He strolls around Boston, NYC and Paris. He ventures to discover sunny California, far East China or near East Estonia, a camera in one hand, a skate in his other. Whether it is through portraits, landscapes or abandoned hospitals, his colorful nuances unveil powerful emotions, while his games of shade and light capture the essence of wild stories. With the enigmatically candid and fresh allure that only artists possess, Axlsouetre paints the world with a creative versatility that few others have. Bashful yet electrifying, Axlsouetre is a free spirit that traces his path across art, photography, video and graphic design.
Graziella Buontempo: Who is Axlsouetre?
Axlsouetre: Axlsouetre is a small fluffy animal similar to a squirrel. It feeds on people’s brain juice and travels from one tree to another between Europe and the US. In its spare time, it’s also a human being studying marketing and graphic design in Boston before heading back home to Paris.
GB: What is your favorite creation so far?
A: It’s hard to say. “Fuck the grey matter for hurting us” means a lot to me; it might have been the only work that I felt fully content about and that got me inspired to try a new approach.
GB: What is creativity for you? Do you consider yourself to be creative?
A: Creativity for me is being able to start from nothing and evolve toward something that creates a conversation within the viewer’s mind.
But creativity remains one of those concepts that I’ll probably spend the rest of my life trying to figure out. Who isn’t creative, really?
GB: Do you have a special routine when working on a project? Or a special ritual?
A: Not that I know of. I just go with the flow and usually work on several projects at the same time.
GB: What are your creative essentials?
A: Well, a design professor once gave me a valuable advice: break the fucking rules! Art finds no boundaries, no matter how far you go.
GB: You master various artistic outlets: from photography to graphic design, from video production to recently music as well. Is there one of these outlets that you prefer? Is there one through which you feel your emotions can be more easily conveyed?
A: I don’t think that any form of art conveys emotions directly, rather something beautiful happens: The brain of the viewer/listener creates them when being exposed to the artwork.
I think I am able to express my deeper emotions better when creating visually. But I decided a long time ago never to make assumptions as to where to stop exploring means of expression. I think I’m very far from mastering music but getting a try at it was fun and allowed me to understand a different artist’s point of view. I envy musicians and singers, you know, they create something that everyone needs in order to be happy and inspired. We all work together without even knowing it. The day I understood this, my life as an artist got a lot freer.
GB: What is your biggest procrastination habit?
A: I never know where to draw a line between an unfinished art piece and a completed one. Not that there should be one, but it slows things down. Although time helps understating your own work since I think there is a time delay in life when it comes to comprehending what we once felt and desired to share relatively to present feelings.
GB: Where do you draw inspiration?
A: Take a look outside your window.
GB: Your idea of beauty?
A: Get back to me in 50 years or so and I might be able to answer.
GB: Looking back at your pictures, can you remember the emotions you felt and the sate of mind you were into at the time?
A: Yes, definitely! I even catch myself discovering new things about my ideas when looking back at an artwork. But I found that you learn everything you want to know about yourself when other people express their own emotions drawn from your work.
GB: Describe a moment that has defined your personality and that has artistically led you where you are today.
A: I vividly remember. I was in the train travelling from Paris to Bretagne, reading an interview of PMFKA, a brilliant Swedish designer, in an issue of Clark magazine. When I read the way he described his experience and what design meant to him, I realized that I had to be a designer. I later opened my eyes to photography, video production and since then never stopped creating. I have really come to peace with my own self on that one. It’s just that kind of cliché moment that happens in life when you realize what you were put on this miserable planet for.
GB: Photography can be a very spiritual and soulful experience, and often picture opportunities just present themselves in front of the lens. Do you ever feel so and do you think there is such a thing as someone really having a “natural eye” for photography?
A: Photography is one of those things that I can never make complete sense out of. I sometime spend an hour chasing after the right shot and other times snap a cool shot without trying to. Though you are right, there is something very spiritual about photography; I found that you learn to know yourself as a photographer if you’re curious. I believe that some people have a natural eye for visual creation, but everyone is a photographer in a way, especially now with iPhones and sharing possibilities a click away. You don’t need a degree and a $5000 SLR camera to snap a photo that will move people.
GB: What is the one lasting impression that you want to leave in your photos?
A: I love confusing people because an efficient artwork is one that keeps you thinking and wondering. But really my only intention is to create a sense of visual peace and harmony. In other words, get the viewer’s eye to chill on a hammock by the beach sipping on a tasty beverage.
(Click on the image above to visit Axlsouetre’s website for even more amazing work!)