Why did you become an artist? Do you remember the exact moment of your decision?
To be honest, I don’t always have the conviction to be an artist, it depends on the times! With my different activities, I change my ideas of what it is that I want to do all the time, ranging from illustration to CGI technical expertise, and I’m now quite far from what I learned in my art studies.
Nevertheless, I like to work on some very personal projects when I can, and it’s in these moments, without restrictions, that I feel the most like being an artist.
I’ve always been surrounded by a certain creative energy, even when I’m not thinking about creating something new in particular, it always catches up to me in the end! So I made sure my life was in sync with that…
Looking back, I don’t think I had much of a choice, it’s almost like a necessary exchange, to receive and to give, otherwise the cup will quickly overfill!
You are definitely a digital artist, aren’t you?
It’s true that the digital artist category suits me best.
My connection with technology is very strong. I was, for a long time, carried by a very heavy fascination for computer graphics, and today I can say that I went further and developed a more critical eye, but it took me time and I didn’t always manage to succeed!
It is interesting to see what a certain medium has to offer, what can be expressed by it, but one should not become its mindless servant.
Sometimes, when it makes sense, I try to find ways to bring all these digital elements into a more tangible realm through textile and 3D printing.
The first reason is conservation concerns, because, paradoxically, the lifespan of computer data can be very limited. I don’t really want to see years of work erased by a hard drive failure!
And also (and above all) to find a more intimate contact, which becomes deeply moving when you spend most of your time handling immaterial data!
It’s when this data goes from being digital to having a material form that my artistic activity really begins, as it forces me to think about the questions of scenography and meaning.
About bringing your digital ideas to the tangible form. What kind of artifacts have you printed already? What do they mean to you in terms of your projects?
On one hand I have printed a certain number of 3D prints, mostly shells generated by fractals, I’m interested to find via CGI engineering a kind of creative matrice. It’s an idea very close to cybernetics, which establishes a close relationship between our system of thought and the basis of computing. If computer science is a cartography of our system of thought, perhaps there is a creative source here too, to which we could, with the right settings, give a form of autonomy.
The second material project is some printed fabrics, the results of a process halfway between 3D and photography. It truncates perspectives, sometimes making them spherical, sometimes flat.
The concept is to capture some scenery with an eye almost stripped of the notion of point of view, an immanent eye!
This is quite hard by definition, ha-ha, so I practice photogrammetry for it, I take many pictures of the same place to produce a digital version of it, a 3D object and a texture, literally like a skin!
After, I print it on fabric to keep this idea of skin, and I propose using them to artists as a creative matter.
What potential do you see in creative matrices? Don’t you think there is a lot of uncontrollable power that can arise from them?
I discern in it a strong poetic power! Generating beauty? Getting closer to the creative source? It’s not very clear to me, but it’s an almost magnetic force of attraction!
This attraction may be due to psychotropic experiences I had when I was younger; I’m still wondering, where these visions came from.
I can’t really say if there is too much power in them! For now, I think it’s more of a quest, a search for the ways of how they can be utilised for good, but yes, in the long run they may represent a tool that can be used in some shady ways.
What kind of ‘shady ways’ do you see that creative matrices can be used in?
The development and democratization of neural network training has shown how they can be improperly used! DeepFake, speech synthesis, and so on…
More broadly, this will eventually make the creative act lose its value, even further than the technical reproducibility. The loss of jobs in some areas like 3D animation, 3D rigging, where GANs (generative adversarial networks – Editor) have made huge progress. And that’s just for my field; in actuality it will have an impact on all fields of our lives.
So, even if this approach has a certain poetry to it, on a large scale the result is going to be very problematic.
There is some concern with the material/natural world in your works. Also, the images of humans look like neo-pagans, which, all together, leads to a post-apocalyptic view of the future, which, nonetheless, is somehow connected with virtual reality… Isn’t it?
