MALIKA FAVRE 'Pop Art meets Op Art'

Malika Favre is a French artist based in Barcelona. Her bold, minimal style – often described as Pop Art meets OpArt – is a striking lesson in the use of positive/negative space and colour. Her work always springs from a strong narrative core and is intended to provoke the imagination – with a bit of humour, a touch of sexiness, and a re-imagination of the ordinary.

The governing principle in all of Malika’s work is ‘less is more.’ Malika studied Graphic Design in Paris at the ENSAAMA before moving to the UK in 2004 to pursue her career as an illustrator. She joined the multidisciplinary studio,Airside, in 2006 working as a designer and illustrator and directing animation projects. In 2011, Malika launched her own business as an independent illustrator and artist. Since then, her unmistakable style has established her as one of the UK’s most sought after graphic artists. Malika’s clients include The New Yorker, Montreux Jazz, Apple and Penguin Books, amongst many others After more than a decade living in London, Malika decided to move to Barcelona. In parallel to her career as a commercial illustrator, she continues to develop a body of personal work.

How is your passion for art born?

As a kid, I drew on everything and anything and pretty much all the time. My mum is an artist and had a huge influence on me as a little girl but by the time I was a teenager, an artistic career didn’t seem viable at all. It was the 90’s and unemployment was at a peek and I remember wanting to earn decent money and a stable job. I never felt Art was an option. So I kept drawing as hobby but focused on physics and mathematics. I went on to study engineering for a bit and quickly realised I was never going to be happy doing this as a living.  I left and decided to go to Art school instead to study applied arts at 22, I made my way to London straight after uni and started working as a designer for a small mutlidisciplinary studio called Airside. The rest hapenned very organically and led me to where I am today. If you ask my friends and family now they will all tell you that they always knew I would end up drawing for a living.

How would you describe your work?

I would describe what I do as very colourful, bold and minimalist. I play a lot with negative space, and I really try to pare things down to a minimum. It’s a very graphic approach to illustration, telling a story in the simplest way possible. Using grids and structures allows me to run free later in the process. Another thing that I keep coming back to is Erotica and the female figure. 

Do you have a muse? 

I don’t have a muse as such. I guess women are my ultimate muses. I have drawn so many of them and explored every inch of the female body in my drawings. It remains one of my favourite theme.

What is your relationship with social media?

I love-hate relationship, probably like most artists out there. I find it to be an incredible tool to spread the word and get yourself known but it is a double edge sword. The challenge is to prevent social media to take over your work (and life) entirely. I have slowly reduced the amount of platforms I am active on, focusing mainly on Instagram these days. It is really an amazing tool, when used in moderation. In a way I feel lucky to  have been born in a social media free world. I don’t approach it as an extension of myself but simply a PR tool and a way to connect to people internationally.

What is the most difficult work you have realized and why?

It was probably the Montreux Jazz Poster a did a few years back. The idea came fairly easily but the execution of it was a real challenge. It is always scary to throw yourself into playing with negative space without knowing wether what you have in your head is actually achievable. A part of me loves these difficult projects though. I feel like learn a lot in the process.