It’s safe to say that Sebastien Sans-Arcidet’s recent project for fashion brand Palomo is a perfect example of the benefits of confidence, and also persistence.
“I used to send stupid messages on Instagram to brands or celebrities asking for a job, and of course I wouldn’t get any answers. I was a fan of Palomo’s work, especially The Hunting collection, so one day when hungover half-naked in bed, I sent them a more professional message: ‘Hi, I really like your work, I think it could be interesting for us to work together, could I send you a portfolio?’ Through that first message I came directly in contact with Alejandro, the designer behind the brand,” recalls Sebastien.
Despite assuming it would be someone else running the social media for such a large brand, he managed to get through to Alejandro and confirm a collaboration for their next collection. “I thought I couldn’t really get in touch directly with him and that interns were using the brand’s Instagram, tormenting me for months – turns out it all got real several months later.”
The French artist and illustrator has quite a varied style that changes and develops with each project, which is evident in this most recent series. “Lately my style could be summed up by a very tense use of coloured pencils. The textures are thick, the frame is full, and I use very bright and distinctive colours,” he says. “I love when things are straddling in and out of the frame, when you can only see a part of an object but not in its entirety, which makes it a bit more complicated to read but also gives a more mysterious and abstract impact to the shapes.”
Sebastien’s brief for this project was based on ecstasy, which can obviously be approached in a number of ways. He chose to look at it from a nightlife perspective: “I did some research on El Greco, his compositions and use of colour, the Spanish Easter celebrations, and also the Ruta del Bakalao near Valencia, a Way of the Cross that became a great meeting point for ravers and hardcore partying in the 90s.”
The inspiration can clearly be seen in the work, as Sebastien, who is from Senlis in northern France, chooses dark backgrounds with colourful flashes and outlines. The perspective of the pieces is also based around this theme, with pieces looking down on clubs from the perspective of the sky, or even the viewpoint of a beer. He considers the other images additions, that complete the set and support the overall project: “They were thought of as bonuses, images that would complete the narrative brought by the two larger ones with plays on the catholic rituals and imagery.”
Sebastien’s previous work has included a comic book that was released with Brussels publishing house, Animal Press, and a number of self-published projects. Reflecting on this time he says: “I used to make coffee for assholes, then spent the rest of my time working on my own projects.”
Translating his work to complement clothing could have been a difficult task, however, the Palomo team aided him with any issues, and it ultimately went seamlessly. After an initial consultation, Sebastien explains that he was given a strong degree of autonomy: “I was totally free of doing what I wanted, the only two things I had to keep in mind were the colour-scheme previously chosen by Alejandro for the collection, as well as ensuring that the print would perfectly repeat itself on fabric.”
As well as the process running smoothly due to Sebastien working on the project throughout its lifecycle, he cites the main reason for success as the people he was working with. “The most important things were the Palomo team being so warm, beautiful and creating a kind environment to work in.”
Sebastien Sans-Arcidet: Ecstasy – View from the Beer
About the Author
Charlie joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in December 2019. He has previously worked at Monocle 24, and The Times following an MA in International Journalism at City University. If you have any ideas for stories and work to be featured then get in touch.