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Artist Portrait: Quentin Deronzier 

Quentin Deronzier

Creating theatrical visuals from another world, French director Quentin Deronzier has developed over the years a unique taste for electric color palettes and surrealist concepts. Through his creations Quentin Deronzier explores distorting ideas, always on the borderline between the real and the impossible. Quentin has worked with countless artists, personalities and brands around the world.  In my profession, one of my privileged moments is to spend long hours searching for the artist with whom I will collaborate on an artistic project. It was during one of my sleepless nights that I discovered the work of Quentin Deronzier.
His Instagram account appeared in my suggestions, and I remember being totally transported by his electric surrealist universe, close to that of James Turrell, as well as by his aestheticism straight out of a science fiction movie. 
At the time, I was working on a side project for the Paris Design Week festival for the Campari spirits brand, at the request of the Moma Event agency. It was about the opening of a temporary venue called “Red Galleria”, combining design, art and music. 

I quickly contacted Quentin Deronzier and asked him to create an immersive experience in response to the brand’s signature theme of Unlock the Unexpected. A dreamlike and immersive journey defying space and time.
Do constraints abolish all forms of improvisation in the creative process?
The artist Quentin Deronzier gives Acumen his point of view during an interview conducted in the offices of La PAC (film production company), which represents him.

Mélissa Burckel: Hello, Quentin, how are you?
Quentin Deronzier: Very well, Mélissa, I hope you are too. One project follows another, but I still manage to take a few days here and there to rest and enjoy the summer.

MB: Can you describe in three words what we’ve been going through since March 18?
QD: Reset. This crisis is so destabilizing that it puts into perspective things we thought we had acquired.

MB: You divide your time between Paris, New York and Los Angeles, but you still live in Annecy, your hometown. Why is this so important to you?
QD: For me, it’s a question of balance. The creative stimulation and the energy of a big city are essential to my personal development. Having lived in several capitals, such as Paris, Amsterdam, and Tokyo, I have gained a lot from the experiences and encounters I have had there.
But there always comes a moment of saturation. An overflow. I then need to escape to a quiet, slow place, close to nature, to get my head off the handlebars and take a step back from what I’m doing. That’s why my life and my studio in Annecy counterbalance my experiences in Paris or abroad. I don’t miss either of them.

Tokyo Architecture by Quentin Deronzier

MB: I wanted to talk to you about the subject of collaboration between artist and brand and, more specifically, the notion of constraint in art. When I asked you to create an immersive installation that would welcome the public, even though your work, at the time, was mainly intended for the digital world, what was your very first reaction?
QD: It was a real opportunity to bring my digital creations into a physical and real universe, to break the barrier of the screen and immerse the audience in my universe. It allowed me to push my ideas even further.

MB: You had to deal with quite a few constraints, notably the location, which you were unable to visit at the beginning of your creative process, but also technical and budgetary constraints; under which constraint was it the most complicated to work?
QD: One of the most important aspects of my job is to get the audience to travel. Whether it’s emotional or sensory, I try to take people to a corner of their imagination that is totally different from the physical space they are in. The constraint in the Red Galleria was to get the audience to detach themselves from the place for a moment, to immerse themselves in an alternative reality, even if it’s for five minutes only.

MB: You created an immersive experience composed of four different visual worlds. What was your working method?
QD: I wanted to visually translate the different sensory stages that make up the tasting of a Campari cocktail. The experience starts with an intro anchored in Campari’s roots, with animations of architectural motifs based on the Piazza del Duomo in Milan.
The audience then finds itself (virtually) with its feet in the water, which represents the freshness of the first sip … and then finds itself in a maze of doors and windows evoking the possibilities available to us and echoing the Unlock the Unexpected brand signature. The experience ends with a space journey through a starry sky evoking the climax of this sensory journey.

MB: Today, you make music videos, advertising films for brands, artists … For you, do constraints abolish all forms of improvisation in the creative process? 

