French native Malika Favre on life in London and her next big project.

French native Malika Favre on life in London and her next big project.

Malika Favre is a French artist who has lived in London for 13 years. Her work has found its way into culture, capturing a mix of charm and power, including high profile covers for The New Yorker on topics like women in tech which often go viral. This week on June 24th, Malika was invited to create the cover of 'Arab News' to celebrate the end to Saudi Arabia's ban on women driving, and a critical moment for women's rights. We spoke to Malika on creative life in London, inside tips for the city and a new adventure.

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ON WHERE YOU’RE FROM

I grew up in the suburbs of Paris. 

ON WHY YOU MOVED TO LONDON

I came here for the adventure thinking I would stay a year. I never went back.

ON WHERE YOU LIVE IN LONDON

I live in London Fields in East London. I have always lived east somehow. I just love the arty vibe and vibrancy of Hackney.

ON A NEW PHRASE YOU’VE LEARNED IN LONDON

There are so many words that can’t be translated here. “Tantrum” and “good egg” are amongst my favorite words. I find those very charming.

 

Above: ‘The Butterfly Effect’, New Yorker anniversary issue 2018 re-interpreting The New Yorkers first cover of Eustice Tilley as a woman. Below: ‘Coding 101’ cover on the topic of women in tech.

ON YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH LONDON

A passionate one and often a love-hate relationship. London is as incredible as it can be tough and difficult. The good sides outweighed the flaws for 13 years.

ON HOW LONDON HAS INFLUENCED YOUR WORK

London had a huge influence on my work as an illustrator. It made me even. I don’t think I would be where I am today without London and the people I met along the way. There are also a lot of French influences in what I do so I guess my work is a reflection of both places.

A passionate and often a love-hate relationship. London is as incredible as it can be tough and difficult. The good sides outweighed the flaws for 13 years.

ON CREATIVITY AND LIFE ABROAD 

The best thing about leaving your home country is getting out of your comfort zone. You realize how much of yourself and your way of looking at the world comes from your own culture and questioning those can only be a positive thing. It opens you up to other things, people and often make you less judgmental and more open in general.

ON CREATIVE INSPIRATION IN LONDON

When I arrived I used to go out a lot to the barbican, the canal side and walk around shoreditch, go to immersive theatre experiences, exhibitions at the Tate or white cube … Today I leave London to find my inspiration. I go to South america, asia or anywhere else in the world where I can see colours.

 

The cover of Arab News newspaper on June 24th 2018, marking the end to a ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia and a national call to ‘start your engines’.

ON YOUR FAVOURITE LONDON EVENT

Summer is an event in itself. Barbecues, parks, people walking around half naked… summer feels like a festival. This is the best time to be in London.

ON SOMETHING TO KNOW MOVING TO LONDON

That everything is possible here. The city doesn’t work based on who you know and who you are but rather in what your potential is and how ambitious and valid your ideas are. It can be as rewarding as it can be hard. But it is worth it when you have the energy for it. It is not everyone’s “cup of tea”.

Everything is possible here. The city doesn’t work based on who you know and who you are but rather in what your potential is and how ambitious and valid your ideas are.

ON A PROJECT YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT

I am actually moving away from London to Barcelona after 13 years. This is my next big project and I am very excited. London was the perfect place for me to grow and become an artist. Today I can work from anywhere and the sun is calling me.

ON YOUR FAVOURITE GALLERY

The Tate Modern. I just love the brutalist architecture and the Turbine hall.

 

Above: ‘Lucky Hands’, a collaboration with fashion designer Alice Balas. Below: Artworks for Montreaux Jazz Festival and ‘Office Supplies’ personal work in Malika’s London flat.

ON GOOD FOOD

Moro in Exmouth market is delicious. There are too many great restaurants to mention.

ON SOMETHING FROM FRANCE YOU NEED A FIX OF IN LONDON

I often need my fix of cheese and wine so I go to Broadway Market for both. L’eau a la Bouche has some great French cheeses, e5 bakery provides the bread and Wine can be found everywhere : )

ON THE LONDON TUBE OR BUS

The bus always. Sitting on the top floor looking at people walking by.

ON WINDOW SEAT OR AISLE

Definitely window.

 

Iconic New Yorker cover, ‘Operating table’, which has since been imitated by teams of surgeons around the world. Artwork by Malika Favre.

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Nuggets in this interview

neighborhoods

London Fields, London

"I live in London Fields in East London. I have always lived east somehow. I just love the arty vibe and vibrancy of Hackney".

–Malika Favre

industry

Tate Modern, London

"The Tate Modern. I just love the brutalist architecture and the Turbine hall".

–Malika Favre

inspiration

The Barbican Centre, London

"When I arrived I used to go out a lot to the barbican, the canal side and walk around shoreditch".

–Malika Favre

food and drink

Broadway Market, London

"I often need my fix of cheese and wine so I go to Broadway Market for both".

–Malika Favre

food and drink

E5 Bakehouse

"e5 bakery provides the bread and wine can be found everywhere : ) "

–Malika Favre

food and drink

Moro, London

"Moro in Exmouth market is delicious".

–Malika Favre

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