Guidelines and instructions are what one usually looks over in preparation for creating something extra special. Whether itâ€™s putting together a table, doing a school project, or molding a sculpture to be placed in a museum, works of art are meant to look like they took a bit of time and consideration. But sometimes, following the rules doesnâ€™t produce lasting effects—Julien Rivoire can attest to this. The man behind Bastardgraphics adheres to no restrictions and uses no certified regulations in his graphics. Like a child born without a father, Bastardgraphics are produced without direction from the one who planted the seeds of creativity within every chosen artist.
Julien, a native of Lyon, France, is just an ordinary guy with an extraordinary vision. Big colorful graphics that range from portraits to abstract tee-shirt graphics are a few of his fortes. He is a self-taught artist who preferred to read books to find his way. Involvement with endeavors such as the PLAY collective, an array of video and animation collections, have contributed to expanding his unruly artistic methods, helping him create freeze frames to make up the portfolio of Bastardgraphics.
â€œI try to impress myself first, or just be happy with what I’ve done. I also like to make people smile and appreciate my artwork.â€
Format: Where did you grow up and how was the artistic environment there?
Julien Rivoire: I grew up in Lyon, France. My parents had some art books and beautiful books about nature, people, and architecture. My artistic environment became stronger when I was a teenager—magazines, skateboard designs, sleeve design etc. I was suddenly more sensitive to graphic stuffs, art, music, and all those creative fields.
Format: Were you raised in a strict household? Did your family members ever discourage you from doing art?
Julien Rivoire: My parents gave me freedom to do art studies. My father went to the Fine Arts School in Lyon in the late â€˜60s; heâ€™s a very good painter and drawer. So we used to visit nice places when I was a child, like museums, churches, and castles. I found it boring when I was a kid, but now I would like to do it again.
Format: Do you feel like Lyon gets as much recognition as Paris? How is it different?
Julien Rivoire: The city is a lot smaller, but it’s the second biggest city in France. We have less events here than in Paris, but it began to change two or three years ago. The cool thing is that many creative peopleâ€“music, graphic design, illustration, photographsâ€“are connected here due to the size of the city. We used to meet in the same places, at the same parties, in the same bars. I’ve met some great people thanks to that. We have a lot to do in Lyon contrary to Paris.
Format: When did you first begin to take an interest in graphics?
Julien Rivoire: By doing some graphics for my friends: stickers, sleeve designs for our burned CDs, and t-shirt designs. It wasn’t very nice but I liked that. The idea of working as a freelancer or in my own studio was a dream to me too.
Format: How were you discovered, or how did people begin to notice your art?
Julien Rivoire: A really important time was with my first website. I had some reviews on websites or forums. I realized that people could like my artwork.
Format: Do you draw or sketch everyday?
Julien Rivoire: Never. Sometimes—when I need a sketch before working on my design directly on the computer. I’m not patient and I’m a very bad drawer. By the way, I will try to find my â€œstyleâ€ someday.
Format: What is your ideal setting to be free and come up with new ideas?
Julien Rivoire: It depends. I’m better when I’m faced with a true challenge or something new for me to do. I don’t really like doing stuff I’ve [done before].
Format: Did you go to school and study graphic design?
Julien Rivoire: Not that much. I did some, but I mainly did technical studies of software [such as] Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, etc. I like to learn things alone by trying. I just did that: staying late in front of my screen working on new designs, new software, or reading a lot of books. I liked that.
Format: What are all of the different types of art that you do, and how did you get into them?
Julien Rivoire: I actually do graphic design. That’s what I love the most. I also do some animation/videos with mates from PLAY COLLECTIVE. I sometimes take pictures too, but I’m not a real photographer.
Format: What places in and outside of the country has your art taken you to?
Julien Rivoire: Not so far. Germany and Tunisia to do some live videos with PLAY. I want to go to New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Japan, Sweden, or Australia. Wherever I can go!
Format: What is the PLAY COLLECTIVE about and how did it come about?
Julien Rivoire: A video collective with my friends. We do live motion during festivals, gigs, or events. It’s really pleasing, actually.
Format: Do you work with a team, or do you design alone for the most part?
Julien Rivoire: Alone for the most part. I like to work like that. I’m more productive in that way, but I actually work with some friends, like Ease (from PLAY too). We have the same influences and tastes concerning graphic design.
Format: Do you often take part in exhibits? If so, what do you try to achieve by allowing people to view your art?
Julien Rivoire: I try to impress myself first, or just be happy with what I’ve done. I also like to make people smile and appreciate my artwork. And yeah, I’ve done some exhibitions and I’m planning to make more.
Format: Where did the name Bastardgraphics come from? Did it come from the idea of having no guidance or rules when it comes to your creative abilities?
Julien Rivoire: It’s exactly that. At first it came from the Bastard Pop movement, also called Mash Up or Bootlegs. The most famous artists were 2 Many Dj’s or Lionel Vinyl. I liked the idea of having not that many rules, mixing different styles. I used to work like that—from retro to techno.
Format: Graphic art can be very tedious; how long do you spend on a general project?
Julien Rivoire: Two hours to two weeks. It really depends.
Format: Youâ€™ve created graphics for websites, skateboards, t-shirts, and more. What or who would you consider a dream to create for?
Julien Rivoire: I would really appreciate doing sleeve design for bands. Some like New Order, Underworld, or The Streets just to name a few. I would be very proud of that.
Format: Who are your influences?
Julien Rivoire: Victor Vasarely, Bridget Riley, Tom Hingston, Geoff McFetridge, Universal Everything, Underworld, Apparat, Kraftwerk, Junior Boys, Unkle…
Format: You created portraits of Dizzee Rascal and Mix Master Mike. Does hip-hop also have an influence on you? What artists do you listen to?
Julien Rivoire: Deltron 3030, Roots Manuva, Antipop Consortium, The Streets, Nas, Dizzee Rascal, and Wiley. They have some kind of influence, but I’m more into electronic or techno music.
Format: If Bastardgraphics had a theme song what would it be?
Julien Rivoire: â€œBe Thereâ€ by Unkle, or â€œBorn Slippyâ€ by Underworld. I love those songs.
Format: Do you have a signature style? Is there any way that people can tell that the piece is by Bastardgraphics right away?
Julien Rivoire: I put my logo on some of my artwork by I try to not to. I’m always impressed when people recognize my style. They must have seen my name somewhere [laughs].
Format: As the internet has become popular so has graphic design; do you find that your popularity has increased with the rise of the web?
Julien Rivoire: Yes, truly at the beginning of my activity. Today it’s my most important way to communicate with clients or collaborators. Websites like Myspace let me find new people to work with too.
Format: What other side projects are you participating in?
Julien Rivoire: Quadricolor, an exhibition with Superkero; RÃ© and Beekei, all friends of mine; and PLAY.
Format: What do you do when youâ€™re not designing?
Julien Rivoire: I’m always listening to music. I like to read, go to parties, drink beer at barbecues, and see my friends.
Format: Is there anything special that you would like to add about yourself or your art?
Julien Rivoire: Come to see my new website; new version—it’s better like that.