Malika Favre monograph – review

Introduction by Garrick Webster

Published by Counter-Print

Review by Derek Brazell

The cover of the sumptuous new monograph on Malika Favre is a perfect summation of her oeuvre – a luscious mouth with the addition of a beauty spot above the upper lip; Favre’s sensous viewpoint with a little twist. Both mouth and spot are laser cut from the substantial book cover, definitely a statement that this is a quality publication.

With an instant directness to her images, enhanced by visual sleights, Favre has hit the radar of all those who appreciate a certain cool detachment in an illustration. The choice of a limited palette keeps the image focus on shape and composition, allowing for layers of interpretation to be built into the illustration. In the introduction Malika talks about how she pared her approach down over the years, so that now her images look like ‘they happened in a second’.

Although her illustration work is commissioned to represent glamour, style and high end life style, Malika brings a certain knowing distance to the life on show. The viewer is held away from what is being represented in the image. This effective approach allows her to bring in more political and social reflections to editorial commissions – creating a surface that also alludes to depth.

The book is divided into sections, covering Women, Travel, Geometry, Erotica and more, with each section introduction by Malika describing her thoughts on this area in terms of subject matter and visual approach. They are a usefully insightful, covering the influence of film and artist Bridget Riley, being pushed out her comfort zone, the role of erotica in her work and the sense of power that developed along with her New Yorker magazine covers.

Striving for simplicity can appear easy; but of course, it requires skill – something that Malika has an abundance of – all conveyed in her apparently effortless, yet impactful illustrations.

Further reading Business Insights: Malika talks Business for the AOI here. “I create a yearly Excel file for projects and budgets, and have a monthly average that I keep an eye on. I don’t budget for holiday, sickness specifically, etc… but I keep an eye on things to make sure I am ok. It is again something that comes with experience. It is important to know how much do you need to live and not be anxious about going to the pub with friends, but it is also important not to obsess about money once you have reached a position that allows you to live comfortably.”

20th November 2019

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