Sort of, yes! A lot of things get mixed up in my images and I like to let each person’s eyes see what they want to see in them. There are several recurring subjects, often dealing with the prospects of our future, when it’s not about our duality.
I have a more or less conscious feeling that we are here at a very special time, a time of transition, and it’s a very slippery time, because I don’t know to what degree we are in control of this situation.
Among all these transformations that are taking place at the moment, it is the one around our relationship to the image that interests me in particular. There is a book on this subject that has left a deep impression on me: “La relève du réel” by Serge Salat. It expresses this fracture that we are going through now with great depth.
It is our disappearance, or metamorphosis, that I am trying to stage.
At the beginning of my work, including the use of CGI, there were no people in my images, because I started from the idea that they had evolved into images, architecture, the places they left after them.
Since the invention of perspective, our obsession with entering into the image, a place of all possibilities, with freeing us from the constraints of space and time, has reached a degree never seen before with the advent of VR/AR technology (virtual and augmented reality — Editor).
I am interested to see what will happen next, but it is always tinged with a certain melancholy because I am very attached to this vibrating, tangible world.
You have mentioned a future without duality. What do you see in it?
Unity! This is a recurring subject in my work, I have this feeling that a lot of our problems today come from this separation that we’re experiencing. Too many things are in a state of duality (Nature/Humanity, immaterial/material and so on). It’s very important to embrace these oppositions. It’s why there’s this sweet/better tone in some of my images, it’s a way to make peace with this duality.
There is a crossing advertising language in your works. Is it an intentional step on your part or did it arise from your professional background?
I think the primary source of inspiration for this is that I have an excessive love for the advertising visuals of the 70s to 90s, and with how it managed to present to us a vision of the world to come with an incredible inventiveness, efficiency, and even a certain strangeness.
Today, these images have a great ambiguity, because one always feels behind their polish and seeming perfection, a certain dryness, a gaping hole that the ideology of consumerism could never manage to fill.
It’s my fascination with this dualism that pushed me to participate in the vaporwave movement, and to recognize myself in its accelerationist mood.
Otherwise, I work at the creative agency, and I’ve probably integrated a lot of their aesthetic code!
Has the novel coronavirus pandemic and self-isolation affect your professional routine and influence the ideas and themes you would like to explore?
Regarding my professional routine: not really, since I work from home on my computer. But I felt the crisis as everyone else did with the strange atmosphere in the streets and the flow of information. It raises many questions. What will the world be like after the crisis?
There is an opportunity to change the problematic structure of our society. How can we, as creative actors, play a role in that?
What project are you working on right now?
I’m working on some stuff for ‘Auroboros’, a brand focused on the integration and merging of science and technology in fashion. It’s a very interesting project, and there are some great people for me to work with!
Also, I am working with my relatives on wearable textile products made from the fabrics I have produced over the last few years. The prototypes are ready, and all that remains is to establish an adapted communication and to see the reception of the people!
What is your favourite project of yours, and why?
A series of drawings done in a manner similar to automatic writing. I have a real affection for this work: it’s a project that followed me for almost a decade!
I was looking to capture the nervous activity like machines that detect earthquakes, but with the tip of my pencil. It kept me busy for a while! I stopped making these drawings a few years ago; I replaced it with meditation, where I continue to observe my nervous activity.
Observing your nervous system while you were drawing and meditating, and using some psychotropic substances. Is this your way of finding inspiration?
It is first of all a form of necessity; I have a tendency to be easily confused and overwhelmed by sensations, thoughts, etc. And these practices help me to clarify all this, or at least to channel it.
Of course, such rituals have a profound effect on my art practice. Even more so since I very rarely conceptualize my work. It is mostly the result of an instinctive search by manipulation of the tool; the result, therefore, focuses a lot on my own perception.
It’s a process that may seem egocentric, but in the long run not so much, self-analysis, if pushed deeply enough, can eventually link us more deeply to others by making us aware of the impermanence of our ego and our interdependence with others.