Summer / 19 Box – Freak City
50 Screen Printed T-Shirts Offer – Sent in his screen printed illustrated box.
Freak City’s work is full of energy, wit and rich in detail. Fascinated by urban/suburban life, the box design ‘Babylone’ highlights the unexpected beauty in battered store fronts, natural overgrowth and half deserted streets. His work perfectly captures the feel of being totally immersed in the drawing, observing from an office window or through a car windshield, momentarily watching people, monsters and other creatures in this urban wasteland, compelling you to move around and explore.
I believe that as an artist you become a receptor of what is around you, what has been your greatest influence?
Probably my greatest influence was the hardcore punk scene that i’ve been involved in since I was a young teenager. I mean, the energy and anger, combined with ethics built around the DIY agenda, it all lead to starting something new, like a label, a band, a fanzine… I did all that, and as I’ve been drawing since I was a kid, I started drawing shirts for friends’ bands, record covers, whatever… I was fully into being straight edge, so I wanted to invest my time and energy into something positive, and I started building a world of my own that slowly became Freak City. Apart from that, I was also heavily influenced by movies (especially SF from the 80’s), skateboard graphics, pattern design like Memphis/Milano, comic books, and urban/suburban life in general…
How do you think growing up in France has formed you as an artist?
We have the chance to see an incredible amount of museums around here, so it gives society a solid cultural and historical background to rely on. But i was more influenced by popular culture, like TV, movies, cartoons, comic books, toys… And we also are very lucky to have such a strong comic book culture here, which I’ve been enjoying since I was a kid. All in all, there were many great artistic sources in France, from very historical to more popular ones, so as a very curious teenager with an appetite for learning, I guess it was a good opportunity to grow as an artist.
What kind of things do you do beyond what average people may see? What does a typical day in your life look like?
For years working was the main thing in my life, when it needed a 24h/7days-a-week involvement, to make sure I was making it right. Lately, I’ve been trying to relax a little bit more, and splitting my time in a more balanced way. Like giving friends more time, meditating, playing in bands, reading, doing sports… Not sure what a typical day looks like, but I try to make space for everything, not just drawing. I love so many things that I cannot just spend a whole day drawing, I need more things to feel at peace with my life and with the world. I’ll start teaching art/illustration in post Bachelor’s degree schools very soon, and this is a definite step forward, where you have to learn to give a lot, and take a bit of distance with your own work.
Do you think your habits help (or hinder) creativity?
I think it’s a matter of balance. Balance is the key word to me, so your habits can be a real stable thing for your mind to be effective, but it can also turn your brain into a jail if you don’t use them in a proper way. I just think we have to learn to know ourselves right, to make sure our habits and the way we lead our lives are a good foundation for what we do, especially when it requires creativity.
There are many misconceptions about the art world. Being a creative illustrator is a label you will wear throughout your life – and like most labels, it’s bound to come with a variety of inaccurate stereotypes and cliches. What misconceptions do people have about your job? Even the ones closest to you?
Some people might think it’s the 100% dream job, but things don’t come off so easy. Just because you do something you enjoy most of your time doesn’t mean you don’t have to struggle. In fact, you have to struggle with yourself everyday first, to keep your head straight and lead things in the right direction. We just have different issues than the typical salary-man of course, but that doesn’t make things easier. In fact, I think it make things harder, as you have to rely on yourself only and cannot depend on guarantees, and you have to really work hard on what you’re building. Things are just so intense with art… When I manage to pull off what I want, this is very gratifying, but when I need to struggle with a project, an idea, whatever… This can turn things into a nightmare, but in the end, this is satisfying too because you learn more from difficulties or failures than from victories.