Interview with Jerome Corgier

by Wednesday, October 10, 2012

First of all, tell us something about your upcoming work. What are you into at the moment?

I’m working on a new type project, mixing Arabic and Latin type. The name of the project is  : “is it still type”. I’m working on the limit of typography and calligraphic forms. Each letter is a mix of different letters and loses its own concept ; it is becoming simply a letter form without being a letter.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: where is home, and how long have you been a designer/illustrator?

I came back to France and worked during some months on signages projects by Integral Ruedi Baur. Then I have created my own firm :” Atelier Graphique Pariri”, in Paris. In this firm , we were formerly  3 persons :a graphic designer in London, a graphic designer in Lebanon, and I . We began working together for some projects, and we did a lot of experimentations with types which you can see here : Then each of us has had his own projects. I am continuing “Pariri” in Paris. and the blog

Could you tell us some more about your illustration? How would you describe your style?

My illustrations are just the results of experimentations with types. I’m thinking about it while I’m doing it. I’m more a researcher than an illustrator : I’m living with my graphic design work, not with my illustration. To describe my style, I would like to say, besides, that I’m a type sculptor, and I’m sliding to carving. Now I love to work with layers and colors, but it could change.

Looking at your portfolio, your typo style is amazing, so fresh and at the same time I would call it edgy elegant. What’s the underlying unifying factor that makes them your works?

Thanks for that ! The factor which is unifying my works is probably carving, and type. Each project is a step in researching, which introduces the next one : then there is a permanent continuity between them.

Would you give a brief walk through your work flow?

First, I’m choosing and playing with forms in computer. Then I construct some new forms with, regarding curves and lines. I print, I draw, I compose new forms and I choose colors inside each letter.

If you could change one thing about being an illustrator, what would it be?

I just would like to continue all my life, cool and zen. I would like, too, to do research for brands like Apple, Nike, Chanel… And earn money just in searching new forms and newtype possibilities. Yes of course ! I was still a student and I built an Alphabet as a sculpture, with cardboard and paper. It looks horrible but it was funny.

Which typo or work has given you the most satisfaction in producing?

At each time, it is the last project that gives me most satisfaction, because I finish what I want to do and because I can begin the next one.

What artists have influenced you, and how? Who or what inspires you in your personal life and work?

Such a lot that it is difficult to make a clear list : Paul Cox, Michel Bouvet, Basquiat, Sagmeister, Catherine Zask, Oded Ezer, Haring, Rodin, Richard Deacon, Quarez, Steinberg, Sempé, Martin venezky, Ansel Adams, Ousmane Sow…

What was and what is your favorite font?

Without doubt the Witney font!

How has your work evolved over the years from when you where beginning?

Now I’m more and more professional with my projects : I decompose it into steps, and I’m doing it with a lot of attention, to carry out a project that I can show. And before carrying it out, I want where I want to go, and how I will show it.

What inspires you and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?

Things had never really got tough in the studio. When there is a lot of works in graphic design, I cannot continue type projects, but I wait for the next cool week. I just love what I do, teaching, illustrations, graphic design. Even when it is very stressful here, all my collaborators work with pleasure (Hoping that they will confirm).

How could you describe that precise moment….I mean the one it makes you say: “Yes! This is great! I did it! I got it!”

As an enjoyment!

How have you handled the business side of your work?

I do every thing : financial stuffs, searching new clients.. I’m like a little commercial man, and I like it too. I learn my life with my graphic design works, and my clients are usually regular customers, because I’m really working for them, then they are happy. I am really listening to their whishes.

What is your family background? Were there any artists or creative types in the family?

Unfortunately, no Picasso in my family!

What upcoming shows, exhibitions, do you have coming up?

I’m preparing some projects, exhibitions that I cannot tell about now !

What’s the best part of being an illustrator?

For me personally, it’s research, and the liberty of doing what I really want. You want to do something but you have no clients … then do it, and do it, and clients will come by themselves.

The hardest and the easiest part of your passion?

The hardest part is to do other thins that designing : I have no time left ! But fortunately I keep time for my girl friend and , reading, exhibitions and travels.

How do you keep yourself motivated and your illustration fresh?

Keeping searching is so big a motivation that it probably will never vanish. And when I’m really not motivated, I immediately go to an exhibition and the motivation come back.

Do you conduct workshops for aspiring illustrators?

Yes. I’m teaching and I conduct workshops twice or three times a year in France for aspiring illustrators. I take part too in a workshop for myself at least once a year.

What good advice do you have for people who want to be illustrators?

Always working and working, and going to exhibition, workshop debates. And travelling too.

Before you put your work “out there”. Do you have it critiqued by someone else, or do you just go with what your heart tells you is right?

No, I just do what I want to do. But I listen above all to clients.

The first artist that comes to your mind in front of your next blank canvas?

Woow ! At this moment, none, because I’m just finishing a project.

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