QD: No, for me, constraints force the mind to find solutions that give rise to new ideas. They also provide a framework for creative thinking. Without this limit, it’s more difficult to stop on a concept or an idea.

MB: Can you refuse a project because of overly complex constraints?
QD: Only if I feel that the constraints stifle creativity and go against my principles.

MB: Your work immediately reminded me of the world of James Turrell. Can you tell us which artists inspire you?
QD: Turrell has always been an artist that I admire and I had the chance to see some of his work on Naoshima Island in Japan. In the same vein, I admire the installations of Leandro Erlich who manipulates reality to make it playful and confusing. On the photographic side, I follow Daniel Sannwald’s work very closely, very much focused on color, like my own.

MB: What installations have impressed you the most?
QD: The installations of the “teamLab” collective in Tokyo, which immerse the public in digital installations, and particularly the one called Planet, which goes barefoot and plays on our sensory perceptions.


MB: You use Instagram to disseminate your personal projects. What impact does it have? In your opinion, has Instagram contributed to your success today?

QD: Totally. It’s through this network that I’ve been able to get my biggest projects, like Nike, Drake, Will Smith … as well as our collaboration with Campari! I use my account as a showcase, a portfolio that could almost replace my website. 

MB: I saw, indeed, an excerpt from Motion Design with Will Smith. Can you tell us a bit more about it? Is it a music video or a commercial?
QD: The idea of these collaborations with Will Smith is to bring a short and artistically strong content on different themes.
It all started with the personal project Dancing Through the Night that I had posted on my Instagram using a song by his son, Jaden, as a soundtrack. Will Smith had spotted it and shared it on his page. After that, his team contacted me to make a first collaboration around dance. So we made a 3D scan of Will Smith’s face and body in Los Angeles and then worked on a first video.
During the quarantine, we collaborated again on a short film that brought a positive message about staying isolated at home: Home becomes a borderless and peaceful place, reflecting the vastness of the mind and the beauty of imagination. And finally, in July, we imagined this short video again based on movement.

MB: In recent years, new influencers have been appearing on social platforms, virtual avatars created by computer codes. These models, singers or musicians have millions of followers and sign contracts with the biggest luxury brands. What do you think about this?

QD: It’s a very interesting topic because it opens infinite possibilities. We are totally in the world of the imagination, and I love the idea of being able to follow the life of a fictional character on our social networks, as you can do throughout an animated film. However, it has to be done intelligently because, like any personality, the choices and actions of this avatar will have very real consequences on the lives of the people who identify with it.

MB: Which artist or brand would you dream of collaborating with?
QD: I would love to collaborate with Louis Vuitton. They dare to do a lot of things, especially since Abloh has been at the helm of the brand’s men’s collections. I was able to go to his pop-up store in Tokyo to see the spring-summer 2019 collection and I was dazzled by the staging. It was a real contemporary art exhibition as well as a showroom. On the music side I have a weakness for Billie Eilish, because of her spontaneity and talent. 

MB: What are your upcoming projects?
QD: I have two campaigns and two clips on fire and, in the submarine, I’m developing a feature film project.

MB: Thank you, Quentin!

offline by Quentin deronzier


1) Your favorite art gallery?

Galerie Perrotin and its programming oriented towards Asian artists.

2) Your last great artistic emotion?

In the world: the island of Naoshima in Japan. A magical artistic route where you can cycle between the different museums.

In Paris:  Atelier des Lumières.

3) Your place of inspiration?

In the world: Tokyo. A vibrant and infinite place.

In and around the Marais: it may seem a bit simple, but it’s the Rose Garden. Between two appointments (and if the weather is nice), I sit in this tiny park in the heart of the Marais to think and write my thoughts.

4) One of your favorite addresses?

The Swedish Café. A simple and quiet place that I used to go to when I lived in Paris seven years ago.

5) Your Proust madeleine?

The Stravinsky Fountain. When I was a child and we used to come to Paris, it intrigued me a lot. I used to stand in front of it and look at the different sculptures until my parents pushed me to move forward.