By Roberto Irace
Character designer, animator, illustrator, cartoonist, author... these are some of the many souls of Amélie Fléchais. French, born in 1989, she will be at Lucca Comics & Games for the first time with the largest exhibition dedicated to her, the first in Italy, an exhibition that contains tables extracted from her first authorial works such as The Lost Path and The Little Red Wolf, The Mountain Man, realised with Séverine Gauthier and the multi-award-winning work Shepherdess Warriors, realised with Jonathan Garnier (all published in Italy by Tunué). A series of stories for children that also whisper to adults. A fresco on growing up and becoming with fairy tales turned upside down, the first adventures, nature rebelling against the uglinesses of man: these are just some of the themes that the author addresses in her works full of poetry. Works that, starting from comics media, are also characterised by a strong illustrative and animated feel. All this is accompanied by previously unpublished personal illustrations and some of the studies of characters, backgrounds and environments done for films such as The Song of the Sea (Cartoon Saloon), Onward (Pixar) and Trolls (Dreamworks).
As she recounts in the interview published in the Artbook of Exhibitions: “I have been working in the publishing industry for twelve years as an author and in the animation industry as a conceptual artist/designer and set designer. I don't shy away from clichés about female artists: from the moment I was put a pencil in my hand, I have never left it and from my earliest childhood, I have always wanted to do a job that had something to do with drawing.
During my adolescence, I hesitated between fashion design, illustration and animation, then I realised that I really wanted to tell stories. So I first turned towards studying comics at the Angoulême Fine Arts, but I was not entirely convinced. Later, I veered towards studying animated cinema at the ESAAT school in Roubaix where I graduated.
I really liked animated films but it is a medium that requires many hours of work even for just one minute of film, so I felt a bit frustrated that I could not tell my stories more quickly. So, I continued to study and at the same time draw comic stories as a self-taught artist, which I published on a blog. These comics were noticed by a publisher (Jonathan Garnier), who contacted me during my studies. Once I obtained my diploma in animation for cinema, I finally started working in the world of comics, later alternating this activity with projects in animated cinema as a freelancer." To explain the combination of animation, comics and the world of children's illustration, he adds: "I think this is due to my sources of inspiration. During my studies and even now I have been enormously influenced by authors such as Jiří Trnka [the greatest exponent of the Czechoslovak school of animation with puppets, Ed], Alice & Martin Provensen [award-winning US children's illustration duo, active since the Second World War, Ed] and of course Hayao Miyazaki. I love the duality of their works, which mix a dreamlike 'childish' universe with sometimes dark stories and more adult themes. I wanted to find this dichotomy in my work."
The author will be a guest at Lucca Comics & Games 2023, in collaboration with Tunué
Venue: Palazzo Ducale - Lucca