François was a character. I knew this from the moment we met. He gave himself away doing something rather mundane. I asked him to enter his details into my phone (mainly because I didn’t know how to spell his name). Not only did he add his name and number, but also entered a photo of himself and added a ring tone as well.
François is a Parisian freelance graphic designer, with a focus on digital design. He does – and would like to do – a little bit of everything though, telling me, “I really like thinking about managing brands; creating logos, finding names and designing packaging are exciting; I do digital events and websites a lot.”
François’ mind constantly reels with new ideas. He tells me of a few with animated expression and a bounce in his step. Between ideas he tells me he lacks time to get them all done.
He likes to create art, and has occasionally pulled art pranks – from fake exhibitions to creating replicas of other artists’ work. He once held a party at his home and hung a reproduction of Gustav Klimt’s Judith II. He spent the evening persuading guests of its authenticity (very effectively).
François tells me about some sketches he is working on following a trip to Texas. He travelled with his friends, chasing a childhood dream of “living the excess I saw in American movies”. He visited “big cities and lost lands”, meeting “crippled bikers, budget motel bitches and drunken Sioux Indians”.
François makes creative packagings for the new record label Pop Noire Records. started by his childhood friend. The label has signed two artists, Lescop and John & Jehn. The musicians play in both France and the UK. François’ work for the label includes an incredibly detailed and dark-themed, pop-up, special collectors edition book and album for Lescop.
I met François six months after his trip to Texas, when he was visiting London. He was introducing Lescop to UK audiences with Pop Niore. While there, Lescop played to a packed out Shacklewell Arms, Dalston.
During a trip to Paris I also caught up with François at his and girlfriend Chloe's apartment, located in the heart of the old artists’ burrow of Montmartre, Paris. He had a work desk in the corner and it was missing a chair. For the last month François has worked standing up. “I am waiting for a chair to be delivered. It comes tomorrow I am sure!”
His desk is one of many purchases made in Brussels, Belgium, where items come cheaper than in Paris. François says Brussels shops are his favourite for picking up cheap, vintage furniture.
François says he is growing increasingly fond of Montmartre, “Montmartre, and more generally the 18st arr. is a cool spot because of its many bars, art galleries and low fees. There are many young people to meet; most of them are art friendly.”
He has some images from Mcbess hanging about the apartment; I soon discover he is an old classmate from school. His shelves contain many pop-up books. François had long been interested in this art form and started making pop-up books from a young age. When it came to making Lescop’s collectors edition album, a pop-up book was the natural choice.
François always has something on the go. He is enthusiastic, delightful and full of surprises and ideas. His plans on the afternoon I visit consist of painting his mannequin and making light shine from its head.