Stephane Manel can get away with referring to himself by only one name- Manel. Why? Because cool people are allowed to as a thorough examination of the phenomenon clearly proves. Cher, Madonna, Bono, Jay-Z, MacGyver and Rambo are just a few examples of the I’m-cool-enough-for-one-name trend. (The jury’s still out on The Edge-we’re not sure if it counts as one name or two).
Manel may not be an age defying pop singer or Vietnam war vet on the loose but what gives this French artist entry into that exclusive club is his artwork. His illustrations embody a very distinct flair. They seem effortless, even a tad careless but simultaneously very precise. His style seems to carry the slightest bit of nostalgia for graphics and illustrations from the late 70s and early 80s.
Not to mention his subjects albeit though not all mono-monikered, reflect the embodiment of cool. (I truly fell in love when I saw his rendition of David Bowie’s infamous mugshot.) His portrait series features a slew of influential artists, actors, writers and directors. His range of work is also expansive. He’s made music videos and designed album covers for musicians. He has two exhibitions under his belt and occasionally does illustrations for fashion magazines. He’s even designed flyers, logos for a label and had his illustrations featured on Evian water bottles.
Oh and if you’re not convinced he’s deserving of the one name privilege, might I add that he also seems to have a wicked sense of humour. Manel did a t shirt series for Kulte and Colette. Using the trademark of one of his main clients (musician Sebastien Tellier) Paul McCartney, Dennis Wilson and Mick Jagger were all given some truly splendid Unibomber-approved beards.