“I’m really interested in the possibility film and video theory could bring to a graphic design practice by translating and bridging both mediums together,” explains French artist and graphic designer, Kévin Bray. Currently based in Amsterdam where he is undertaking a residency at Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Kévin’s work is a hybrid of techniques, sitting somewhere between film, graphic design and sound design.
Often resulting in experimental music videos, the process of making (and revealing that process) is at the core of Kévin’s portfolio. “The way I edit my videos interacts with the backdrop and the stage; always at the edge of showing precisely how things work or are constructed,” he explains, “you can see which tools, layers and mediums I use in my videos and by doing so I try to be almost transparent about the process of making.”
Experimentation within this process of making also plays a large role in Kévin’s practice. By mastering a variety of tools and processes, he is able to push said tools “towards a phase of crisis” and, in turn, produce unexpected results. For example, in his video for Gwilym Gold’s Greener World, Kévin utilised 3D scanning to explore the concept of intimacy. “Scanning a body, by its very nature, generates a rare and private moment between the artist and his audience,” Kévin describes. Throughout the video, the camera slowly pans and elegantly transitions between scenes rendering 3D scanning in a cinematic context. In the final shot, the camera tilts upwards revealing a green screen symbolising a world “where everything is created, constructed, simulated and generated.”
In a recent project for Art School Girlfriend’s single, Measures, Kévin used the visual reference of a digitally constructed mirror to translate the narrative of the song. Measures is about the breakdown of a relationship: “How you can feel isolated within a relationship structure and the resentment that comes along with the other person not addressing the discontent.” The music video opens with the singer sitting in front of the mirror, which slowly transforms from reflecting not only herself but a landscape constructed from a blank canvas and pieces of the cliffs of Margate (where she lives). The camera moves closer to the mirror, entering the new world. When it finally reemerges, the two worlds have combined in a representation of the physical space Art School Girlfriend actually inhabits and the mental projection that initially only existed in her mind (and in the mirror). “This music video is trying to symbolise the struggle of processing emotions in love, how Art School Girlfriend can consider her emotions and find harmony between her subjective and objective positions,” Kévin tells It’s Nice That.
By utilising multiple modes of production and placing them at the centre of his practice, Kévin’s videos offer an alternative to the music videos we are accustomed to seeing. Sitting somewhere between the physical and virtual worlds, his merging of techniques creates unpredictable narratives comprised of the layers that are usually hidden.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor.