OFFF Review: Merging Traditional Handicraft And Digital Art

OFFF Review: Merging Traditional Handicraft And Digital Art

PSFK talks to graphic designer Julien Vallee at OFFF Paris.

Catalina Kulczar-Marin
  • 9 july 2010

The three-day OFFF festival showcases top digital artists, web, print and interactive designers, motion graphics studios, musicians, and more. PSFK was at OFFF Paris recently, and  had the opportunity to talk with Julien Vallee.

Vallee is a Montreal-based graphic designer and art director who’s clients have included MTV, the New York Times Magazine, and Swatch. His work often merges traditional handicraft and digital art while encompassing aspects from graphics, sculpture, and video.

You spoke about the importance of being wrong and collaboration – can you elaborate?

“We tend to forget to try new things, and at school, we are there to learn. In the end, in the field (on the job) most of the people have a title and stick to it – what’s great about being freelance is that you can wear many titles and try new things. I notice by working with students that they are really ready to make mistakes and this is something you cannot see in most big agencies or people that are well established – they cannot make mistakes because they are professionals and may be ashamed.”

You talked about the tactile movement vs. computers – can you talk about that in more depth?

“I think we separate the two of them, while they actually fit well together and they should be supported by each other. There’s this massive, tangible and tactile movement that everyone is trying to go into – clients are asking for the same thing. I think the biggest problem is the mood board – you show a client and they stick to what they saw; the client thinks that this is THE way to go and I think we should not avoid using computers…I wouldn’t really mind just working full time with computers if I think the project is suited best for that; to me, that [work with paper & various tangible materials] started because I really wanted to put my hands on material – physically – and I think this is something that will remain in my work but I don’t think I should stick to using the same color and material and this is the problem right now – everyone is doing paper!”

How was it that you began using paper to create your projects?

“I was a student and didn’t have money – if I wanted to do a 3D project, I didn’t have the tools to sculpt or the budget, so paper seemed to be the easiest way for me to start and create projects.”

Can you talk about the different roles you take on in a project, start to finish?

“It’s mainly because I think we should not stick to a bead idea if we feel at the end it doesn’t fit the project. Sometimes I’m in the studio, ready to take the final shot [still photography or video] and I feel there’s something missing – I don’t hesitate to react to this and that’s why I want to be involved in the project – if I feel at the end it’s tried and just because you showed the client [mood boards] and they agreed.  I think it’s trust; the client knows what he wants to promote and sell but you know how to make it happen.  If you can establish this trust from the beginning I think it helps your process.”

Watch a sample of Julien’s work below:

OFFF Paris 2010 Sponsors titles from Julien Vallée on Vimeo.

Thanks Julien!


Julien Vallee


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