First of all, I have to apologize to Gaspard and Emy, they sent me their answers a long time ago but I have been stuck in a time hole and the interview will only go online today. Arrache toi un oeil is probably one of the most popular french silkscreen studio and I guess this is not only because they do great work but also because of the kindness of this couple. I won't write a long intro, as I am pretty in a hurry to fix this recent lack of post, but I am really glad they answered me....
What are we listening to when we come to visit you?
In depends on our mood, this morning we started the day listening to ROY and The DEVILS MOTORCYCLE, a rock psychedelic band from switzerland, we organize a gig for them 2 or 3 years ago.
Otherwise, you can also visit us listening to black metal, punk hxc, stoner, doom, epic crust, electro punk….these days, we are listening band like: Earth, Kap Bambino, Futur Island, Husker Dü, Downfall of Gaia, Darkthrone, Electric Wizard…..
Can you tell us more about yourselves, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
We are a french duo called ARRACHE TOI UN OEIL!
It's composed by Emy Rojas and Gaspard Le Quiniou, and we are based in Paris.
At the beginning this name was used by Gaspard for gig organization in 2002 and then when we met we continued to organize gig under this name.
Then, we discovered silkscreen in 2005/2006 and then as we finished our studies we keep in the path of graphism and illustration and specialized in silkscreen.It takes us a couple of years to learn it well, and to avoid beginners mistakes.
Then we started making a lot of gig posters, discs artwork covers, design for t-shirts, and even publishing small edition of artists' book.
Since june 2009, we have our own silkscreen studio in the 11 district of Paris.
Emy: I started to drawn pretty young, i guess.In fact, i don't have any memories of me not drawing!
But, i get it seriously after been graduated from the "Beaux Arts", drawing more and more artwork for flyers and posters.
And then as i keep it going with disc covers, logos, t-shirts design…
Gaspard: In fact, i am more into collages, even if i like to draw from times to times.I remember me drawing a lot when i was a kid, then when i was a teenager, i liked a lot the lettering in graffiti and i happen to do some but it 's just a few years ago that i started to draw again.
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
Emy: ah!ah! I liked a lot to draw in class, in schoolbooks or tables, it was my way to get away , to day dreaming.
Gaspard: It was kind of the same for me, a way to get away from class and to have my spirit wandering under the paper.
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living?
Today, we partly live from our art, but we have to keep printing orders for others people to pay our rents.
Now, it's been 3 years that we get along like this without any others helps, hopefully we don't spend a lot of money!!
It's not easy every day but at least we do what we like, we don't have to be accountable to nobody, that is very important for us.
Are you collaborating with magazins/fanzines, regularly?
Not regularly, but it happens few times.We had participated two times to a nice illustration fanzine from Lyon, called Vortex.
Emy: I had an illustration used as cover for the magazine "Abus dangerous" (french musical magazine), and recently send a drawing for the Scumgrrrls magazine.
We would like to do this more often, we like to participate to zines and magazines.
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
Gaspard: It's always hard to talk about your influences, there is so many. I usually like all that is graphic : collages, constructivism art, optical art, typography, logos, psychedelic art, art brut & primitive art, photography…. poster makers like Cassandre, Michal Batory, Roman Cieslewicz…and i enjoy looking at the new works of artists like Seripop, Zeloot, Icinori...
Then, there is also what surround me: the city, architecture, people, music (really important), the food (its color, textures…)
About the artists, i like a lot Dürer, Brueguel, Bosch, Kubin, Moscha, Breadsley, Mucha, Frida Khalo, Cecile Reims & Fred Deux, Riden, Giger, Kozik, typography by Alex Trochu….
All that is miniature, very elaborated, like flemish realism and japanese embossment…
Then, when i draw it's mostly music that inspire me, i like to have my spirit wandering when listening to it.
It always start by listening the music of the artists we have to work on for a poster or artwork cover.
Emy: Then, either a try to find a general idea, thema, or i already know what i will do (it doesn't happen overtime but it nice when it happens).
Then begins the rough sketch and the long work of inking and putting color ( by computer or by hand).
Gaspard: In opposition to Emy, i often start working with picked up images or photographies, that i put together, cut up, transform….after i add a piece of drawing, a typography made by hand, a mass of color…
At the beginning, i used to do all this by hand (with scissors and glue), now i mostly use computer for this, but in arough way. And when it's about drawing, it's very spontaneous.
That depends, we use both as we said before, but Gaspard maybe use more the computer and Emy do more stuff by hand.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
It's depends, it could take few hours but also one week, depending on the idea, the work on it.
And then there is the work of printing in the studio, which takes also a couple of days.
