An Exclusive Interview with Toons Mag Award-winning cartoonist Plantu.
TM: Explain about yourself in 100 words: (Example: Where are you from? What is your profession? How old are you? Etc.)
Plantu: I’m Plantu, editorial cartoonist for French daily newspaper Le Monde and for the weekly magazine L’Express. I was born in 1951 and I live and work in Paris, France.
TM: How/where did you learn to draw? How long have you been working as a cartoonist / Artist?
Plantu: I gave up Medicine studies in 1971 and moved to Brussels to follow drawing courses at the Ecole Saint-Luc. After coming back to Paris, I published my first cartoon in Le Monde in October 1972 and in l’Express in February 1991.
TM: What work do you most enjoy doing? What are your hobbies?
Plantu: I enjoy drawing a lot and I also did a few sculptures after my cartoons, in the past. They were exhibited at the Carnavalet Museum in 2003.
Plantu: I also love music, especially jazz and I play the guitar.
TM: Name three artists/cartoonists you are inspired by? How have they inspired you?
I really admire Honoré Daumier’s satirical drawings, as well as the work of Reiser and Hergé. They’ve been a great inspiration in my work.
TM: Why did you decide to be an artist / Cartoonist?
Plantu: My parents wanted me to be a doctor. I was a dreamer and these studies didn’t suit me. So, I decided to go to Brussels to fulfill my dream at the Ecole Saint-Luc.
TM: What is your aim in life? Where you want to see yourself after ten years?
Plantu: In 2002, I met the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Paris to prepare a gathering of international cartoonists, which becomes, in 2006, the Cartooning for Peace organization. Cartooning for Peace promotes freedom of expression around the world and counts today more than 140 cartoonists. 99 % of the press cartoonists are male and we are proud to have 30 % female press cartoonists in our organization. We are also celebrating our 10th anniversary, this year.
TM: Recently we arranged an international cartoon contest and exhibition, and you were one of the winners. What do you think about Women’s Rights? How important is it to you, and why?
Plantu: I would like to thank you for your honorable mention. I participated in this contest because defending Human Rights has always been a very important aspect of my work. Not only women’s rights but also children’s rights.
TM: How can we build a better world with our cartoons?
Plantu: Editorial cartoons are a powerful tool to share opinions and to create a dialogue among different beliefs, cultures, countries, and individuals. They are also a barometer of what is actually happening in our society today. Cartoons help us building bridges where others bring chaos.
Photo: Alliance Francaise de Singapour