SAN MIGUEL (Atelier Clandestin) (FR)


SAN MIGUEL (Atelier Clandestin) (FR)

I cannot remember when I contacted San Miguel for the first time, but most probably when I was still doing my interviews in french (Tanxxx, Rica...), his name was given on regular basis, but the guy is pretty busy, so you can imagine how surprised and happy I was when I finally receive his answers. San Miguel can be seen as a legend in the french rock poster scene, and, funnly enough, he is the first one to provide me with an animated .gif for the interview. Many reasons to give him a warm "walcome aboard !!!"

Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?
If you come today you'll sure ear music from the posters I'm working on, also lots of very different things, from no wave and post punk to obscure british pop bands, internationnal «folk» music, krautrock, labels like 5rc, Sublime Frequencies, the amazing work to promote music by people like John Peel, Peter Doolan, crate diggers and many others. Some early records, dangdut, bollywood beats, tahitian folk, Khmer rock and a huge amount of luk thung and molam...

Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
We'll right now I'm living in Lille (north of France) and i'm soon on my 10th year of making silkscreen concert posters. I'm a music addict who grew up in a little local radio, surrounded by sound and spicy smells...

When did you start drawing?
As a kid as everybody else I guess ;op

Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
My work is not really about drawing (even if it includes it). It's more about sound printing and silkscreen technics. About how to use the medium in various way to create. I took some of silkscreen courses with a very good technician and with a master in art edition, it helped a lot.

Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?
It's my full time "job"but it's more like a way of life and I don't call it «art» at all.

Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?

Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
This year is special as it's soon the 10th years I create posters (and also the 15thanniversary of Le Grand Mix), you'll easilly find some influences from my older work in some of my recent and upcoming posters.
Most of my influences comes from music I try to get into the atmosphere and to "convert sound into image". That's why all my posters are all very different. Also, I like to collect art (especially original printed editions) so work by Hans Bellmer, Jacques Villeglé, Toulouse Lautrec, Utamaro and others have or will influence some posters in a way or another.

What are the principal steps in your work ?
It always start by putting on some music and then I start sketches. Then it depends on the technics I choose to use (it changes all the time: drawing, collage, photo, typography...). Then printing.

Do you do everything by hand or on computer?
It's always different, I think only the result count. I sure prefer to work by hand but computers are usefull for color seps and printing registration.

How long does it take you to do a poster?
Around 1 week, it can be faster but it can take more time too.

You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like 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 ?
Ha ha ha, I really don't think I have a distinctive style and lots of people ask me about "how many different people create those posters?". About the horse it's exactly what I'm doing right now, I jut finished the printing!

For which band have you already worked for?
I work quite a lot for Le Grand Mix, a venue in north of France, I like the way they work, and the music choices they make. It includes bands like: Shannon Wright, Mulatu Astatke, Chokebore, Black Heart Procession, James Chance &the Contortions, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Blonde Redhead, Ulan Bator, Coco Rosie and many others.

For which band would you love to work?
I'd love to do a poster for Hongthong Dao Udon, it would mean she's out of jail and also back on stage witch would both be very good news!

Do you choose the artists yourself?
It depends but it's not very important for me, I like to do posters for bands I don't really know yet or for some I like a lot.

What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?
When I know the band very well it can get very hard, I got too many ideas or no ideas at all for quite a while, it get me back to some of their records I haven't listen in a while so it's not so bad.

Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
I don't think so and I don't know much about contemporary "Graphic Scene"

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?
There is a book edited by En Marge called "san miguel s'affiche"it's both in french and english and you can get it on my website with free shipping and a poster included inside!
Online, you can find me at:
and since a few weeks on facebook (There is a contest with gifts giveaway for the people following the page for my 10th birthday)

The best praise you received lately?

It was very nice when James Chance came to greet after the show, the poster made him very happy and it was so right on about his music (and even more but i'm not going to explain about it...). Sure the best praise was a collective "WOW!"by some young kids I met recently.

What can we wish you for the future?  

"happy birthday"sounds fine

Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !!

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