Our concept was already well established, the location chosen … You had to take a lot of technical constraints into account, respecting the brand DNA, production deadlines, budget, etc. What was the most complicated constraint to work with?
The most complex challenge was to succeed in staging a mystical experience of contemplation – therefore a very personal emotion, specific to each person – while keeping in mind that the installation itself, an Autel-Photocall, would be a place of passage. The spectator, invited to lose themself in their thoughts, would also become an actor of the installation and would be highlighted in the middle of offerings, drowned in the light. How to make this intimate and contemplative bubble exist in the swirling tumult of the festival?
As an artist, do you think that constraints abolish all forms of improvisation in the creative process?
On the contrary, for commissioned works, I see constraints as an excellent starting point, a framework that eclipses the famous anxiety of the blank page.
Constraint is a challenge, and our creativity is redoubled by it, because the client is waiting for us at the turning point; that’s where our creativity comes in and has to prove itself, in the most unexpected way. The result often gains in power because it is nourished both by the artist’s originality and the client’s professional experience.
What is your working method? Is it always the same whatever the project?
I like to consider my creative process as a global concept: I “prototype” ideas in connection with sensitive reminiscences to give them a plastic materiality. I start by looking for a lot of visuals to imagine the universe that will revolve around my story. In the case of an illustration (even advertising), my story will start with a funny and inspiring title, and then I will paint the whole picture that will live around it. I use symbolism, puns, winks, poetic references. Every element sketched will never be there by chance. Everything has to hold together, to justify itself. For an installation, it’s my imagination that’s tripping in 3D.
As in meditation, I enter into complete immersion in the “dreamed” installation. This leads to days and nights to draw, to think about sensations, colors, sentences that I would like to make resonate in the spectator’s mind. The concrete then joins my process, with its share of constraints, calculations and precision.
And in the context of the personalized Altar?
I began by researching the history of the Día de Muertos, watching videos, listening to music sung on tombs in Mexico to imagine the atmosphere, the heightened emotions, the smell of the night in the cemeteries with their offerings, flowers, incense … Then I looked for a setting that would allow us to feel this authenticity. It is not easy to talk about death in the context of a festive and, despite everything, commercial event.
Finally, I had to take into consideration the technical constraints of a scenography that could be set up, around which the circulation of the public remained possible: what seating to choose, what dimensions, how many decorative elements to place around the altar with the risk that they would be degraded, how far to go in the detail? As this feast was very rich in abundance, it was imperative for me to highlight this dazzling generosity, while keeping in mind the budget constraint.