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Gallery of Artists

Julie Doucet

I am my life's work. I am the main character.

Here I am, alone in the foreground, day and night, all the time.

I offer myself up for your perusal, my white body, my black words: I exist thanks to you.

My life is a novel. I am just words and images put together; I exist only on paper, from my head to my feet, every day, to the very end.

I am a best-seller. My life is lived out on paper, to be folded, glued, cut, scribbled on, crumpled, shredded and addressed to everyone who loves beautiful printed things.

I am a writing project. First, there was the comic strip: I was many images, but few words. Then the words became images. The words are little masterpieces of abstract art that I use to fill books, and that you can use to share a wonderful intimacy with me. My retail price is very affordable.

—Julie Doucet

Julie Doucet's work is well known. Very well known. The speech balloons in her comic strips and fanzines call out to readers in many languages, while the humorous diary by her alter ego brings smiles to the faces of people far beyond our borders.

In contrast, Doucet's artists' books are less familiar. They represent the artist's hidden side, the poetic side that needs deciphering, reconstructed into new words with a snip of the scissors and given new meaning with an illustration.

Doucet's published works include her autobiography J comme je. Using words and letters clipped from magazines like an anonymous letter, the book recounts important events in her childhood. "I was born on the last day of 1965—An easy-going child—I read anything and everything" [Translation]. After studying plastic arts at the Vieux Montréal CEGEP, she continued her training at the Université du Québec à Montréal, earning a diploma in printing arts. She became interested in comic strips and focused solely on this art form. Republished as comic books, her fanzines were very well received and won the prestigious Harvey Award. Doucet left Quebec and lived in New York, Seattle and Berlin. Back in Montréal, she set aside comic strips and returned to printmaking, using techniques such as woodcutting, linocutting and silkscreen printing to produce a wide range of artists' books.

Julie Doucet also writes "anything and everything." Melek is the fictional account of a Turkish immigrant, inspired by the artist's discovery of a photo album in a garbage can in Tiergarten, Berlin. In this book, Doucet has altered each photo and reinterpreted it with a new print. Presented in the form of a diary with a lock and key, Chevalladar is a personal journal written in delicate handwriting. The language of the text becomes increasingly obscure and calls to mind the "exploréen" language invented by poet Claude Gauvreau. Autrinisme de règlohnette is an essential decoding tool and provides the key to the language, as it is no less than a "Doucet dictionary" and bears the motto "Tout plassoirer," meaning "to know, to be informed."

The book La création de l'univers is every bit as ambitious as the title indicates. A collection and collage of silkscreened oversheets, this series of coloured variations presents a surrealistic vision of the origin of the world. The five accordion-fold leaflets of Poèmes d'amour are a textual montage that cuts all the romantic ideas of love into pieces.

It is no exaggeration to say that Julie Doucet has created her own "universe" through her work, and one should devote as much attention to exploring it as she devotes to creating it.