KG: Hey Julien, tell us a little about yourself and maybe color your universe for us.
Julien: Julien, 51, artist and graphic designer. Muse of the bowl cut in the 70s. Master of the moonwalk in junior high. Drummer who survived the Cold Wave in Brittany. Experimenter of Letraset and Rhodoïd, I knew Canaletto before I saw Venice. Approached the theory of everything, torn like Villeglé, in a Roman amphitheater with help from a Rolling Stones blotter.
After a short stopover at King's Cross, I board Bill Viola's raft, direction Paris. I arrive soaked, leave burned out six years later. Heatwave. No doubt, it will be her, my "nuit américaine." Southbound, across the strait, to the Atlas. Then New York, Shanghai, Washington, Taipei, Ljubljana. Finally, plant my flag in the French Alps in 2020. I Cut, Paste (Color Please), Paint, Trace, Sketch, Draw.
When and how did you find out about NFTs?
Julien: January 2021. I posted a digital drawing on LinkedIn. An acquaintance commented NFT!? I replied, "Not For Trolls?"
KG: “Mica schist is a metaphoric rock. I saw metamorphoses there. I saw these little beings born from the mineral, I was able to observe them in their intimacy and the color was thus revealed..” this is an extract from the description of your work on “Animists” that highlights different forms of rocks as singular figurines, collaged in a single image, represented by different colors, this is also not so far from the Circus Series – talk a bit about this style of pop art collaging and what it represents in these pieces.
Julien: My collages draw from different sources to create a sort of visual cacophony. I often incorporate objects from my immediate surroundings, like the stones I photographed for "Animists" or torn posters on city billboards that appear in several different series. I also find inspiration in topographical maps, old iconography, and engravings. My "Heads" series, for example, superimposes some of my colorful iPad drawings onto faded old daguerreotypes. Color can open the doors of perception and make us see the world differently. For my "Terra Incognita" series, I colored fragments of maps to create abstract compositions that each person interprets differently.
KG: Your work is very referential to some of the most incredible and highly lauded artists, like Basquiat and David Hockney. How important is re-imagination in your work? And what role does it play in the final output?
Julien: Art is all about interpretation and re-interpretation. It's an aesthetic flow of languages, eras, and styles that echo one another. It might seem paradoxical for me, as a digital artist, to say this, but I firmly believe that the great masterpieces are still in museums, not on our iPhones, and I draw much of my inspiration from the past -- which often appears juxtaposed with the contemporary in my artwork.
KG: As an artistic director that has been practicing for more than 20 years, what would say has been the biggest change for you coming into the NFT space?
Julien: I'm currently focused on shifting from design projects with digital agencies to exhibiting original artwork. This is an ongoing work in progress, as it is extremely difficult to make a living as an artist. Although I have dabbled a bit in NFTs, my artwork is primarily geared toward the physical world, not the Metaverse. My digital creations offer a different visual experience in print form. Not only does print enable me to optimize color rendering, but many of my series are large format (1x1 meter or larger), not intended to be confined to a screen.
KG: No doubt that Web3 has and is continuing to unlock opportunities for creators through new platforms like DoinGud that help artists leverage NFTs, social tokens, and DAO infrastructure to create new economic models around creativity and fan engagement.
However, there’s still a lot of skepticism and backlash about the space, either because of the growing amounts of scams, a fairly large percentage of the works on some of the platforms being plagiarized works, or market manipulation.
What do you think in your opinion would be solutions that can be implemented to curb some of these rising issues that are negatively affecting the ecosystem?
Julien: As someone who is still trying to figure out what NFT is and what it means for the future of art, it would be presumptuous of me to try to offer any words of wisdom on this subject. Let's just hope it doesn't turn out to be a New Form of Tyranny ;)
Who are some of your favorite creators right now in the space that you think should be getting more love – Please share them with us
I love the paintings of Nick McPhail and Joël Bigaignon. Mike McQuade creates amazing collages. Etiene Crauss's digital work is also worth a look.
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