Catherine Ocelot's Art Life

Friday, 19 June 2020

This review was originally published in the Hamilton Review of Books

Near the end of Art Life, Montreal-based cartoonist Catherine Ocelot’s introspective and playful graphic novel about her own life as a creator, she asks herself a question many of us could ask ourselves right now: “Should I stop watching TV and do some work?” Seated on her couch, books piled on a table beside her and a steaming beverage in hand, it’s clear that even in her quietest moments, she’s questioning her productivity. In many instances in Art Life, we see that there’s little division between her personal and professional life.

First published in French in 2018 as La Vie d'artiste, and named winner of the Prix Bédélys for best comic in Quebec, Art Life explores the role of artists (and in turn, art) in our contemporary world. In a series of vignettes, Ocelot has conversations with seven of her artist friends, each a storyteller, whether through film, comics, or other media. Together, they explore doubts, disappointments, and observations — some funny, some tragic — connected to living the “Art Life.”

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