Maxime Beldent, the artistic Swiss army knife

8 MN

Maxime Beldent, the artistic Swiss army knife

Art has always been Maxime’s calling; never has he ever imagined doing anything other than a creative job. The young freelance graphic designer from Nantes is still looking for his touch though, searching for inspiration from his counterparts as well as his daily life. Humble and poised, he came to our headquarters for a chat about his desire to widen his artistic savoir-faire and his will to take part in exciting future projects.

beldent associations

Hi Maxime! You say on your website that you grew up surrounded by art. Where did you find the inspiration to become the artist you are today?

I have always been immersed in it. My family has always had something to do with art. I think I began drawing as a kid without really having any sources of inspiration. I would copy comics or things like that, but I wouldn’t create from things that would inspire me. I’m much more inspired nowadays. I’ve really taken an interest in other artists, I’ve been following guys like tattoo artists Barbe Rousse or Belgian Léa Nahon for a few years now. I also like Etam Cru, a group of guys that do graffiti and silk-screen printing. There’s also the Broken Fingaz, Israeli guys who do cool stuff. On the whole, I draw inspiration from everything I see on a daily basis, when I walk down the street, when I see objects I like, etc. That’s how I operate.

You told us about two tattoo artists who inspire you. Have you ever thought of going down that route one day?

I’d like to. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but I don’t feel ready yet. I need to improve, be more confident, to be able to go and see a guy one day and ask him if I can assist him, to then find out if I’m good enough. Tattooing someone isn’t a trivial thing. They’d be living with it all their life so I’d really feel bad if I messed up!

Did you design your own tattoos?

No, not at all. I was just talking about Barbe Rousse, he tattooed my arm during a convention in Nantes about a year ago. I have another one by a guy I met in Nantes, and two others I got done when I was younger, when I used to think “right, I’m 18, screw you, I’m getting a tat’”. But I could never get a tattoo of one of my drawings. When I draw, I have to force myself to stop because otherwise I’d never be finished. If I ever got one done that I drew myself, I’d always think “I can’t stand it, I have to add this and that”, so I’d constantly be getting tattooed and it would end up looking like a big disgusting stain.

max

If you had to have a non-artistic job, what would it be?

That’s hard. A bureaucratic job would get on my nerves, that’s for sure. If the job was creative, then maybe. Say, being a cabinetmaker, I’d enjoy anything to do with wood. Maybe even a landscape gardener, working with plants and all that. Being outside whether it’s raining or sunny, I’d enjoy that, I think.

You worked with wood for your personal project “La Franche Touche”. What do you think links art with crafts?

There’s a savoir-faire you constantly have to put to use with craft jobs. I think it’s the same with art. There’s always that creative side which entails a savoir-faire and the use of hands. I like using my hands. I try to not use Photoshop or Illustrator too much. I like to begin with a drawing or by working on an object, and, at worst, use software afterwards. I wouldn’t have so much fun if I didn’t begin with an object or a drawing.

What made you want to go freelance?

I wasn’t really finding any work in Nantes when I arrived. I began an internship with OLOW and they eventually wanted to keep me. As I already had a freelance status, I really put it to good use by starting to work with you. I think I could probably have used the experience of working in a communications or advertising agency, which would really have shown me how it is to work for a big machine with client portfolios, deadlines, etc. OLOW was great for the creative side of things, but I maybe missed out on the “war-like” atmosphere of the milieu. Art, graphic design, all those different worlds are quite cutthroat. It must be interesting to work for a big company, but I’m comfortable working freelance.

beldent la franche touche

We’re guessing you don’t have a proper routine, then. What’s the daily life of an independent artist like?

It depends on the quantity of work we have. There are months when I don’t work so much, so I have to go out looking for jobs, meeting people. Work doesn’t just land in my lap. You have to have that marketing aspect, and I have no idea how to sell myself. On the whole, I try to stick to normal working hours, but working at home isn’t necessarily the best solution. I have flatmates as well, so there are always people coming and going, I’m often disrupted by something or another, but I make do.

You do photography and illustration as well as scenography. Does working freelance force you to be polyvalent or is it a personal choice?

