Illustrator from Montmartre / HOSSEIN BOROJENI / Interview

In a digital age when photography is more accessible than ever, people seem to have a better appreciation for a unique artistic vision and skill. It is true that photography as an art form has not vanished, but it is also true that cheap snapshots are ubiquitous. Which is why I find illustration extremely valuable today.

And because much of his work is inherently connected with fashion, I must say that in a time when I think that everything in the industry is just too much, too overexposed or too overrated, illustration has the ability to make fashion relevant again, providing a narative and a different point of view about clothes, more efficiently than words and photography can.

It is a great pleasure to have Hossein Borojeni as my guest here.

FPM: Why Illustration? How did you start?

 One day walking in a mall I saw a gift card of Printemps, the big french fashion store. It was illustrated with a wonderful watercolor representing a silhouette of a very elegant girl. The illustration was wonderful so I spent a lot of time watching this gift card. I said two things to myself: I wish to draw as well as this, and I want to make it my life calling! Later I discovered that this illustration was made by the great Aurore de la Morinerie. I was honored to meet her in person and she gave me some amazing advices. 

FPM: What is your earliest drawing memory you have?

 I drew for as long as I remember. When I was a kid, my father who is a great painter used to draw a square on the bottom of his canvas. This was a place where I had the right to paint. We can still see a lot of my father’s paintings of this period with with my scrawls in the corner.

FPM: How would you describe your illustrative style? 

 I think my style of illustration follows the traditional fashion illustration style. It is based on a mix of the beauty of lines and the beauty of models. One of the greatest masters of this kind of illustration was René Gruau. As for me, I am very minimalistic. For me this means I work a lot with the white of the paper. I try to draw as less as possible leting the umpty or the ink stain telling the rest. “Less is more” was my slogan when I was a designer. And this is still my motto in illustration.
Dancing on the bridge for Petits Pas dance studio

FPM: How big a part does hand and digital drawing, respectively, play in your work? Would you ever consider traditional drawing exclusively?

For me, all theses are tools and each tool comes with its part of creativity, but also its limits. To sum it all up, I do not neglect digital tools even if I still prefer the freedom of inks stains.

 FPM: Could you tell me a little about your creative process? 

Brainstorming, quick sketches, benchmark, quick mockup on Photoshop… everything is good to find an idea. As I said in the last question, for me tools are a big source of creativity. If I don’t success to find the good idea with a pen, then I try with a brush. And if still nothing is happening, I try by combining layers on Photoshop. However most of the time I am just inspired by my models. I let my eye see some beautiful lines and than I select and exaggerate them. The creativity is not mine, I just take it.
Cafe de Flore for L’Express Styles
Illustration for Brandalley & Leclerc

FPM: Who and what has influenced and inspired your work?

As I already said, Aurrore de la Morinerie was the biggest influence for me in fashion illustration. I consider her as one of the greatest master of our times. I am also inspirited from other artists like David Downton, Mats Gustafson and Michel Canetti. And last but not least, my father who introduced me to the bases of drawing.

FPM: What has your career highlight been so far?

I think it was the series of projects I did for Lancome and Sonia Rykiel.
Illustration for LANCOME ”La vie est belle” with Julia Roberts

FPM: Do you have a specific working atmosphere you like to surround yourself with when creating?

A bit of good music, a cup of tea and that is it!

 FPM: What qualities separate illustration from photography? I am asking you this because today everybodu thinks they can take a photo with their iPhone.

In illustration you select and draw only the things you want. In photography you have to deal with the reality you have in front of you. You are more powerfull with your pen then you can create what you need out of thin air.
The other thing is that an illustration talks directly to the imagination of the observer, who can also complete, modify and change your creation. So he will create his own picture is his mind. Illustration is much more open than photography. Maybe that’s why kids prefer illustrated books and cartoons rather than books and motion pictures.
My sister & I 🙂 wearing my creations, gallery at Montmartre 2015
Illustration for a cafe guid about Montmartre, TERRASS HOTEL Paris

FPM: How big of a role does fashion play in your work? 

I like to work with fashion because in this field one is in a never-ending research for a beauty. Fashion designers, models and photographers experiment diferents expressions in search for the perfect moment. This moment of beauty moves through times and cultures, but stays a permanent goal. 

Gucci yellow dress

FPM: What is one of your favorite things to do in Paris that you would miss if you lived anywhere else?

A cup of coffee on a terrace. I would miss my neighborhood in Paris, the area of Montmartre which is like a small village.

Detail from the exhibition in Paris
Illustration for a book cover
Portrait of Alessandra Sublet for Elle Magazine
Portrait of Karl Lagerfeld for Elle Magazine
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