Hello Stephane, first of all, tell us something about your upcoming work. What are you into at the moment?
Currently, I’m working on several projects. The first one is a graphic novel, called BlackFury. Between comics and manga, plus a touch of elegance…I’m also preparing a project of exhibition with Wing Shya, the operator of Wong kar Wai. The idea is the dialog between his photos and my paintings. The third important project for 2012 will be the presentation of Mythical mind monsters, a serie of creatures jailed in light boxes….
Tell us a little bit about yourself: where is home, and how long have you been a designer/illustrator?
I live in Paris, I’m the happy owner of a big loft where there’s my studio. I started my carreer in advertising agencies, as art director. Officially I began to be an illustrator on 1994 ( my first collaboration was for Elle magazine ), but being honest since I was able to take a pen.
Could you tell us some more about your illustration? How would you describe your style?
I try to provoke an “emotional uppercut”. I’m convinced that emotion is an universal language. I start by searching ideas and for that I produce a lot of sketches.Then I select the stronger one. My sketches are very important, in a sense they guide me. After that I put colors directly on the white page. I like this method. It allows me to release colors and build “the nervous system” of my image, without being prisoner of drawing. I have chosen to paint only with gouache. For eight years by now, I’ve changed my style by mixing various techniques. Digital came into play giving finishing touches. My artworks, scanned in a very high resolution, are reworked and enriched thanks to diverse materials and colours. ( photos, types, or others scanned matters ) Just before painting, I soften my body by movements, I put on my headphones, I need concentration and rythm to release the gesture. It’s always a fight against colors, matters, to capture the right shape and fix the strongest emotion.” All of this is giving a specific dynamic to creation. A definition about my style? Powerful,mutant and elegant I suppose…
I’d really like to make an animation movie taken from my Blackfury novel.
Something you want the world to know about you.
Something that annoys or frustrates you about people.
People have eyes, but it seems they don’t use them….
Do you remember the very first piece of art that you worked up?
Which commissioned work has given you the most satisfaction in producing?
Each commissioned works are difficult to produce, there’s always constraints, and at the end, it’s not exactly what you want to do.
Hopefully, there’s exceptions, as the series I made for Ware magazine ( Ice troopers ).
Among others, American comics, Francis Bacon, Hugo Pratt, Vélasquez, John Fante, David Lynch, Cohen brothers, Quentin Tarantino influenced me. I like all these artists because they’ve built strong, beautiful, funny and inventive worlds. These differents universes show me possibilities, it stimulates my creativity , because in a way we talk the same language.In fact, I find inspiration from everything : street, music, cinema, photograph’s in magazine, books, people, nature, abstracts matters, sound, words…
The moment you realized you were an artist.
I don’t care about if I’m an artist or not, the most important thing to me is to create artworks, « capture » new images.
Something you wish you could change or alter about yourself.
Be able to work less
As I said , I began by painting, only painting. Today, I mix painting with photos, types, scanning matters…This digital touch is very important, it produces unexpected collisions between colors, shapes, and at the end,
artworks are more powerful, deep and singular.
How could you describe that precise moment….The one it makes you say: “Yes! This is great! I did it! I got it!”
I don’t know, it’s a feeling of happiness, lightness… Suddenly, all become easy, and wonderful. It makes you feel strong, proud, it makes you forget your troubles…You are really relieved.
This is a promise to create other great artworks.
How have you handled the business side of your work?
I have agents in Paris, Tokyo, NewYork and Sao Paulo, they deal it for me.
But I can do it by myself. I have the experience of business, due to my activities of art director and manager.
Something you wish you had known five years ago.
You know, I learn everyday when I work on my art, each artwork is a new experience, not set in advance, a fight against painting and graphic elements…
What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years of your life?
I hope I’ll have time to set up big exhibitions in nice places….
You explore imaginary, and you are often paid for it
Do you conduct workshops for aspiring illustrators?
Not yet, but I’d like to. Many art schools asked me to teach, but for the moment I have no time for it.
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?
Yes, in general, I follow my intuition, but I like to show it to my wife which is an art director, she usually helps…
The point of view of someone else ( no everybody ) is important to progress or improve a creation….
Who’s the first illustrator/artist that comes to your mind in front of your next blank canvas?
No one. Only the sensation of the next image I’m going to create. I’m very focused when I’m painting.