ITW – The Feebles, the cerebral graphic design duo
The graphic design studio from Nantes, The Feebles, regularly accompanies us on our artistic projects. We had already met up with Gaëtan and Anaël during our collaboration with them last year, finding out more about their journeys and their projects. It’s with great pleasure that we meet up with them again a year later, as passionate and talented as ever.
Hi Gaëtan, hi Anaël! What’s new since your last visit?
Gaëtan – Everything’s good. We’ve been working on lots of projects, it’s all been quite hectic.
Anaël – We had our personal exhibition at l’Espace LVL in Nantes nearly a year ago. That was cool.
Gaëtan – Lots of people came and we had great feedback so it made us want to do another one. More recently, we did a fresco at l’Antipode in Rennes. That was a great experience. Now, we’re trying to do more and more artistic projects even though we still have our jobs as graphic designers.
In 2013, you designed the packaging for Mikado biscuits, last year we bumped into you on a project for the Scopitone festival in Nantes, and today you’re working with luxury car brand Jaguar. There doesn’t seem to be much in common between all your clients. What do you like about this diversity?
Anaël – It’s the novelty aspect. We’re always working in different worlds, but we always try to bring our own touch every time, in order to adapt what we do for the brand. The diversity of projects means we never get bored. It’s a very rich way of working.
Gaëtan – What’s interesting is thinking that we can work for Jaguar and Olow, for example, and still use the same style. When people come to hire us for a particular style, we’re able to develop it using many different mediums. Obviously there are more constraints, but we like that too.
Gaëtan, you say people come to hire you for your style. How would you define your style, then?
Anaël – Hard question… I think our line drawings with dotted shading are what ended up standing out most. It sort of became our trademark.
Gaëtan – It’s the style we used for the Pigeon t-shirt we did for Olow. We created that style doing pyrographing during another one of our projects. That technique gave us that style. But our aim is to not stay solely in that world.
You’ve been working together now for quite a while. How do your artistic vision and style evolve over the years and through your collaborations?
Anaël – Of course it evolves, but we don’t necessarily notice it. We try to keep our style evolving by offering slightly quirkier things. But that doesn’t always work. For example, for our next collaboration with Olow we had an idea that was very different from what we usually do, and it didn’t really stick. But you have to try.
Gaëtan – Getting shot down is part of the game, but it’s important to develop and question yourself. That’s all part of our job.
We know that you’re very focused on the elaboration of an idea before taking action. Which project had the biggest thought process behind it?
Anaël – The thing that got us thinking most was our exhibition.
Gaëtan – We had to think about everything from A to Z, we wanted it to really say something. Generally, what gets us thinking are the big projects, actually. When we have to use our visuals on lots of different mediums, we have to know if the style is going to work on flyers, posters, etc. On that level, our creations for the HIP OPsession festival required a lot of work because the organisation has many different advertising mediums.
You have already worked with OLOW quite a few times. What was your motivation to want to work with us again?
Anaël – We get along well with Valentin and Mathieu. It’s all in good spirit, and we have carte blanche.
Gaëtan – We like the spirit of the label: its free and poetic side. We recognize ourselves in the brand. The artists are also at the forefront, which is very interesting for us. We feel valued.
Anaël – The mediums are also interesting. This year, Olow asked us to do embroidery on a sweatshirt, it was something different and brought about yet another technical constraint.
How does working with textiles modify your way of working, and of conceiving your visuals?
Anaël – First, we ask ourselves: “Could I wear that?” and “Will people wear that?”
Gaëtan – With embroidery, for example, you really have to consider your drawing technique.
Anaël – Composition has to be adapted; you can’t do a really long visual that’s going to take up the whole width of the t-shirt.
During our last meeting, you told us you had started by making t-shirts before going down the graphic design route. Have you ever though of trying that again and creating your own clothing label?
Anaël – That was really at the very beginning, with an iron and cheap flocking, just for our friends. It’s true we’d love to have a label and be able develop it, but you do need a certain reputation to try that as an artist.
Gaëtan – Doing visuals for a brand is cool as well. We adapt to its style and we create limited editions; that’s very interesting for us. Thinking about an entire collection could be interesting, too. Maybe one day.
Anaël – We have an online shop idea, but with prints. We want to try that out and see if it works. If it does, we will develop more products, and maybe textiles. But it’ll take time.
After cars, biscuit packaging, clothes and walls, what would you like to redecorate next?
Anaël – We’d like to do more murals and paint more frescoes. If one day we could have a massive wall, that would be awesome. Doing a big festival’s communications, too. We’re already kind of doing that with HIP OPsession, Au Foin de la Rue and Scopitone, but we would love to develop that even further. Create an atmosphere for an event.
Gaëtan – To think about scenography… Doing more exhibitions with different themes would be nice, too. We want to do more artistic projects. If we could make a living from that, and be able to paint different walls each week, that would be cool.
You seem quite interested by the music world. What is your relationship with music?
Anaël – We listen to everything. We have a different musical genre for each creation.
Gaëtan – There’s quite a lot of melancholy in what we listen to. Poetic stuff…
Anaël – When we’re creating, we need to be in our bubble and listen to something calming and melodic. It has to match our mood at the time. It could be a blues/country song or something really electronic like Superpoze’s last album, for example. We work in unison with music.
What are your big projects for the coming year?
Anaël – We’ve designed the album art for Aymeric Maini, a blues singer from Nantes. It’ll be released in February 2016. As he’s a friend, we followed the whole album creation process. It’s very interesting because he kind of created the visuals with us, so there’s osmosis between the visual side and the music.
Gaëtan – We also have the HIP OPsessions and Au Foin de La Rue festivals as projects. Still with music, we have something planned with DJ One Up, from Nantes as well. We don’t really know what we’ll be doing two months from now, but we still would love to open our personal shop.
Many thanks to Gaëtan and Anaël for their answers.