O’Neill’s Ocean Mission | Q+A with Artist Jean Jullien

O’Neill’s Ocean Mission | Q+A with Artist Jean Jullien

Jean Jullien is a globally renowned graphic artist and keen surfer. Living and working in Paris, his practice ranges from painting and illustration to photography, video, costume, installations, books, posters, and clothing to create a coherent yet eclectic body of work.

Jean has shown work around the world with museums and galleries in Paris, London, Brussels, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Berlin, Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore and beyond. As well as working with hundreds of clients; of which O’Neill is the latest.

In order to raise awareness and increase action on World Ocean Day and beyond, Jean has collaborated with O’Neill on a limited edition capsule collection to showcase the brand’s long-term sustainability commitment. The limited edition, dual gender lifestyle collection comprises 6 styles, made with organic cotton – all sourced and produced in Europe. Fusing O’Neill’s signature DNA with Jean’s own bold and youthful aesthetic, their shared goal for the collection is to celebrate their love of our ocean playgrounds.

We caught up with Jean to find out what inspires him and how the collection came to fruition.

Where do you take inspiration from?

It really depends on the project/moment, but most of the time it’s from observing things around me: at the beach, on the street. I tend to take a setting or situation and extrapolate from it to emphasise humour or beauty.

You create a lot of beautiful images at the beach. What is it about that setting that inspires you?

For starters, I feel good being there. The sand, the sea, the air. I also love to watch people at the beach. It’s such an odd setting being surrounded by people who are essentially all in their underwear! The only thing that validates it is the fact that you’re in a designated area. Take that situation anywhere else and people would be pretty weirded out. From a drawing point of view, it’s a pretty fascinating place to observe the poses people take and the way our bodies reveal themselves.

How long have you been surfing? What is it about surfing that you love?

Not that long, actually. I find surfing to be very therapeutic. It’s not about performance, it’s about taking the time, trying to read the water, how it moves and figuring out how best to react to it. It’s also about pacing yourself, and about trial and error.

The culture of surfing is quite fascinating too, graphically speaking. I find it very inspiring. My aunt and uncle had a surf shop for years and I remember going there as a kid and loving the Town & Country graphics, Gotcha, etc. The neon pink and orange color combinations next to the pale blues and yellows were so good. 

At the time, my uncle was fixing boards too and had loads of old ones with cool shapes, colours and visuals. It was a little museum in itself, just not told as such. It filled my imagination and love for colours and drawing and, of course, surfing.

What does the Ocean mean to you?

The ocean is truly a never-ending source of inspiration. It’s everywhere and has a life of its own. It’s ever changing and I never tire of looking at it or drawing it. On a more down to earth note, we really need it to live. It’s a good way to check the state of things. If the oceans are essential to our atmosphere and survival, we probably want to look after them as best we can.

What do you think about World Ocean Day?

It’s a shame that we need to have a day to remind us to take care of it! It’s telling in a way. But I think it’s great that some folks got together to make sure something was being done about it.

How important is sustainability to you?

Incredibly important – I would say it’s a key factor in almost any job that I take on.

What can we all do to take better care of our oceans?

Small actions go a long way. Don’t litter, try to pick trash up that gets left on the beach, recycle, etc. Simple things that, if we all did them, would improve things a lot.

Can you tell us about the creative process for this capsule collection?

When I draw or paint wetsuits, I like the idea that I’m painting a flexible/stretchable material. It’s like a naturally cartoony surface. So I just played with that idea and tried to make the characters flexible/move with the surface of the wetsuit.

Jean Jullien

Check out the Jean Jullien X O’Neill Limited Edition collection here.

By Daisy Maddinson

Surf, snow, skate & outdoor gear
You May Also Like