At the heart of IRMASWORLD and its founder Jasmin Khezri (IRMA) lies the passion for art and especially for illustrations. Jasmin started her career as an art director in the international magazine world but had continuously worked as an illustrator. Her path led her to found the online magazine and studio IRMASWORLD and made her work internationally known. After a number of exhibitions in Tokyo, Paris and New York, IRMAS work comes to Germany again.
Leading French auction house Artcurial, together with Kunkel Fine Art, specialized in illustration art, exhibit Jasmins work in the context of drawings from Franz von Stuck, Otto Dix Hans Reinhold Lichtenberger and Walter Schnackenberg.
We talked to Dr. Alexander Kunkel, owner of renowned Gallery Kunkel Fine Art in Munich.
- What does illustration art mean today in the context of the modern art world?
Through its current topics, illustration art has always been closely related to contemporary art. However, it is usually more accessible to the general public, as it is less theoretical and easier to understand. In addition, it responds directly to what moves people and is thus an expression of the general zeitgeist. The best achievements in illustration art undoubtedly deserve to be displayed alongside relevant positions in contemporary art.
left: , right: Illustration by IRMA at Artcurial Germany
- Do you think that illustration art will become more and more in demand, a trend?
High quality illustration art goes right to the heart of questions and topics which can be found in everyday life. Many illustrators pay attention to general comprehensibility in order to reach the widest possible audience with their image ideas. In addition, the art of illustration offers a wide range of artistic expression. These are ideal conditions for the increasing relevance of the genre and that it is becoming more and more in vogue.
- In which countries is illustration art an excepted art form and how does this relate to the German market?In countries such as France and Belgium illustration art has long been a highly valued and expensive form of art. Original drawings by Hergé, the inventor of Tim and Struppi, regularly earn six-figure sums at specialised auctions. Even the works of René Gruau, who has worked for decades for the most important fashion labels in Europe, often bring five to six-figure prices. For a considerable time now, there has been an increasing interest in illustration art in Germany. For example, works by the artist Dodo from Berlin from the 1920s were recently shown in large museum exhibitions. They are now traded for five-digit sums.
- What do you think is special or different about illustration art by IRMA?
IRMA is a young, adventurous woman who is particularly interested in traveling, fashion, beauty and lifestyle. The figure IRMA becomes alive in her drawings through the virtuous and elegant way in which it is drawn. In addition, IRMA is well recognised. The sum of these factors explains why she has become a cult figure in Japan, Europe and the USA within a short time period. Only a few characters of illustration art manage to do so.
- How does IRMA relate to the illustration artists of the 19thcentury?
IRMA’s spirit of adventure makes me spontaneously think of the novel Alice in Wonderlandby Lewis Carroll. A classic bestseller of English literature that has become world famous especially through the drawings of John Tenniel. Wit, charm and curiosity are the salient characteristics of the young protagonist. The reader can immediately identify with Alice, which is exactly what the character has in common with IRMA. Many women around the world would like to identify themselves with her, as she is not only a style icon, but also a friend and confidant.
- What was your first thought when you saw an illustration by IRMA?
Drawings by IRMA are so fascinating because of their lively colour and their interplay of filigree and flat elements. That’s the reason for their high recognition and value that creates a very independent visual language.
When I think of IRMA I have graphic reminiscences of the 1950s and 1960s that evoke associations with the beat of Swinging London, that time when Twiggy, Pop Art and the Miniskirt set the tone. The awareness of life of joy and freedom emanates when you look at the drawings, that feeling is transmitted directly to the viewer to this day.