Annabelle Verhoye

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What inspires you?

She has that look. You know it. So pretty, she's ugly. So ugly, she's pretty. The ambivalence and double-sidedness of beauty has been the keynote to my art. The perfection of my models is clearly artificial. They seem flawless and arouse fascination through perfection, thus idealizing and elevating attractive female figures. Beauty becomes absolute.

Are you interested in fashion?

Yes. The combination of sex appeal with luxury, elegance and romance are very attractive to me in fashion. The work of many of today's top designers is extremely captivating, and it influences my artwork. Fashion is one aspect of our culture that transcends the time in which it is made and also encapsulates it for us today.

Describe your work.

My approach and technique are closer to the realms of fine art than most typical illustrations. I try to produce the kind of images that stop you in your tracks, hold your attention, and prevent you turning the page. My goal is to deliver a piece that is beautiful and distinctive, and which is so congruent with the essence of the p-oject that it manifestly advances its cause.

Which media and techniques do you use?

Chinecolle, which combines delicate layers and precious webs of delightfully patterned Chinese and Japanese rice paper with a sophisticated line drawing. Each layer is scanned individually and further amalgamated in Photoshop.

I also work in a combination of spray paint and acrylics on Plexiglas. My paintings evoke seventeenth-century Japanese scrolls with their clean, smooth lines and often sensual figures. Inspired by Europe's stained-glass windows, I pour and layer the paint on the back of the Plexiglas, giving the work a clean elegance. Nothing is accidental or spontaneous in this process, as I am meticulous in the creation.

What, for you, makes a successful fashion illustration?

The drawing of the human figure is the most crucial aspect of a piece. The figure should be rendered in its aliveness and humanity, and dealt with more directly and on a higher level of thoughtfulness. Outstanding art is achieved through a defined personal vision,

What artistic training have yon undertaken?

M FA at School of Visual Arts, New York. BFA diploma in Design at Professional College, Düsseldorf, Germany.

If you could give one piece of advice to a student, what would it he?

Develop your own body of work. Put together a portfolio that illustrates your own personality and the type of work that excites you. The keyword here is passion. When your work focuses on something deeply felt and earnestly expressed, it will naturally convey its importance and find a home. It will create a powerful connection and become true and compelling for others. Be true to yourself.

Describe yourself and your greatest achievements.

In lieu of fame and fortune, I have become aware of how hard-driving and disciplined today's successful artists are. In order to make it in the highly competitive and talented world of illustration, one needs to be passionate, hard-working, disciplined and persistent. Shortly before graduating, I was honoured to receive my first commission: an illustration for The New Yorker. My work has been honoured with numerous awards and exhibitions at BMW (New York), Thomas Werner Gallery (New York), The Society of Illustrators, American illustration and La Samaritaine (Paris), just to name a few. I have also had the honour of working for the Walt Disney Company on a tote-bag design. My artwork has been chosen for the labels of Bonny Doon Vineyard, Santa Cruz.

Japanese Fashion Illustration

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