Hervé Tullet tells Varoom about how his book art is created for interactive play in the No Narrative issue. In this extract he talks about his background and how his work is driven by elementary ideas.
As a young student at art school, I was first drawn to advertising. I felt that it was such a creative field at the time, in the 1980s. Working as an art director gave me a lot – an understanding of the power of simple design and ideas to convey a clear message and the importance of standing out, for instance. However, my real vocation came later, when I was around 35 years old: I left my work in advertising to become an illustrator just after my first child was born and discovered through parenting how unexplored the field of ‘youth literature’ was.
I now think of myself as a book-artist. My books are installations, displays, that launch an interactive reading experience, a dialogue between a child and a parent. During this shared moment between an adult who knows how to read and a child who does not, both of them have the right to speak, to interact and thus create a unique moment of conversation each time they turn the pages.
All my work is about ideas. Simple ideas. The game of sculpture is a book of interlocking pieces that you can transform into a sculpture. The game of light is not a finished book on its own – you need to use a flashlight in the dark to tell your own stories… I’m always looking for new ideas, all day, everywhere, and especially where people are not looking for ideas for children. Contemporary art, blues and jazz, dance, architecture…
The visual alphabet I use made of points, scribbles and dots may be abstract but my books are talking about real tangible things.
Hervé Tullet is published by Phaidon
See the full piece in Varoom 41