ITW : Gonzague


Hey Alex
Hey there

Who’s that Gonzague ? your sort of evil twin ?
Nobody really. I’ve been using that name for quite a while now, till i created my own graphic design & creative direction studio, called House of Gonzague. It all started many years go, lonely child growing up in a remote place with tons of imaginary worlds… Gonzague is a part of that.
now it’s a name for my company, a way of creating a distance between what i am and what i do.

Why did you pick Gonzague ? Because it sounds French ? Because it sounds aristocrat ? Both ?
It really works with your sophisticated art, by the way.

Gonzague is just the outstanding survivor in a bunch of other “characters”. I like the way it sounds, for sure, the french aristocratic feeling there is to it… but it all started with a teenage-historic-fantasy really, no dark secret behind it… i promise : )

How were you as a teenager ?
I so wanna know.

Dreamy, i guess. Kind of a loner. always enjoyed drawing, fantasizing about stories, music videos, animated images, athmospheres. that’s pretty much it, a dreamy, lanky guy wearing skateboarder-look-alike clothes and a bad, real bad haircut.

Greasy ? Spiky ?

Definetely spiky. with shitty blonde highlights.

Hahaha j’adore.
So how did you become a graphic designer ?
Where did you study ?

I attended ESAD, in Reims, France. A small design school, with real good workshops and teachers, such as Laurent Fetis or Pierre Charpin. Graduated a Masters degree in Visual Communication in 2005, and then… off to New York city.

What did you do in New York, apart from enjoying nightlife and Brooklyn hotties ?
Sounds like you’ve been there as well… : )

What happens in NYC stays in NYC
I went there to work for a creative studio called Base
it’s a network of design agencies, originally from Brussels. They now have many agencies worldwide, working on fashion/luxury oriented projects, and cultural institutions as well… helped me get the strong experience i missed at school.
Really had the best of times there on both professional and human fields.

How would you define your style ?
I work my best not to have one. I don’t see myself as an artist or an illustrator, which implies i try not to lock myself up in a aesthetic signature. I like it much better when I’m challenged to produce something that doesnt look like what i usually do on my own. I think it’s what’s most important about being an Art director… focusing on what’s best for every project/client, and not applying your graphic identity to every single thing you create.

Who are the artists that you like ? Do they have an influence on your art ? What are the other influences on your work ?
Well, inspiration is kind of the key notion when working. i don’t think we’re in a position where we, graphic designers and so on, can really create something totally new. I sometimes feel like everything has been done/processed/experienced already…but we can do our best to reinvent, blend different styles, make something new from various sources from the past… you see it a lot today….ancient greece meets fluorescent meets art deco… i think what we have to offer is a new perspective on what already is a part of our visual culture, a brand new vision of our neverending graphic background. I personaly tend to be influenced by contemporary works from various design studios that i like, Petronio Associtates, Non-Format, Homework, Vasava… or graphic artists such as Mat Maitland, Si Scott, Stéphane Manel, Laurent Fétis… people with much more experience but who travel in the same waters as i do.

You have two websites. One for fun and one for work ?
You got it right. one is a corporate portfolio of fully processed projects, the other is more spontaneous, and features unselected works, random try-outs, playlists.

That’s really cool, we can see what you’ve already accomplished and the variety of what you have in mind, including your great playlists.
Oh thanks : )

What is the project you’re the most proud of ?
I guess i’ll pick the window display design for french luxury house Hermes in collaboration with art director Jean-Michel Bertin. It has been a great source of creative enjoyment : ) i designed a global system of cardboard animated landscapes last fall, and we came up with this idea of mirror animal silhouettes for Xmas, which has been displayed in all stores in France. It was exciting working on such a large scale project, with real creative freedom, and a great pleasure to work with Jean-Michel, who is a great art director and set designer.

Is there some project right now, that you would like to develop ?
And generally, who would you like to work with ? for ?

I wish i had more time to work on self-initiated projects. i would love to give birth to a web-based magazine, with animated fashion series, video, sound… we’ll see. On a more general level, i haven’t worked on music artwork yet, and i must say it’s something i would be real excited about.
If i could choose the dream-person to work with/for… Fabien Baron, of course. (Fabien, if you ever happen to read this, please call me) but if i want to be pragmatic, i’d say that working with larger creative studios, with more experience, wider network, could be very interesting. I’ve been working on my own for a few years now, working on various stuff… but i still think i have a lot to learn from others.
Oh, and i would love to work for department store Le Bon Marché. Don’t ask me why, i have a big fantasy about working for them, on products/objects. I’m also considering working hand-in-hand with furniture/object designers… lots of fascinating things are happening in the object design field right now.

Thanks Alex ! We’re on Chat Cheri, would you please draw me some chat cheri ?
Thank you ! I sure will.



Les cool cats de Paris se sont rencardés ce weekend au Yellow Store, pour y découvrir la Air Force 1 de Busy P aux couleurs de Livestrong, aux côtés de créations 100% Cool Cats. Livestrong, c’est la fondation du superchampion Lance Armstrong qui récolte des fonds au profit de la luttre contre le cancer. Je vous parle de l’expo Nike Stages à la Galerie Perrotin une autre fois.
To meet Paris coolest cats last weekend, you just had to drop by the Yellow Store, and discover the Livestrong Busy P Air Force 1, next to Cool Cats creations. Livestrong is superchampion Lance Armstrong’s foundation, and collects funds for the research to fight cancer. There is also an incredible Nike Stages exhibition at Paris Galerie Perrotin that I will soon write about.

Photos Jean Picon