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Interview: Lowpop

Lowpop, or Ringot Baptiste, is a 25 year-old graphic designer from France, and I had the pleasure of interviewing him for Abduzeedo. Thanks for the opportunity of having you here. I really like your work. So, tell me a bit of how did you start and discover that you wanted be a designer? Well, it's been a long road to get there... I screwed up school, was kind of a lost and violent teenager, and also passionate by street art, and photography. i was taking my lessons in sort of graffiti fonts, and always stealing the teachers markers and else ( i apologize for that, really :p ). And then i stopped school, and stopped the whole thing too. I started to play guitar, several hours a day, and when i had my first serious rock band, from the first hours i wanted to participate to the visual stuffs. And it's how it came back. I had my computer ( an old crappy shit ), a photoshop 7.0 version, and later bought a digital camera. And i spent nights, trying to learn on my own the rules of design, what to do, what NOT to do, why this font works better or not.. And it took me a long long time, i wasn't aware of the tutorials or else. And anyway, never really liked to learn with " lessons " , i always think it's better to learn everything on your own, even if it's quite longer... It's like in music, you study everything you hear, you swallow it, slowly digest it, but when it comes out , it's your own shit. And from the day i realized i was spending much more time on photoshop or any other design softs than on my guitar, i thought " that's what you wanna do ". How do you come up with those amazing ideas and effects? Tips on how to create those effects? Wow. That's quite of a good question i never asked myself. The fact is : I'm kind of a tortured mind, every second of every minute there's something in my head, something i'm thinking about, worrying about, forgetting about... So it's a complete mess in my head. Hard to handle sometimes. And my ideas come the same way. I've never been in the street thinking " hey ! i'm gonna take a pandabear and a beautiful lady, put a yellow background and some of this some of that " In my way of thinking it's a bit restricting. And i know i have a bad way of work : i just open a new empty photoshop document, seek the internet for elements, and go. But it's the way it works for me. Even if, thanks to my friend Kawo, i tend to change this way of working, for a more professional way. So my ideas come from everywhere and nowhere at the same time, from my mind or from the street, anything.. And tips to create effects ? Damn, i don't know, try everything in your softwares, even things that would make you think " no way, it can't work " and you'll see, sometimes, it works great. And never stop to watch nature, everything is in nature, it's one of the design rule i prefer. Tell us a bit of your career? Favorite project you worked on? Toughest project? My career is so so new ! i've started to work in july for wonderful people i met when i moved on Lille ( North of France ), still thanks to my friend kawo. I kinda have to get my ideas straighter, more accurate, more focused. 'Cause it's a fresh new world for me, and i have to make my place in it. So i can't say i have a big career for the moment, but it's cool this way, i need things to go quietly at the beginning. And two weeks ago, i became creative director for Epoch, a brand new collective that will, i hope, make some noise !!! My favorite project is the one at the moment, i work with a band called Skip The Use, they're one of the greatest bands i've seen, and i have to design every visual piece for them, it's a real pleasure. And it's also the toughest one, i want something perfect for them, and it takes time ! And, advertising time, i'm available for any commissions ! Who are the designers you like and inspire you? And what sites do you visit, or what do you do to get inspiration? Damn, there are so many... Since i've discovered how internet can bring talents to your door, i can't stop watching folios and sites... I'm a huge huge Fan of Takeshi (TKSH), this guy is just so brilliant, and his style begins to be simpler and simpler, i love it... I wanted to drop his name particularly 'cause that's one of the first that made me say " wow ". There's also Neil Duerden, who is just a f**kin master in what he does. All his pieces are just perfect. Craig Shields is a killer, Nelson Balaban due to his age makes you feel washed up.. And there are so many... I have books, magazines, plenty of those, full of talents and inspiring things, there's no limit.. Even your friend who just caught photoshop on the internet and destroyed a picture can be inspiring.. For the sites i visit : plenty of blogs, i have discovered abduzeedo a year ago, and still visit it, DeviantArt is a huge huge community.. it's a no end list, i also visit fashion sites, photographers folio, EVERYTHING related ( or not ) to what i like.. Tell us about the apps you use? How long have you been using them? Well well well... I use photoshop a lot, it's really the main tool. Even if i use illustrator on the side, or even Cinema 4D sometimes, it's always to import elements in a photoshop documents. I feel more comfy this way. And i bought myself a huge huge amount of paintings, pencils, papers, cissors, from all sorts, that i wanna use soon. I love the idea of shutting down everything, go at a desk, and draw, paint, cut, anything. But i don't take time for that.. Soon, i hope. It's been two years i use photoshop, one for illustrator ( learned it at school, very useful tool ). And i also know Indesign well, and Quark Xpress too. And i'm working on After Effects when i have time, cause it's really fun to make your things move ! ( but.. Being good at AE is a full time work... ) What about your hardware? I mainly work on a 17" laptop cause i often have to move, but it's powerful enough for everything i need. Well... almost... But i also have a PC with the good old windows XP on it, i think i'm gonna leave it only if it dies cause it works well. And if i have to buy something soon, it's gonna be a 24" imac. This thing is incredible, and the screen is outstanding. I'm not a huge geek in computers, but i guess what i use is enough. Again, thanks for the opportunity of talking to you. One last question: Any advice for designers out there, who, like me are willing to improve their skills and become a master? You're welcome. I'm nobody in the world of design for the moment, so it's a great chance for me to be interviewed here... And so thanks to you ! And i'm still a padawan in design, so i guess the best advice i could give is " listen to the advices of the masters ! " haha ;o) Lowpop can be found at: