Our animating, screen-printing, book-making Student of the Month is Nicolas Ménard. Currently studying a graphic design BA at the Université du Québec à Montréal, we loved his reduced yet characterful animations; with simple, happy spot colours that pull aesthetically from print-processes and are confidently re-interpreted into motion graphics.
“If I can screen print a frame of my animation,” he says “it’s a good sign that I’ve schematised my idea enough.” This attitude allows him to tackle a lot of outcomes, really embracing the opportunities being at university can offer. His technical ability lends rules and ideas to his aesthetics – like a book of colorimetry algorithms or the dynamic kickers for online space for Futile Devices, his (and his buddy Oliver Chank’s) space for experiments.
At the time of making/creating these projects, who or what was your biggest influence?
I often find the ideas for my projects in the vast possibilities and characteristics of a medium. For example, the Futile Devices look and feel came by accident while experimenting with deformers in Cinema 4D. I realised that while making minimalistic stuff in 3D, the top view were as interesting as the front view. So with one animation, you get six different results depending on which side you are looking. Woop woop chop’s characters low-fi printed look came from an attempt at imitating a silk screen feel with a laser printer. Experimentation is a big part of my creative process, so I’m always trying new tools to maintain my curiosity and get different results. I love the playfulness and cleverness behind Karel Martens, Paul Rand and Paul Cox’s designs. They are a big influence and that’s probably why I’m always working with solid colours!
What is the most valuable thing you have learnt at university to date?
Sharing and working with a lot of other students is an experience exclusive to school. It’s really hard to reproduce this kind of chemistry when working in a studio. You learn a lot by seeing how the others came up with a completely different idea for the same project.
What would you be doing now if you weren’t at Art School?
Before applying to university, I had the choice to work in a motion design team for a television company or keep learning while doing more personal work by making a BA. I took the second path, but otherwise I would probably be making slates and bumpers for various television channels.
Where are you making/creating most of your work?
I spend most of my time doing my work at home. Though I enjoy screen printing a lot, so I try to do as much prints as possible while I’m still at school!
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on my BA’s final project, which is a short, non-narrative, animated film featuring small cars. The whole thing is drawn using crayons. It’s a lot of fun. You can check out the first artwork here.
If you’re still in education and would like to be considered for our Student of the Month feature, check out how to apply here.