Yoann is a talented artist, creative director and surfer. Born and raised in France, he’s now established in Biarritz as a freelancer. He’s working on different kind of projects, as like graphic design, art design, edition, photography, or collage.
In this interview, I had the opportunity to get inside the thought process of the collage artist and discover how he’s gaining exposure by working with brands.
Could you tell me a bit about yourself and how you started doing your collages ?
I’ve started collage less than two years ago, maybe three. It was intuitive. I think a lot of various factors has completed the reason I’ve started it. I wanted to return to a raw job, for my simple pleasure. To work every day on a computer, it blocks you in a routine. Even if graphic design remains artistic, I wanted a return to the source.
« Collage in itself is a style. »
How would you describe your visual style ?
If I succeed in transmitting a punk approach, it’s perfect. I don’t know if we can talk about a particular style. Collage in itself is a style.
Where do you find your inspiration ?
Obviously in all that surrounds me and excites me like surfing, music and photography (without it, there would be no collage possible). I also find inspiration into fashion, but not only clothes. For me, it is more a current artistic mood, which circulates all over the world. I keep only what I love and what I want to share.
Unfortunately, I am also inspired by human dramas, by human idiocy but I think it is a sad source of inspiration. With the state of mind I am when I do my artworks, it makes some different results.
How do you promote your artworks ? Do you have any digital techniques that you used to create your name on the artistic scene ?
I do not really communicate in a proper sense, I show off my work. Like everyone else I have a website, a Tumblr and of course Instagram. I would say I use more Instagram and I’d be silly not to do it. Almost everyone is on Instagram, they can see your work and your lifestyle.
I also need to say something that people have to understand : being notorious on Instagram gives credibility to your work, but does not make you a better person. We are the generation of social networks with its good and bad sides. Now, when you go to a concert, you see more raised arms in the air to film and share directly on social media, rather than just appreciate the present moment. It’s crazy.
Otherwise, I do not have any precise techniques. I am not blogger but I’ve got my own Tumblr. Of course, I would not post a trashy picture, because I know a lot of people watch my work there.
« Every collaboration has its little story. »
You have done quite a lot of collaborations with brands recently. Can you tell me more about it ?
Yes, I admit that this year was the year of collaboration. I was lucky to create a capsule collection in partnership with Billabong « Yoann Fournier x Billabong : Killyouridol ». I also did one with BTZ, a local brand from Biarritz – our fantastic city – , an another with the eyewear’s brand Eyewear Electric and Antiz Skateboard. It was kind of a collective artistic performance, with other artists. Furthermore, I designed the album cover for my friend and artist Lee Ann Curren. She’s a brilliant artist, musician and surfer. You should listen to her album, it’s a masterpiece. At last, I’ve done a collaboration with Antiz Skateboard and there’s more collaboration that are coming but I’m going to stay discreet for the moment… Stay tuned !
How did you get in touch these brands ?
Every collaboration has its little story. When you surf, you travel, when you are at the right place at the right moment, great things happen.
For Billabong, I was already working there as a graphic designer but not as a designer. There were looking for an artist to do a capsule collection, with a punk collage style. I was recommended and the boss came one floor up to my office. He came and said « Hey ! Is it you who do this kind of things? It’s fucking crazy, I love it ! Do you have five minutes ? I’d like to talk to you about a project ». I’ve accepted, we started working on it and we’re going to do a new one this year.
For Antiz Skateboard, it was thanks to my friend Sam Partaix. We were all the time together and we have already done an exhibition together, in Paris – and a big party then ahah. Antiz Skateboard was his sponsor for a long time. Sam get me in contact with the boss Julien Bachelier, a cool dude and we started working together. It’s always a great experience to work with French supporters of the skate scene.
For the rest, it’s also sponsoring and people who have heard about me, have seen my work on social media or at an exhibition.
When you accept a project of collaboration, how do you proceed ?
It depends, sometimes brands just want artworks that I’ve already done. I sell them what they want and it’s done. Sometimes we do a brainstorming, we start a new project with some constraints that we have to respect. Then my work rely on it.
« Collaborations bring fresh air to brands, a renewal. »
In your opinion, what does a collaboration with a brand brings to an artist ?
I think it brings a strong visibility and credibility. We can also get benefits from the number of consumers and followers from the brand, on social media for example. It also allows me to provide content if I want to canvass other brands or people, in order to do new projects.
On the contrary, what does a collaboration with an artist brings to a brand ?
Collaborations bring fresh air to brands, a renewal. It’s all in their interest to work with different artists, we give them new content. But they do not have to do a collaboration just to do collaboration. We’re not talking about Lidl, they have to chose the right artist to send the right message.
Wow ! So many projects… Maybe you can share 5 songs with me that you are listening all the time these last days ?
1 Nick cave – bring it on – et – Loverman
2 Pink Foyd – wish you where here
3 Pj harvey – to bring you my love
4 Sturgill Simpson – The promise
5 Apparat – Black water