How did you get started doing what you do?
I cannot tell when it started precisely since I never stopped drawing as far as I can remember- drawing was always there. As a child, I discovered that through this medium I was able to express my own ideas and opinions to other people without facing bad consequences. I spent most of my childhood time reading the family’s comics collection over and over. I also started to draw my own comics.
What’s your inspiration?
I can be inspired by many things. Sometimes a dream – like the drawing The Dream of the Whale – sometimes an inner vision, precise or not, an insight of a form or some geometrical pattern. I also get ideas by reading books from writers with strong imagination like H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe or Philip K. Dick. I like watching David Lynch’s movies again and again because he creates such beautiful and strange athmospheres, on the edge of dream and reality. I also like to look at the work of artists like M.C. Escher, Alfred Kubin, Caspar David Friedrich, Saul Steinberg, and David Hockney. I admire also children books artists like Tomy Ungerer and also comic books artists like François Schuiten and Benoît Peeters. Their wonderful comic book La Tour was one of my biggest influence as a child.
What is art to you?
To me, art is a great possibility to express and communicate something. What is difficult to say in front of other people remains possible through an artistic medium. Art creates a distancing effect that allows the artist to express his own ideas to an audience in a peaceful manner. For example, in the context of comics workshops, I noticed that children were more able to tell something that happened in their life as well as expressing their opinions and feelings about it. For some of them that were introverted, this was a real relief.
How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
Two or three days for a DIN-A4 drawing depending on the technique and the complexity of the subject. In the case of a commissioned work with a precise deadline, like working for a newspaper for example, it could be much shorter. Sometimes it has to be finished in just one day including sketches.
How do you keep motivated?
In order to keep motivated, I try to avoid repeating the same technique and process over and over. To me, it is very important to keep having fun in the work and share it with others. For this reason, I also work with two friends in an artist collective, Le Collectif Ensaders. We met during our art studies in Paris and discovered that we shared the same interests in art. Together, we draw and paint simultaneously on the same sheet of paper. We produce colorful and spontaneous pictures. Sometimes, we work on larger scales during live concerts. It is a completely different process than working alone on his own and it is a great joy.
How would you say your surroundings have influenced your work?
I was born in Paris and I have lived in Berlin for four years now, but the kind of suburban areas I draw aren’t specifically from Paris or Berlin. Compared to other cities, even skyscrapers are not so many. I associate Paris with small and narrow streets, traffic jams and stress. When I arrived in Berlin four years ago I was quite impressed by the contrary. This city is more wide and open and has fewer inhabitants than Paris. It is a place where I can work and develop a project quietly.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
First, I would be very happy to continue making a living out of my practice. It is a great privilege, and I hope it will still be like that in the future. I also would like to be able to do more personal projects, which means having more freedom for myself. Time is always the issue. It is not that I don’t like commissioned work, it is still very good to work with other people and to keep an eye on what other artists do.
Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
I would say that it is very important to have fun while working. Because often art needs a lot of work time for very little results, this time has to be a joy, otherwise it is your life that goes away. I would recommend enjoying the doing and not necessarily the result, and also find good friends to work with.
What are your thoughts on art school?
The interest of an art school depends on how you invest yourself in it. Being a student of a public art school in Paris, the ENSAD, I saw people who never went to any classes and wasted their time. Art school gave me the opportunity to develop long-term projects and know what I really wanted to do by practicing many techniques: etching, silk-screen printing, animation, modeling… It also gives the great possibility to connect with people who share the same interests in order to create a network of friends, which is extremely important during the professional life afterward.
What art supplies do you use?
I like to draw with simple elements that I can carry everywhere: sketchbook, biro pen, eraser, sometimes a ruler. These are simple tools that provide some boundaries as well as a lot of potential. I like the idea of expressing the most with the humblest implement. Right now I mostly use a blue biro BIC pen on Moleskine drawing paper. I love this paper. It is not too bright white but a little bit yellow. I also like to use Uniball colored ballpoint pens. I love working on monochrome pictures because they communicate directly the idea they want to express with great visual impact. Decorative and superficial elements become less important then. During my travels, I like to use watercolors to make spontaneous drawings. I prefer to do sketches in order to remember places I have seen and people I have met rather than photography.
What’s your process like?
First, I start to make a quick sketch of my idea. During this phase, I use a pencil and sometimes a ruler to draw a light grid that I erase afterward. This keeps all elements parallel and based on the same structure and proportions. When I am satisfied with the sketch, I start to ink the lines. I can also look at my picture upside-down, or in a mirror. That way I notice disproportions or mistakes very easily. The theme of the drawing may change during the process. Sometimes I just have a vague idea and don’t know what the subject precisely is until the piece is completely finished. I try to keep my mind open to all these possibilities.