Welcome to The (Im)posture
Who’s talking ?
My name is Julien Posture, I’m an illustrator and incoming PhD student in anthropology at the University of Cambridge, and this - this newsletter - is an experiment in developing another way to talk about illustration, creativity and capitalism.
Years ago, I graduated from a Master’s in anthropology in which I studied the links between visual culture, economy and religion in Buddhist Myanmar. After this academic journey, I decided to go back to my first love and childhood dream: Illustration. In hindsight, this makes a lot of sense, I had spent years writing on the social life of images and I was now setting myself to make images about our social world. It’s this very back and forth between illustration and anthropology, art and social sciences, practice and theory, that led me to start this newsletter.
What is it about ?
Over the years as an illustrator I felt a growing sense of dissatisfaction with how we talk about illustration, both in mainstream media and in our more specialized creative industry outlets. Illustrators are endlessly portrayed as in desperate need for guidance, always looking for tips and tricks to navigate an often toxic and unfair industry. Meanwhile, no one bothers writing tips for other actors of the creative industry to stick up for us and put pressure on their companies to have decent wages, fair contracts and conditions. On top of that, Illustration, while being increasingly ubiquitous, is less and less valued and understood as a complex artistic practice with its own set of skills and particularities. As a result, we now have to compete with image banks, pick and chose platforms, and Fiverr-like websites, as if our work was only about filling up space as quickly as possible.
I’d like this space to be a place where we can critically engage with this beautiful profession beyond the narrow tropes we are usually put into. A space where illustration is an expertise, an artistic practice, a critical practice and in which illustrators have a voice not limited to asking “how to?” but also to ask “why?”, “what?” or “wtf?”.
In these pages, I’ll write about different topics pertaining to illustration, creativity and capitalism in a shorter, freer and more raw form than I’d be able to produce for a legit publication. Critical notes on style, the glamour of creativity, the social position of illustrators, ethics, and much more. I’ll throw in some book reviews and suggestions that don’t usually fall on the radar of creatives but that will undoubtedly help with growing critical engagement with our field. In the spirit of thinking about and with illustration and closing the gap between theory and practice, you will also find some insider’s view in my process along with comments on the semiotics of making illustrations. The goal here is not to show of my own work for the sake of it but rather to develop a reflexive discourse on illustration as a complex and rich set of skills. I’ll also try my best to be as transparent and vulnerable as possible, something rarely possible on “success story” platforms like Instagram. Basically anything that might be of interest to creatives but doesn’t fit anywhere else, too wordy for Twitter, not marketable enough for Instagram, not polished enough for a website.
So if you’re craving some critically-driven illustration content, with, by and for illustrators, if you enjoy looking into the thought process that gets into making the illustrative sausage, and want to growing a sense of community outside the algorithms and ads of the usual platform, this might be the right space for you.
What about the paying option ?
Unlike most newsletters, here you won’t get anything more for paying. It’s a gamble but I feel strongly about money not being a paywall for people, but rather a “payspringboard” for writers to create better work. So if after a few weeks you feel what I put out in the world add something to your creative diet and this makes sense financially for you, please consider supporting this publication, it will make a huge difference for the future of this space.
Additionally, the first 30 people to get a paying subscription will receive a free, signed print.
You’ll receive a letter each Friday, at 8:00 am ET.