French graphic designer, Genevieve Gauckler created the cover design for this issue. She creates images by “sampling” different kinds of things into an image such as pictures, characters or everyday items. Her most unique style is “Mandala”.
Genevieve was recently featured in “design and designers”, a series published by Pyramyd. Looking at her works in the series evoke a happy, lively and enjoyable experience.

Can you please introduce yourself?

Genevieve Gauckler. I’m a french graphic designer. I’ve been working on my own for 12 years in different fields : print, video, web. After graduating from the Arts Deco school in Paris in 1991, I started collaborating with the french electronic music label F Communications (Laurent Garnier, StGermain, Shazz, ScanX…). From 1995 to 1999, I worked with the directors Kuntzel & Deygas (videos for Dimitri from Paris, Sparks, commercials for the Yves Saint Laurent Live Jazz perfume, various short films…). In 1999, I was hired by the swedish e-commerce start-up to create an online style magazine. While in London, I also worked with Me Company. In 2001I moved back to Paris at which point I started making illustrations and character design.

What project are you working on now?

I’m doing loads of different stuff ! Now I feel confortable with the technical side of any medium, I really enjoy jumping from one to another. That’s why now I’m working on illustration, graphic design for books, videos (with Pleix) and art (Mandalas).

You released your portfolio-style book as a part of the Design & Designer series from Pyramyd in February this year. Could you tell me how it got started?

The publishers said that they wanted me to be part of the collection, and asked if I would. At first I said no because I didn’t think I had enough stuff to show. But they made a lay-out test and it worked. So I said OK. I selected the work I wanted to be published and they made the rest.

I feel I drop into a wonderland when I see your characters and your own world starts spreading there. How do you create and then give life to them?

I create them by sampling shapes I find – I’ve got a big database – and mix them with simple, basic shapes like circles, lines. The process is easy but time-consuming. I make a lot of photos of everything, I collect CDs with illustrator files that are usually ugly, and then I sample them, like in music, I select some part of each image and I just pick up in this new databank to recreate a new image. Creating a character is easy : just one circle for the body, two circles for the eyes, two lines for the arms, etc. They don’t have any special face expression, that’s why everyone can project the emotion one wants to project. The context and background is also very important. I made a comic book, “L’Arbre Genialogique” with some black & white characters and it works, I realized I could even write a story. It was a Great experience.

Mandala style images consist of every day stuff like cars, flowers, cables, chopsticks etc… Typically they are objects that have never come into contact before and yet they create a wonderful image. How did you come up this style of creation? Can you tell me how to create them and what you are expressing through these images?

Technically, I wanted to enlarge the process I had with vector shapes to bitmap shapes, photographs and to mix everything. At the begininng, the idea was to make like a abstract sculpture with photos and now I prefer them to look like a character, for example like a indian totem or a buddhist divinity. It’s funny to turn something banal into something magic, even religious. At the first sight, it looks like something magical but when you look closer, it’s just a conglomerate of cell phones, wires, products you find in your kitchen. I like the idea of the magic and beauty of the banality, of the everyday life. It’s a question of how you look at things.

You are working as a member of Pleix Group, aren’t you? I saw your works on the website where you seem to create mainly motion graphics that incorporate sound. What are the interesting points in motion graphics compared to still images?

Yes, I’m one of the seven members of Pleix, a collective which we set up two years ago. Animating a still image is just a great way to add some life to it. For me, who started working in the print area, there’s something definitely magic about making an image move. Working with BLEIP (Jean-Philippe Deslandes, the musician inside Pleix) made me realize how important music and sound design is.

Could you tell me more about Pleix?

Pleix is a collective of 7 people, created in 2001. We create motion graphics and films. Some of us are 3D artists, some others graphic designers and one musician, Bleip, who also does the editing. So far, we’ve made self-initiated projects (E-baby, Sometimes, Clicks, No) and some music videos (Athlete, Futureshock) and we aim to make more music videos and very soon some commercials. We don’t work alltogether on each project but as micro-teams, like 2 or 4. It’s not a rigid association, it’s not a company, it’s not even a place (we don’t have any office), it’s more a network of friends who share their skills and ideas. I’m one of them and I do some graphics and animation.

Is there currently an interesting movement in Paris (or France), a creative scene?

I’m looking for the new wave of graphic designers, younger than me, and I don’t see them. Where are the next M/M ?

Could you tell me the concept of Shift cover design this month?

The next step for me is to mix my b&w vector characters with photos as background and to give them life, to create a story, to add some emotion to illustration.

What is your vision for the future?

I want to continue developing my style, to go further in creating stories : comic books and short films. I want to also keep working with Pleix on music videos and commercials. I like the idea of working both alone and within a team.

Please leave a message for our readers.

I love the japanese culture. One of my ultimate dreams is to go to Tokyo, Kyoto and anywhere in the japanese countryside because I would like to meet Totoro.

Genevieve Gauckler
Address: 17 avenue Trudaine 75009 Paris, France
Tel: +33 1 40 23 04 13

Text: Naoko Fukushi

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