Interview with Freak City

Freak City is a skillfull illustrator from Bordeaux, France borned in the mid 80's. With a great taste for punk rock and skateboard imagery, you probably already saw some of his illustrations thru the web. Today we're glad to receive this written interview with him, hope you guys enjoy it.

You can see more from Freak City on the following links:






1) First of all I would like to thank you for doing this interview, it's an honor for us to present more about you to our readers. I would like to start asking you about when your interest for illustration and poster art?

For as long as I can remember ! As a young child, I was intrigued and fascinated by cartoons and people who could actually draw them, so I was hooked ! It felt just natural and logical from that point to get more involved with the concept of creating images, art, drawings, cartoons, whatever… It’s really important to notice that for me it was always related to music a lot, so I spent my teenage years drawing artworks for imaginary bands, fantasizing about how the best band should look like. And then later, it was time to create flyers and covers for my own bands, my friends’ and for people who started noticing that something was happening in the crazy-but-fun-punk-mutants style!

2) Which artists do you use as reference?

So many that It’s impossible to list them properly ! I’m always curious and willing to learn about history of visual arts and stuff. So, graphical references are equally important as musical ones, but cinema, cartoons, politics, literature and many other things come to mind too. That said, I could probably name Charles Burns and Jim Phillips as main obvious drawing influences, but also Joost Swarte, Jano, Escher, Bosch or Memphis Design as essential parts of my world. I’m just too curious and passionate to limit myself to one art form.

3) Your style is quite influenced by skateboard graphics and poster art. How did you develop this style and how would you describe it?

Like I said, it was natural cause I was a punk rock kid who skateboarded from an early age. I was always impressed by how a drawing could be powerful and expressive. There was so much fun and aggression in the skate/punk rock department that it was obviously attractive and meaningful for a nasty brat ! And very important, I could relate to people who drew these things, cause they were grown-up kids who hadn’t really changed since their teen years. Those pictures really described the way I felt as a teenager, and it hasn’t really changed since then ! Pissed off for sure, but always with a lot of humor ! It’s pretty much something that I can’t get rid of, even if I wanted to.

4) Describe us a bit about your creative process while creating a piece.

I rarely start from random sketches. I hate drawing in a rush, even if it tends to happen more lately as I’ve been overbooked a lot. I’m kinda slow to start, I need to search and think a lot about my subjects to understand what I’m doing, synthesize informations and finally get the good idea. Then It’s about time to sketch, make roughs, scan and send them to clients and see if something has to be changed. If the graphic design needs a strong structure and architecture, I might help myself with Photoshop to build strong lines. I will then ink the full drawing before coloring it digitally, depending on what media i’m working on. These are the basics of everyday illustration, what i mostly do, but that might change a bit if i’m painting or working on a screenprinted poster. Then it’s all about learning new tricks to get better and more efficient at what I’m doing!

5) What's the best thing about working with illustration and what is the worst?

The best thing is obviously having to work on something you totally love. Creating a unique and personal world that you evolve in everyday, and to which people can relate to. Being psyched on every new project, making it an integral part of your global direction and just loving it. Managing to draw something that came straight from your brains is just a great feeling. The worst is always having to deal with people, in the sense that it’s sometimes really hard to understand each other. It’s a real challenge, part of what makes it exciting, but it can also be a real pain in the ass. It’s just a matter of good communication, and I hate when I can’t communicate properly with people to help things get better.

6) How do you describe your daily routine? Do you have any hobbies?

Wake up at 8am, breakfast, check emails, start drawing and working until i’m too tired to think straight. During this living hell, i might have been practicing with my band, riding around to get some fresh air, and listening to music full time. This might seem dull and unfun but i need the discipline to help myself, concentrate and be efficient. Then when i think i’ve been good enough and deserve a little break, it’s hobbies time ! Which in my case are plenty, i’m all about sports, music, reading a lot, spending time with my girlfriend and whatnot. I just wish i had more time for hobbies, even if my job is also one.

7) What is your favorite media so far?

Paintbrush and ink on a nice cream paper ! Inking in black China ink is the thing I love the most, as I’m not a big digital guy. Also, the process of screenprinting is something both really exciting and hard, it requires a lot a patience and precision, I love that too. That said, I really need to explore new medias to get a better perspective of my own work, and what I tried so far, as different medias go, was really motivating : Bodypainting, murals, animation… I really want to invest myself more into these disciplines and give my work new options.

8) Tell us five lessons you believe are really important for every illustrator.

Even though I’m not the oldest illustrator around, I already learnt some very valuable lessons.

1. Mistakes are natural parts of progression, so you gotta accept to make them and learn the most from what you did wrong.

2. That said, don’t make the same mistake twice!!!

3. Never forget that your career is a personal choice, so think of all the positive aspects of it when times are tough.

4. Learn to listen from people around you, and don’t pretend to be 100% right all the time. People’s advices and tastes are important, it will give you a better perspective of a work you don’t always have a good hindsight of.

5. Always aim for the best. Give 200%. You gotta be your hardest critic and simply demand the best from yourself.

9) Tell us five websites that you like to visit.

I’m checking daily, run by a friend of mine, and all about cold and dark music, literature, cinema and whatnot. Also, my girlfriend runs the company Atelier Kobalt, so i always go there and check what’s up, cause i also work on the project :

Apart from that, i confess that i kinda lost interest in surfing on the web, so i mostly check online portfolios, cause I’m always curious about what’s being created. I like to visit many different websites, but honestly I couldn’t name you 5 that I’m totally addicted to.

10)Thanks again for your time, please leave a final message for the ones who are starting out on this kind of business.

Always remember that this job is a dream job, even with its negative aspects. It can be excruciating and nervebreaking sometimes, but it still is something that we chose to do ourselves, since we were children. Don’t let that dream fade away, but be ready to suffer for it. It demands time and effort, but it’s worthwhile.

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