Illustrator and artist Julie Verhoeven has become known for her work and collaborations with fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chloé, Versace and Marc Jacobs, and she has also exhibited at Frieze Art Fair, the ICA and an archive of her work currently sits in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s permanent collection.
Verhoeven is an artist who comfortably flits between mediums, often finding inspiration through collaboration. This all comes together in her latest project, titled I want your meat & cheese, blood & pie, a picture book created with fellow artist Alan Faulds.
Published by Baron Books, the works featured have been created in response to each other and have been layered and collaged together. Verhoeven and Faulds were introduced via a mutual friend at KMAdotcom, an artist collective which organises art sessions and activities for artists with and without learning difficulties, which Faulds is a part of.
The pair met online during lockdown to see if they could inspire each other and over the course of 18 months an exciting partnership was formed. “We just got lucky and found a connection,” Verhoeven tells CR. “We felt comfortable to have fun, without inhibition or judgement and to allow the work to lead us, without any expectation or pressure.”
The weekly meet-ups consisted of drawing and dancing, but the pair would also dress up, apply make-up and then come together with their props. The key was to work intuitively, with no inhibitions. The book has been a way of formalising Verhoeven and Faulds’ collaboration, and over 158 pages a dialogue of sketches, images, and collages – with photography by Annie Collinge, who documented the process – plays out.
“We both love books and Baron Books very kindly gave us this open opportunity to play,” says Verhoeven. “It felt mildly mischievous to be disrespectful of the format, and to capture the output in a less mannered render. It remains open for interpretation but pleasingly physical and present for posterity.”
For Alison Stirling, creative director at Artlink, which supports KMAdotcom, the challenge in this project was to ensure prejudices didn’t cloud the pair’s relationship. “[We wanted to] create a language that describes the artists and their work together as an equitable and exciting partnership,” she says. “As two people who have so much in common and who can learn from each other.”
At Artlink, Stirling says they put an emphasis on relationships and the artwork that can arise when there is “real respect and understanding of each other”. Flicking through the pages of I want your meat & cheese, blood & pie, a genuine and fruitful conversation pours out, full of surprises, humour and a shared passion for pop culture and fashion. “This just feels like the beginning,” reflects Verhoeven. “It feels like we are boarding a speeding train together, with the destination unknown.”