Back to News

Now that we've all ample time to ogle the absolutely gorgeous #MFF2021 campaign art, it's time to meet the artist who brought this stunning vision to life - Monique Machut!


Give us the Monique Machut biopic: Where did you grow up? How did you get involved in the arts? Where did you go to school?

I grew up in Two Rivers, Wisconsin and started drawing from a very early age. Art had always been a part of my life but wasn’t a clear path for me until I graduated high school. I stayed in town and studied at our community college for a year, eventually making the decision to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) to major in Illustration and minor in Communication Design (graduating in 2018.)


There's an effervescence to your work that I think pairs so nicely with the idea of exploration and (virtual) travel being spoken to with the MFF2021 campaign art.  What is your process like in ideating and then creating visuals for a project like this one? Or just in general?

Initially it’s understanding what this project meant to myself – in this case it was based around travel, or really lack of it (thank you 2020.) My process usually involves tons of researching to gather inspiration while also roughly sketching out compositions. The layout of a collage worked the best by giving me freedom to imagine multiple stories. After sketching, blocking out shapes and adding details - the last, most fun and important part for me is deciding on the official color palette. I really love color and want the viewer to feel happy and excited when looking at my work!


Did this campaign offer any unique challenges?  

The biggest challenge for this campaign was deciding on how much detail to add in. Since this year’s festival is virtual again, I knew this piece would be used more digitally than print. More time was spent than needed deciding what the text would be on the ticket and luggage tag, as well as what went on the suitcase stickers! I had to make sure every piece could be isolated and used on its own as well. This changed my process in how I typically go about illustrating a piece, but also forced me to be mindful of how each illustration fits together. 


Your style also feels like it has a strong animation influence - do you have visual artists or filmmakers that you'd consider influences on your visual style?

Animation has always been an influence on my style and continues to inspire me! Films from Tomm Moore, Hayao Miyazaki and Disney (specifically their film Lilo & Stitch) have made a big impact on my work. Another similar influence is from author and illustrator, Ludwig Bemelmans (Madeline series.)


What's it like working as an artist in Milwaukee? 

Milwaukee is turning into such an art-centered community. I think there's an opportunity to succeed as an artist here because the people are so open to both public art and also incorporating art in their own businesses and lives.



What are some bucket list projects or ideas you'd like to tackle in the future?

I’d love to illustrate a cookbook! As well as writing and illustrating my own children’s picture book. Besides those books, it’d be fun to get into a stationary design project or textile graphics.



Favorite movie: Lilo & Stitch, I will always be a kid at heart.


If you could program a double feature to screen at the OT, what would you select?

Required to bring tissues…Grave of the Fireflies (Isao Takahata) and The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki) 


Favorite movie about art: I wouldn’t say this is necessarily about art, but Song of the Sea is my favorite movie in regards of art style and diving into a culture. (Another kids movie, I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of them.)

Favorite movie quote: "Nobody understands weather anymore. Might as well look at shadows and listen to crickets.” - from Ponyo, Studio Ghibli


Favorite movie character: Fujimoto from Ponyo

PLUGS! Where can people follow you online and get updates about what you're working on or where we can see your work in person (when such things are happening again)? 

The best place to find my work is on my instagram (@moniquemachut) and also my website: 

Posted by: Tom Fuchs