On the cover: Picture by Yves Martin Allard
Text and pictures by Julien Gagnon / @fuji_ju
After landing in Montreal to work as a graphic designer, LSNR made his place in the Montreal art scene through his collaborations with fashion brands, music artists, exhibitions and his recent participation to MURAL Festival in 2018. Last December, the MURAL team paid him a visit to learn more about his journey, his inspirations and future projects.
Would you like to start by introducing yourself a little? Tell us about your journey from France to here.
I arrived in Montreal in 2013 from the French Alps, where I was a graphic designer. After landing, I was doing one contract after the other, long enough to secure the right visa. As soon as I obtained my residency, I focused on my artistic projects. That was about a year and a half ago. Now, I can say that I’m able to live off my art!
How would you say your fine arts education influences your work?
When I was a teenager, I was really into graffiti, but my career didn’t last very long. After I had some run-ins with the police, I was a little off. So, I turned to pen-and-paper. I loved characters and illustrations. I went to a very technical applied arts school, where I focused on comics, graphic design and illustration.
There are really two facets to my practice. One is much more intuitive, inspired by comic book characters, graffiti, illustration. I don’t really care about proportions, it’s cartoonish. On the flipside, I have this deliberate, graphic design style with a limited colour palette, straight lines and defined shapes.
For the MURAL Festival you painted a piece over the City Paint store which showcases well-known Montreal landscapes. What were your inspirations?
I read lots of street art magazines. Early on, I read ones with character designs that were straight-up graffiti, like the stuff Amose used to do. My landscape designs are much more recent, I started developing this aesthetic not that long ago. What inspired me was the work of artists I discovered late, like Moebius (co-creator of the The Incal comics with Jodorowsky). I was taken aback by his minimalist landscapes. Clean flat colours, that breathe. I was also inspired Eyvind Earle, a Disney illustrator who did a ton of landscapes on the side. Also, I greatly enjoy the simplicity of Japanese woodblock stamps.
You worked on collabs with fashion brands like Le Cartel painted murals drew vinyl album covers and also worked on illustration projects. Do you have a favorite medium?
I enjoy working on vectorial drawings in Adobe Illustrator, but my go-to medium really is pen-and-paper because of the tactile aspect and the flow of the movement. That’s something that’s missing from digital supports. Digital is too clean, too sanitized. Although, to be fair, I’ve recently started working with an iPad with a stylus and I like it quite a lot.
You and Le Monstr landed a residency exploring themes around climate changes issues at Lyon’s Superposition Gallery during the Fall of 2018. Tell us about it!
Yes! The residency took place in a completely empty shopping mall where the gallery invited about 20 artists to occupy the space, paint on every surface and create whatever we wanted during the time they gave us. I covered a ten-meter wall and we ended up putting together a group show which garnered considerable success. A big thank you to my buddy Monstr who suggested me for this project and to the Superposition Gallery for their great welcome and everything else!
This winter you’ll be finalizing a project in the Quartier des Spectacles neighborhood in collaboration with MURAL and the City of Montreal. What’s in store for this popular downtown spot?
Quartier des Spectacles got in touch with MURAL and asked the team to come up with something to give life to a construction project that will last two years. It will be a large palisade situated at the corner of Sainte-Catherine and Clark. It’s going to be an accessible, simple graphic design piece. The piece will give a nod to some of the neighbourhood’s landmarks and to what’s coming once the construction will be over.
Finally what’s next?
I want to focus on my personal projects. When you’re an independent artist and out of school, there’s nothing to force you to grow and evolve. I sometimes feel like I’m hitting a creative plateau.
So, right now, I want to get back to sketching, do some observation and research to get back into the gestures of drawing.
I’d also like to create more unique pieces like paintings.
I loved making collabs with music labels for album covers last year. So, that’s also something I’d want to dabble with again.
Eventually, I think I would even want to work with effect pedals manufacturers. Pedals are a perfect canvas for little designs. It would be a great way to mix visual arts and music.