Interviewer: Hello, ladies and gentlemen, today we have a graphic designer in the house, please welcome Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec! Thank you for taking some time off from your busy schedule to be here with us tonight!
Lautrec: Good Evening everyone, it’s my pleasure to be here!
Interviewer: So, as most of us already know you worked as an artist and a graphic designer during the Art Nouveau in France. Could you tell us a little bit about your background and your career as an artist in the 1890’s?
Lautrec: Yes, for sure. Living in the Montmartre of Paris I was constantly surrounded by scenes and artists that inspired my works. Rather than themes of historic revivals, I was always more interested in the visuals of the urban life. As the idea of nightlife and cafes grew popular in France, I often found myself at cabarets, cafes, and restaurants, where I found aspiration for my works. I love to capture alluring scenes of the nightlife.
Interviewer: Great, Thank you, I noticed that you focused greatly on depicting scenes of the cabaret. Looking at your posters, I can feel the captivating energy of the cabaret dancers. So, I’d like to ask about your specific artwork titled, Mademoiselle Eglantine’s Troupe.
Lautrec: Mademoiselle Eglantine’s Troupe was a poster design that was commissioned by my good friend and an amazing cabaret dancer, Jean Avril. It was used to advertise a cabaret tour of Mademoiselle Eglantine’s Troupe in Britain.
Interviewer: What was the process of creating this poster?
Lautrec: First of all, as I experienced the Eglantine’s Troupe’s cabaret myself, I drew rough sketches on paper capturing the movement and energy of the dancers. After, I transformed the sketches into a lithograph print.
Interviewer: Speaking of lithography techniques, could you tell us more about your style? What inspired you to create this poster?
Lautrec: I was greatly inspired by Japanese woodblock prints as they focus greatly on forms and movement. Japanese art at the time dealt with ideas of playful erotism and depicting women as visualized and somewhat sexualized figure. The themes of Japanese art correlate greatly with my ideas, so it was very inspiring to me. I was especially inspired by their use of negative space, black contour lines and unusual perspectives in Ukiyo-e art.
Interviewer: Very interesting, And what was your main goal in designing this poster?
Lautrec: As this poster was an advertisement for the cabaret, it was a requirement to be able to catch the attention of people on the streets. I believed the method of color lithography would be very suitable for it. I purposely chose colors such as yellow and orange to draw people’s eyes. The delvelopment of color lithography allowed for the poster to be mass produced and plastered through streets of Paris.
Interviewer: Did it reach your original intentions?
Lautrec: I believe that this specific poster reached its intention of accurately depicting the women on a cabaret stage. As I chose to use organic lines, freedom of movement, I tried my best to capture the beauty the dancers.
Interviewer: Why do you think your work was so successful as an advertisement for the cabaret?
Lautrec: Rather than portraying a fictitious characters, I chose to depict real-life individuals. This way, I was able to give the viewers an accurate graphic glimpse of the Belle Epoque era.
Interviewer: Thank you, your poster design is very beautiful and it was such an honor to be able to discuss your work today. Thank you very much, again for your time.
Lautrec: No problem, it has been my pleasure to be able to share my work with you today.