Seb Cazes


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Tell us about your latest comicbook Le dresseur de chevreuils ambitextres!

Well, it began in autumn 2008 with the idea of creating a silkscreen illustration book. During my hibernation, I was thinking about images and texts, finally I started to work on a kind of story made up from dreams, automatic writings, and texts I had done… the mixture of all of these made a narration and finally I said to the publisher it would be a comic-book. I spent the whole winter writing and drawing it, so the story is kind of absurd and surrealistic, darkly funny, and the drawings are inspired from my trips, to Canada, California, Portugal, Russia, and Paris… the urban aesthetic aspect is very important, and the notion of nature too (I went to California to explore the giant sequoias groves and forests for example, it’s a place where nature is huge in every single aspect, so you can’t help being different after a trip like that).

I needed to draw a boy so i started to draw myself, so I could finally say in the beginning of the book «this is a true story», which is another absurd aspect of it.

The book was published in June 2009 and can be found in good indy book-shops in France (an English translation is available) or  you can order one from me.

Your “Corps” mixed-media series is very interesting. What inspired you during creation and what was the core concept?

This work is not recent, it was a commission for an exhibition. Each time I make an exhibition somewhere, it is a means to give myself a theme to work on, the kind of thing I dont have the time to do during the year if I don’t make an exhibition for it. The theme was the «body» but I wanted to deal with it with the notion of texture. In the Annecy animation festival in 2002, I saw a giant exhibition of Eva and Jan Svankmajer, that was so impressive and different. You could see of course all the texture they use in their work that is essential, but besides that you could see that they use persons not only to see their works, but to feel them too. You could touch things and try to find what it deals with. I remembered their work and tried to do something like that. An exhibition around the body but with the texture as an essential aspect of it. So this is not only paint, this is a whole long work for many years when you keep hundreds of things, old books, old boxes, old dolls etc, you know that one day you’ll just use them and that day arrived with this theme.

It was a need even if most of the time that need exists deep inside of me even if my main way of expressing myself is to draw. It’s a work about texture, accumulation, recycling, it’s a mix between a painting and a cabinet of curiositie.
Give us a brief description of your day schedule.

In winter I spend my time sleeping and dreaming my life.

Generally I wake up in the morning one time in two I’m in a bad mood because pigeons make too much noise and I hate them. Most of the time the weather is nice so there’s enough light to get me in a good mood. Then I always open my shutters, light my computer and see what’s on it. I put good music (Electrelane for example) because I don’t like silence (silence means pigeons). Then I think of what I should do in the day, commission works, personal works etc, and then I go to sleep again because I’m too tired from my night. I try to work on things and organize myself to be more efficient and that’s an everyday problem. Then I eat a broccoli and drink hundreds of litres of coffee. Sometimes I go riding my bike in the forest too. I have to pick my daughter up at school -she’s 6- and do things with her.

Then the beginning of the evening and night is like a second day for me because it’s the part of the day I’m more efficient in everything. So I generally do millions of things at night time. And of course I see nobody during the day because I’m a bear and the only things I like about human beings is their (vegetarian) food.
Your interest in graphics reflects through your poster designs. Which of your projects was the most intriguing and creative?

The commission works for poster graphic designs are very important. That was my first professional commission in the 90’s and I have to do loads in a year. What’s great is that most of the time, I’m free and don’t have so many constraints. That’s the nice part of working for the cultural domain. Some posters are more «classical» because clients want them to be like that, but some others are completely free. And for years and years, I try to develop this aspect, of being «free» in creation. I mean, not having any constraints in my work, or the very least that I can. When you feel free you’re more creative and it’s essential to feel like this to do a good job. So I don’t really know which one is the most intriguing and creative…

I like the ones that mix the themes I’m used to working with like, accumulation, surrealism, poetic aspect, and texture…
Share your top five art bookmarks.

3 German friends (Anja Struck, Lars Henkel, Mario Wagner) and great artists in illustration, animation shorts and graphic-design !
The website of Italian artist Blu, who does nice sketches and amazing pixilation animations (paintings in the street or warehouses etc)
Mungbeing. A cool online Californian art magazine, I have collaborated with them for a few months now…

Le Dernier Cri, French silkscreen killers
Fecal Face. This San Francisco-based gallery is also a great means to discover interesting illustrators

What is your favorite media and why?

I like drawing and painting, I like my pens, brushes and Indian ink,  I like watercolour, and acrylic…

These are the things that inspire me the most, to see, and to do.

But all these things inspire me. I like seeing Joseph Cornell boxes as well as Louise Bourgeois installations, I like collages, photography, Japanese inks, as well as comics or 2D animation, creating is a need and the media is just a tool that must serve your inspiration, of course sometimes it‘s the contrary, and you can find accidents by searching for something that you finally don‘t find (when you paint, in Photoshop, etc etc)

My basis (so my favorite thing ?) is to draw and/or write in sketch books, different sized ones, I do sketch books all the time, for the last 15 years, i have tons, it’s my ideas, it’s my life, i do travel-sketch books too, actually i never stop. This is the way i create, because creation depends on everything you see and meet in your life. I need to eat all of this and digest it in sketch books first. This is the most spontaneous way to get to an idea. Spontaneity is as essential as all the research you can do for a project. It’s equal. So maybe, my favorite media is, just a pen and a paper, because it’s the basis of my language, the beginning of the end.
Give us a sneak peak of your future plans.

I have some books to be published when I can, 2 children’s picture books, one called «The Very Little Circus» and the other «But Flood» with illustrator Abigail Whitehouse, both books deal with strange and surrealistic worlds. They’re nearly finished.

I’m also working on another comic-book, it’s a personal project called «Lunacy Kunavore», which will be a 2D/volume animation film too.

Also I started to work on a comic-book written by Tarek, «The Concierge», which should be published one day I guess.

More news in spring 2010...

Seb Cazes