Eight years already – it was in 2015 that The Connexion first spoke to Anglo-Gascon artist Perry Taylor and began running his popular drawings on our ‘Make sense of…’ feature on page 19 every month.
A unique mix of French life and language and gentle British humour, Perry’s images conjure up simpler times and give a quirky take on rural France.
He has now brought out no fewer than five hard-back books of his images, the latest being ‘Plaisirs Simples’. Find out more here.
He reminds us of his French drawing hero Sempé, known for Le Petit Nicolas.
Readers might come across Perry later this month at Jazz in Marciac, a music festival in the south-west where he has had a temporary gallery since starting his art career in 2012. He will be there daily from 14:00 to 19:00, on rue des cinq parts, dedicating his books with little drawings. He will also be taking along a selection of prints and greetings cards – and illustrated fans.
We first met the former advertising art director in January 2015 at what was then the annual France Show, at London’s Olympia.
We featured him in the spring of that year, when he told us: “It all started when we were invited to the grape harvest by our neighbours – it was a wonderful day capped off with a lunch under the trees with food made from their own pigs and ducks and chickens.
“I did a drawing as a thank you, which was a composite of the day: two uncles chatting away while having a wee, ladies setting up the table and people coming back and forth with big baskets of grapes.
“Actually they had a big quad bike with a basket that everyone could put their grapes into, but I didn’t draw that – I replaced it with an old tractor and cart as it’s more romantic.
“Everyone loved it so much that I scanned it and made copies for them to give to their family and I thought ‘hang on, this is interesting’.
“Then I went to the jazz festival at Marciac, drawing the musicians but then replacing them with men with berets – and ducks.”
Now he is so well-known the locals are keen to relate their tales when they have had a ‘Perry moment’ he might like to depict, he told us when his fourth book came out a few years ago.
In 2021 he was also inducted as a member of local fraternity the Company of Armagnac Musketeers, in recognition of his “affectionate and humorous portrayal of Gascon life”.
Ducks and berets have continued to be popular themes for Perry – along with an unashamedly nostalgic feel, though modern life sometimes pops up as in a drawing in Plaisirs Simples of an elderly, short-sighted person at an IT help centre, mistaking a microwave for a computer, or a waiter wishing a group of phone-watchers ‘bon app’ (short for bon appétit).
Ducks are again the stars of several drawings in the book, in fact in one of the first pages a French priest in dog-collar is feeding greedy ducks who resemble him with a white band across their necks. In another drawing a food truck is selling ‘hot ducks’ instead of hot dogs.
Sheep, pigs, hens, boules and Armagnac are among other recurring themes in the latest book, which is full of Perry’s puns, such as a pig playing jazz trumpet with the caption Rhapsody in boue, or a group of parachuting farm animals, captioned paratroupeau, a mix of ‘paratrooper’ and the French for a herd.
His captions sometimes test your French – people who have broken their teeth chewing on fèves in their Epiphany pastries are pictured waiting for the dentist with the caption ‘quel galère, les galettes!’ (roughly: ‘what a struggle galettes are!’) – but they all include English explanations beneath.
The Connexion would like to raise an Armagnac to Perry for his funny and beautifully-drawn images over the years and wish him a successful summer – we’ll see him again à la rentrée!
In the meantime, you can enjoy his take on ‘topping up’ a foreign pension in our July edition and learn regional Gascon expressions from his drawing for August’s ‘Make sense of’ about French regional words, accents and languages.