronger sex.
You draw fashion items, children, animals… What is your favourite subject?
All of them! I like to guess what’s in the minds of my clients and paint depending on what thought pop up in my head. Art helps me to put myself in the shoes of others.
What was the first picture you sold?
A cartoon for a magazine in Provence. I was only 15.
When you get an order, do they give you carte blanche?
I always try to make my paintings reflect my client, but still remain true to myself.
What are your rules?
What is the hardest part of your profession?
Finding simplicity in all my works.
What is your next project?
A collage-mural for a fashion store and several paintings.
What would you never draw?
You can never say never…
Who is your inspiration?
Rothko and Hopper.
To sing. Favourite band? Radiohead.
Having more time.
What is your next challenge?
Directing a movie.