Stephen Vuillemin: 'Spleen Enthousiast'
In 2012, Oxford University Press crowned ‘GIF’ as the word of the year. GIFs are compressed file formats that can be utilised to create simple looping animations. Illustrator Stephen Vuillemin makes great use of this wonderful image format to enchance his artwork. His animated illustrations are vibrant, humorously gritty and positively unusual. Stephen has created many astounding pieces since graduating from the Parisian visual communication school Gobelins in 2008, including GIFs for rap blog Pure Baking Soda as well as creating his own episodic web-comic. ActuallyMag has taken the opportunity to find out more about this unique artist and what he has in mind for his work.
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Stephen Vuillemin, I was born in France in 1986. I live in London.
I am an illustrator, animator and director.
What sparked your interest in illustration and animation?
Being a big Sci-fi/fantastic fan since childhood.
How would you describe your artistic style?
Trying to match the most colors as possible at the same time. Trying to match the crude and the refined at the same time.
Do you draw inspiration from daily experiences or from elsewhere?
I don’t find everyday life very interesting, except if you’re very rich or if you have a crazy life, like if you’re a gun collector or a stripper for example.
I work in an office, I have quite a normal lifestyle, so I prefer to draw my inspiration from elsewhere: for example from fashion, from music (mainly drug-dealer-rap, and house music) or from the collections at the British museum. And from the internet indeed. There are some situations that I have experienced myself in some of my pictures though.
Some of your artwork possess rather bizarre imagery. Is this a reflection of your own personality?
No, I’m a rather normal person.
You have also played the role of animation director in various animated shorts. How is it like collaborating with fellow artists?
It’s cool. This is a lovely industry, with lots of friendly people.
What is the story behind your animated web-comic, Schoolgirls?
When I decided to make an on-line comic, I wanted it to be different from a classic comic. So I decided to make every picture of it an animated gif.
I recently concluded a deal with iPad/tablet magazine “Professeur Cyclope”, which 1st issue will be released in march, to make “schoolgirls” part of their exclusive content. The good point is that I will release for sure 6 new episodes in 2013 (but you will only be able to read it in the magazine). I think there will be an English version of it but I can’t tell when.
A couple of months back, you announced that your graphic-novel book project, ‘Les Quatre Saisons’, had been selected by the french institute for their foreign residence programme, ‘Hors les murs’. Could you tell us more about this project?
“Les Quatre saisons” will be the diary of a guy who lives in parallel dimension. It will be by far less grounded to reality than “Schoolgirls”. As it will be a book, I will make it with traditional media, such as colour pencils and Bic pen. I would like to give a Swedish mood to my parallel dimension, and thanks to the French institute, I will go to Sweden to start the project.
What do your friends and family say about your work?
Where do you hope to see yourself within the next decade?
“Still ridin’ clean, makin’ cheese and getting’ my dick sucked,” to quote one of my favourite rappers.
Text by: Jillian Tan
*GIF images courtesy of Stephen Vuillemin
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