To French artist Lola Peugnet, “Tomboy” is an outdated, but relevant alias.
She chose the moniker for her creative endeavors many years ago and although no one calls her that anymore, the truth behind the word remains. By playing with gender, color and artistic style, she mixes illustration, graphic design and her observant eye to create works that feel fresh and always original. Read on to find out more about the process and passions of our Quarterly cover artist:
How long have you been pursuing art?
It’s been approximately 10 years since I began studying art. I went to two schools: one for applied art in Nantes and the second for graphic design and animation in Bruxelles, but I was always surrounded by art. My mum is a dance teacher, my godfather was a talented stylist and I always wanted to find a way to express myself too. Luckily, I was able to find it very early—since I was a kid, my art has been drawing. It was a way for me to express a lot of things as a teenager.
Do you have a preference between graphic design and illustration? How are the processes different for you?
I can’t say that I have a preference, but I can say that I feel more freedom in illustration. They’re different because in illustration the only limitation when I’m drawing is me, but in graphic design, the limit is the client. Now I work for myself, but also with a friend for our new studio WinWin. It’s very cool because we get to experiment with a lot of things and we’re able to find more clients who let us be creative.
But I don’t think I could choose between graphic design and illustration because I often use both. For example, when I design a logo or a poster I always begin by handwriting the font or making illustrations in the background. It’s important for me to always use a DIY process as a part of the graphic design, instead of just working on the computer.
“I don’t have millions of followers, but that’s okay with me—it’s not because I’m a bad designer, but because I’m just not a professional social networker.”
When do you feel most inspired to create?
When I’m happy and confident or when I talk to a friend who is very motivated to make new projects. Under pressure too ahah! It’s a good way for me to stop asking myself so many questions and to just go with the essentials.
In America, there’s a lot of pressure for creative people to use Instagram to market themselves. Is this the same in France? If so, how do you respond to that pressure?
In France, more and more people are judging artists based on the number of followers they have or the style of their Instagram pages. I always thought that it was sad to judge a person on their Instagram, but it’s actually just how things work now. People are hiring designers because they are talented, but also because they are the hottest designer of the season. Instagram has become somewhat of a professional platform to find clients, but you have to stay yourself.
Actually, I have an Instagram account for our studio WinWin, one for my personal life, and one for my illustrations…it’s a lot! I try to post good stuff, but with no pressure. I do what I want. If I don’t post anything for months, I’m okay with that. I don’t have millions of followers, but that’s okay with me—it’s not because I’m a bad designer, but because I’m just not a professional social networker.
As a freelance designer, what kind of clients do you enjoy working for? Can you tell us about some of your favorite recent jobs?
As a freelance designer I love to work for a variety of clients, but the best are the ones who trust us and listen to our creative suggestions. Recently I’ve been working with a lot of fashion brands and have been loving it! They try to let me be creative. Recently I worked with Pimkie, I created a showcase and some videos. With WinWin Studio, our last project was to create branding for the 30th anniversary of an international aid organization. It was a true challenge, but it’s very important for me to have different projects.
“My shop was created many years ago, and I actually don’t use this pseudonym a lot, but I keep it because it’s a very important theme for me…The LGBTQI+ community is a part of my life and has inspired my work, so I find it important to be proud of it.”
Your shop is called “tomboy” and a lot of your drawings seem to transcend gender. Is this a common theme in your work?
My shop was created many years ago, and I actually don’t use this pseudonym a lot, but I keep it because it’s a very important theme for me. Today we speak a lot about gender and it’s something I feel very deeply about. Maybe it’s because I’m in love with a girl, but also because I never felt myself as a stereotypical woman—always as a little bit girl and little bit boy. Since I was a kid I loved drag queens: their make-up, dance, performance, fashion…it was always a magical universe for me, with neon lights and glitter…there’s a lot of freedom. The LGBTQI+ community is a part of my life and has inspired my work, so I find it important to be proud of it.
Do you have any favorite museums or favorite pieces of art?
I don’t have a particular favorite museum or piece of art, but I’m inspired by a lot of things. From videos, concerts, books, nature—everything can be a source of inspiration. But I do love museums, the last great show I saw was the Margiela exhibition in the Palais Gallieria in Paris. It was wonderful.
Describe a typical day for you:
7:45 AM wake up. 8:30 coffee. 9:00 checking mail. 10:00 working on graphic design for clients. 1:00 PM lunch. 2:00 going to my co-working space “Le Panache Club”. 6 PM bike or scooter back home or have drinks with friends. 9:00 PM dinner. 10:00 PM reading a book or a comic. 12:00 AM ZZZZzzzz.