When she first moved to Paris, Jessie Kanelos Weiner (a.k.a. The Franco Fly) had no intention of pursuing a career in food styling or illustration. Having studied fine art and theater in school, the Chicago-born artist moved to Paris in 2012 to marry a French photographer, and planned to continue on her career path as a costume designer for film and stage.
It was only when wardrobe jobs in Paris proved scarce that Weiner started interning for a culinary photo studio, which quickly rekindled her passion for food. Soon after, she launched a website, The Franco Fly, featuring illustrated dispatches about living in (and eating her way through) Paris. Thanks to the success of her site, Weiner also authored a French cookbook for American desserts and earned gigs illustrating delightful Parisian mise-en-scènes and food for the likes of Vogue, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, and Google. Her latest project is a coloring book, Edible Paradise, out this month. But Weiner doesn't limit herself to the edible. She also draws and paints her favorite looks from the runway during fashion month.
How did you end up moving from Chicago to Paris?
After school, I had one year before [having to pay] my student loans. I Googled "au pain Paris," and I was on my way.
Where does the name "Franco Fly" come from?
Being an expat is the ultimate "fly on the wall" feeling, so it's a play on words.
What does a Franco Fly look like?
How do you take your coffee?
What's the best perk of living in Paris?
Vocation culture and cheap baguettes.
You often illustrate looks from the runway. Do you have any favorite collections?
Dries Van Noten and Alexander McQueen.
Tell us about your upcoming coloring book, Edible Paradise. How did you first get the idea?
I saw coloring books explode in France, and thought they were all very copy-paste and digitized. Since I have a one-track mind, I thought of a fruit and vegetable coloring book with a very organic, freehand touch.
What's your favorite spring vegetable?
What do you look forward to illustrating more in 2016?
More live reportage sketches, fashion, and people.
Tell us a "locals only" Paris secret.
Follow the little old ladies at the outdoor Paris markets. They flock to the best farmers and food stands.
Edible Paradise: A Coloring Book of Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables, $16, rizzoliusa.com.