A look into

Interview series. A new aesthetics. Exclusive interview of Clément Louis, Parisian photographer and illustrator.

What’s your background? Can you recognize pieces of it on your art?
I moved to Paris 8 years ago, I got accepted in Art School where I studied fashion textile design, I wasn’t very into it but I started my own experience as a fashion photographer and I had the chance to work for Rick Owens, the Kooples, model agencies and more…

The first time we discovered your work, we knew we had to contact you. We really liked your visual approach to fashion imagery.  How and when did you start building this interest in fashion?
My passion for aestheticism and art progressively lead me to fashion, my first year in Paris was the first time I had direct contact with the fashion industry. I had a Lookbook at that time and posted everyday my daily looks -more and more extravagant- then I started to produce my own images as a photographer  and so I became a fashion photographer. I was in Duperre an Art/fashion school when I started to work for Rick Owens for two and a half years and for so many other brands and people.
Now it’s been 8 years living in Paris and fashion is part of my life since I’m doing Fashion Weeks, taking backstage pictures for magazines, and it’s been 2 years since I started developing my work as a fashion illustrator.

I’m sure a lot of people have told you that your work reminds Egon Schiele’s but with a very personal twist. Do you feel a special connection to Schiele’s work? Which other artists do you find inspiration in?
Of course I feel a connection between my work and Schiele’s, I’ve been so inspired by the Leopold museum in Vienna, where you can find so many pieces of Schiele. He was an amazing artist and he’s still inspiring so many young artists around the world.
Now I feel that my work is slowly taking his own face -of course I still have a LOT to do and my style will change and change again- but still he will always be one of my biggest inspirations.
I find inspiration in last century’s paintings, Romantic, Impressionism, even Medieval. I love to walk around the Orsay museum in Paris -this is where my head bubbles up and when I come home i just need to paint-.

Clément Louis for Alfred Kerbs

The faces of the characters you draw look from a different world but, somehow, it is always the same place where they find each other. Have you imagined a specific world for them to live in?
I think it’s exactly the same world as the one we live in, the white paint they wear on their skin is a theatrical statement, my characters are empty of any humanity. They belong to the costume they’re wearing and the fashion industry. Just like statues, they stay and stand in one tortured, broken pose as modern icons.

Defining an aesthetic is very difficult – we don’t really like labeling art – but what kind of connection do you have with shape, color and texture? Is one of these three more important to you than the others?
In school I studied textile design so for me the three are important.
Now, as an illustrator and a photographer i’m always judging a collection or a look by the shape and the color but I would say the color is what my eye goes on first even if the shape is important too in my work.
I’m totally crazy about people who can master colors and contrast.

Could you describe your technique, the material you use?
I have no technique, I’ve never studied drawing or painting but it starts always the same way: first, I’m doing a quick sketch of the position and the intention of the look or the portrait, then, I start to draw in the paper and add all the layers -starting with the whites and the colors and then contrast the whole drawing- and then it’s over.

Clément Louis for Alfred Kerbs

Even though we found you because of your illustrations, we are aware that you are also a photographer. How do you manage to balance both in your artistic process? Are both disciplines engaged for you?
I don’t really now yet how to balance my two passions. Sometimes I can draw for 3 months non-stop and the next 3 months is all about photography, but recently I’ve started to combine my two passions in one project and the result is cool, so I think I’m gonna re-do this kind of mixing stuff  I just need to figure out the right balance.

What does your daily routine look like? 
My daily routine is very simple: having a tea, listening to some music, watching my favorite series, doing some sports, finishing my illustration projects or starting new ones.

What would you do if you had five minutes left to live?
I would run as fast as I can

Hometown
Paris

Date of birth
5 april 1990

Fashion designer/brand
Thome Browne

Café in Paris
Pavillon des canaux

Magazine
Vogue italia

Movie
The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Book
Lettre à un jeune poète / Rilke

Album
Oxygen 3 / Jean Michel Jarre

Song
Virile / The Blaze

Food/meal
any salad

Clément Louis for Alfred Kerbs

@clementlouis