It's not the printing that takes more time but all the preparation which is needed (preparing the tracing papers, insolating and preparing the frames, making the adjustments, cutting the paper, prepare the colors, then cleaning the frames…)
You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it?
Emy: I guess drawing is always searching for something, trying to find a way to express yourself, it can be through some themas or through style research.
And so if somebody asks me to paint horses running under a sunset, why not, it can be a funny exercise of style, and you can always put a bit of your style in any subject…like making a psychedelic landscape with running evil horses, ah!ah!
But in a common basis, i mostly do what i feel like, and there is a always themas i like to explore more than others.
Gaspard : For my part, i will not be interested by something like that, juste because i am not really into this kind of painting (but in a abstract way, why not?).
We already made posters for many different bands in various style of music : Sunno))), Interpol, Gossip, Neurosis, The Locust, Arctic Monkeys, Adam Green, Yeasayer, Kap Bambino, Disappears, Health, Of Montreal, The Gossip, Pete Doherty, Cheveu, Monarch, Lightning Bolt, Eyehategod, Moon Duo, Herman Dune, Vampire Weekend, Kylesa, Get Well Soon, Mika Miko, Adolescents, Eli Paperboy Reed, Acid King, Dark Dark Dark, Acid Mothers Temple, Karma To Burn…
And for show that we organize in Paris too, which are more underground bands (Government Warning, Movie Star Junkies, Ludicra, Erin Tobey…).
Then it happens that some bands come to us to ask us to make a tour poster (like Hiroshima Rocks Around, Blood Red Shoes, Swell Season, Born Dead, Boris) or an artwork for their disc or t-shirt, in this case many french bands that we meet or that we know like Les Becasses, Lobster Killed Me, Turnsteak, Reipas, Les Louise Mitchels, Orval Carlos Sibelius….or others underground bands like Nitad, Krupskaya, Love Potion….
We would love to work for Wolves In The Throne Room, Earth, Future Islands, Motorhead & Slayer (ah!ah!), some jazz artists, it could have also been nice of course to work for bands that don't exist anymore, but we have to focus to the present and there is always new bands we happen to discover and fancy which we would like to work for, hopefully!!
But in fact, what we would really like to do now, is to work for a music festival, to have the chance to cover it with many artworks, to have our artistic paw on it.
Do you choose the artists yourself?
We mostly choose for which artists we want to make a poster for. But people have to know, that here in France, it's not so common to have silkscreen posters in gigs, the public and organizers are not use to it. And so we mostly have to do all the work of asking to bands and managers without the help of promoters (except of few promoters who help us out). But it also happen that bands come to ask us to work for them, or some promoters for a flyer or poster.
We hope that with the time, it will happen more and more, but i guess it take time.
Mostly finding the good idea, the composition, the colors, then it can also takes long to make the image, it depends… also on the inspiration of the moment.
Emy: But then when we have everything in mind, we've just have to put good music and then get started!
It' s my favorite part of the process with the printing of course.
Gaspard: Yes, the idea could take time… but then there is the creation part, who is really nice! You can spent hours and hours on your work, it is really intense moment.
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else?
Emy: Been part of a " Graphic Scene", i don't think so. There is a lot of graphist/ illustrator that work in the music field, but each of them with their particular style. I don't feel that there is families of style. I also think that in France, country with a long tradition of elitism in Art, we are in between two fields, art and graphism and we can't be classified in neither of them. We make images that can' t be seen as art in galeries because it has something to do with graphism but in the other hand we don't only do graphism. I guess, it something that don't happen in other countries where people are more use to don't have these two field separated, and where what we do have a particular status and so a "graphic scene " of its own.
A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work, on the web or in real life?
Ah!ah! real life is best but otherwise there is our website: http://arrachetoiunoeil.free.fr
If you travel in France, you can come to visit our silkscreen studio in Paris, here is the adress: 80 rue du Chemin Vert, 75011 Paris, metro: Voltaire.
We are often open to the public, the saturdays afternoon (infos and days in our website)
Or if by any chance, we happen to have an exhibition or silkscreen convention in your city.
The best praise you received lately?
Emy: I had the artwork of the poster of Neurosis on the cover of "Abus Dangereux" magazine. It was great to see it in a newspaper shop.
Gaspard: Or having some of our artwork on Flip Skateboards, as big fan of skateboard it was like a dream come true, even if we never saw them in real.
What can we wish you for the future?
Still doing what we do but keeping evolving. And trying to work for more events and gigs out of France.
Travel around the world for exhibitions, conventions...
Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website!!
Thanks for the interview, it was a pleasure, and sorry to have take so many time answering.
Keep on the good work on your website, it's really great!!!