“An Office for a French Spy” by MGHerod

God where do I even begin with this? I put a lot of sleepless nights into this room, which was actually the student break room for the art building. This five week project was intended to showcase what exactly a Cold War French spy’s office would look like and it was rather well received by the classes that came to see it and it earned me an A+ in the class.

A lot of this stuff I had to either buy or make from scratch and I had to make sure that almost everything, from the shoes to her portrait, fit Clarise’s personality. It had to be sharp and a little brooding, but if I went too far it would come across as creepy and unwelcoming. Plus it’s also hard to create a space that looks lived in and have it seem natural That being said, I love all the little details that went into this piece.

-The globe in the corner is marked with red and silver tacs, red being important missions and silver ones that were run of the mill. 

-The newspaper clippings on the wall sport (besides the german one which was pulled from a 1980’s headline) all sported little references to either fictitious French spies or real ones. They included Le Chiffre from the Bond film Casino Royale, Rene Joyese ( A WW2 french spy) and Charlotte Corday (actually an assassin from the French Revolution) among a few others.

-Cigars not scene here (due to a bit of a kerfuffle on the day of the showing) were Montecristos, the cigar of choice for many of the Bond films.

-The letter obscured by light in the third picture reads in French:

Dear Clarise,

I have gone to the grocery and I won’t be long. Don’t worry about the mission. We will receive more.



(The envelopes in the briefcase, which also dates back to the 1980’s, all sport a MISSION FAILED stamp in bright red. Evrard and Clarise aren’t the best spy duo in the world)

-The song that played during the showing was La Vie en Rose. While this was scrapped for song choice at first due to being a bit cliche, it was chosen because of how well it fit the theme of the room

-Also not pictured here was a rather large black Minx cat that was brought in. He was an amazing little actor, and was jumping up onto the desk and laying on the armchair. Wish I could have gotten pictures of him but sadly he had to leave a bit early.


Last year I painted a simple watercolor of Simonne reading an early issue of L'Ami du Peuple. I wanted to put a twist on the idea of first meetings, since many biographers have pointed out that Simonne would have first come to know Marat through his work. So you could call it an example of Meet Cute, if incendiary journalism is your thing.

This year’s illustration puts Évrard and Marat face to face in their home, probably sometime after 10 August. They’re flanked by Simonne’s sister Catherine, Laurent Bas, and also a cat. There’s no historical evidence that they did have a cat, but there’s also no historical evidence that they didn’t, so everyone is just going to have to deal with the existence of a cat in this picture.

I know this scene is more on the domestic side of things, but I kinda… wanted to go for that? So often love and stability are pitched as Things One Gives Up For The Revolution, or things that revolution inevitably disrupts and destroys. (Wanting to change things in society? Good heavens, don’t rock the boat!) Yet, the Marat-Évrard relationship could not have existed without the revolution forging it and fueling it on in the first place, and I thought I’d draw this picture to make that counterpoint.

FRANCE, Nantes : A mechanical horse-dragon made of wood and steel is presented to the public in Nantes, western France on August 26, 2014. This horse-dragon, created by the French artist Francois Delaroziere of “Les machines de l'île” (The Machines of the Isle), is the hero of the show “Long Ma” which will be presented in Beijing on October 17, 2014 as part of the fiftieth anniversary of the relationship between France and China. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD



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