“I don’t micro-dose on LSD (never say never), but I take a nap every day,” says Paris-based art director and graphic designer Pierre Vanni, when describing what a typical day in the studio looks like for him. “Daydreaming is an essential part of my creative process,” he continues. Playful, exuberant and immensely fantastical, his work eludes the representational and instead focuses heavily on cartoon-like silhouettes, psychedelic backdrops and an otherworldly mix of digital and analogue mediums – something that could quite frankly be derived from a dream.
We last wrote about Pierre’s humorous and pop-culture-filled designs in 2015 – a time that saw the designer work across various avenues, such as zines, billboards, animations, inflatables and workshops. This time around, although his portfolio still remains consistently varied, he’s focusing more on an “attitude”, rather than graphic design itself. “I love all pictures and all signs, and I just try to find them the right context to live in,” he says. “But, what is sure, is that I try to make my graphic design ‘pop’ more, and to make it more sensual and less intellectual.” Alongside designing with more sensuality in mind, there was another big event that took place over the last four years – “I became a father of a little boy named Lou, and that’s maybe the strongest and most beautiful change I’ve ever known.”
This new father works from home in the east side of Paris, in a “comfy but aesthetic environment”. Here, there are no pictures on the walls, no felt tips, no papers – instead, it’s just Pierre and his computer, and a comfortable place for him to take his daily nap. It’s a blissful setting that stirs his creativity – “it sounds kind of romantic, but that’s because it is,” he says. “Sometimes I get the feeling I work as an amateur, but maybe that’s better than feeling too professional – it keeps your creativity awake.”
Recently, Pierre has embarked on a mix of extravagant projects. Les Siestas, a commission for festival Les Siestas Électronniques that began in 2014, is one that he describes as a “playground”. In fact, we wrote about this project in our previous post where, back then, he designed posters overloaded with Snoopy references and a giant apple. Since then, he’s incorporated even more contextual references into his yearly contribution – acid backdrops with a dancing figure in the foreground, a glass sphere floating among the clouds, or a graffiti-inspired dripping typeface that spells “love”. His most recent addition sees a bird crashing into the glassed fore, abound with texture and a fantastic mix of photographic and digital processes.
Besides another editorial project called Audimat, Piere has also designed a new fanzine project titled Musique Journal. “With them, I feel safe and I can try everything as long as I think about my work as a birthday present,” he says. “I’ve got to please them, sure, but most of all surprise them. And as they get older, the gifts become more mature.” Elsewhere, Pierre has just started a new and “strong” relationship with the ThéâtredelaCité, a French national drama centre located in Toulouse. He created a brand new visual identity based on the silhouettes of an “ever-growing family” of artists, designers, illustrators, amateurs, “French or foreigners, dead or alive”.
A lot of his work tends to reflect the social context we live in. In 2016, for example, he won the second prize for the international poster competition at the Graphic Design Festival Chaumont with his posters Love – “a sad but optimistic answer to the tragic attacks that happened in Paris in November 2015.” He concludes: “Like a play or an actor in theatre, I believe each drawing can have a second life in a new context, with a new purpose.”
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