I have to be, but it’s also a choice. I was taught lots of different things during my degree in Angers. We had access to a photo studio, we did 3D work, etc. We then had to choose our speciality. It was quite obvious to me, as I’m always interested in doing lots of things. I like trying out new stuff. For OLOW, we wanted a marbled texture, for example. It’s called marbling; you put oil paint in thickened water, and then you place the piece of paper on top and you end up with the visual for the Baie des Fumées catalogue.

Amongst all this diversity, how would you define your style?

I think the hardest part of being an artist is finding your touch. I don’t know if I have one yet, I don’t think so. I think it evolves all the time. I remember one of my teachers saying: “You have to be a sponge; everything you see, you have to ingest it and then, when you wring it out, reuse it in your own way”. That’s why I draw inspiration from everything I see and from other artists. I mix it up, but it’s hard to give myself a particular style.

Maxime Beldent - Winter Is Dead

Photo credits: Isa Thorelo

You have an extremely thin and precise stroke at times, which renders your illustrations absurd and hyper-realistic at the same time. Like with your pinecone/pineapple/cocktail or your cactus on an ice-cream stick, for example. What is your goal when doing these unlikely blends?

It actually makes me laugh. I’m going to be doing more and more, I have other projects. I like mixing unlikely things. The cactus is meant to be an ice-cream, which people dig eating. It’s supposed to be something soft in your mouth, but you end up eating a cactus and it tears your tongue to bits. It just makes me laugh, associating objects. I don’t want there to be a thought-process behind it, I just want to make people smile.

Where do you find these ideas of atypical associations?

Everywhere. I went to Greece on holiday this summer with a friend and we did quite a lot of diving. I saw lots of fish; there was a really long one with a big nose that made me crack up. And then at the hostel, a guy took out his clarinet and started to play. He played really well. Seeing that clarinet made me think of that fish’s nose. I jotted down “fish + clarinet” inside my notebook where I keep all my ideas, and it soon became a project.

 You heavily contributed to OLOW’s graphic world, whether it be with the creation of our catalogue or with your illustrations for our t-shirts. What do you like about the brand?

I really enjoy its relationship with art, and the fact that Mathieu and Valentin work with many different artists, even people we’ve never heard of. I’ve discovered so many artists by working for them. I already loved SupaKitch or Pelegrino’s work and I got to meet them thanks to OLOW’s collaboration with Jeykill during the opening night. I was in that world and I saw all these guys I’d been following for the past 3 or 4 years. I really appreciate OLOW’s creative and versatile side. I can do illustrations, edit layouts, as well as photo shoots. I’ve sort of become a Swiss army knife in a way.

beldent olow

Lets talk about our collaboration for the REFUR coat. The word “heimskautarefur” written on the coat lining’s label which you created, refers to a small arctic fox you drew that essentially lives in the Far North. The animal is the only mammal native to Iceland, who was notably bred for its fur in the 1920s and 30s. Where did you find the idea to pay tribute to it this way?

The Baie des Fumées collection is based on Iceland. We were looking for themes relating to the country and this arctic fox kept coming back. I like those kinds of small animals; I actually have a dog that reminds me of them, with his big ears. In the end, it’s always the same: it’s something I saw that made me laugh. It has nothing to do with my other drawings because I had to create some kind of backdrop. You can see the fox amongst the mountains, and because we also had that travel theme, I added a card game. This label is a summary of the collection. I don’t do compositions very often. I’d like to do more but I’m not good enough yet. I’m working on it.

Any plans on doing an exhibition one day?

Maybe. I do think it’s being a little show-off though, kind of like “I want to exhibit my creations”. I’m putting together something in Nantes with friends but it’s still only at the project stage. Basically, we’ll be setting up a place on the Ile de Nantes where I’ll be working with friends who are setting up an agency. In the hangar, we’d like to also have a place dedicated to exhibitions, artist residencies, events and conferences. I’d probably manage that place, and if I had enough material and felt ready, maybe I’d exhibit my stuff there one day. It’s still only a project. But we’re on the right track.  

beldent

Many thanks to Maxime for his answers.

Find his creations and projects on his website.

Maxime drew a couple of illustrations for our tee-shirts from the Baie Des Fumées collection. Find them in our retailers and our e-shop:

beldent larry gris beldent larry écru beldent cocktail gris beldent cocktail écru

Interview réalisée par Valentin Porcher
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After you have submitted an order, the Customer receives by email and without delay a confirmation of his approval of the Order.

The Customer also receives by email and without delay, a receipt of the order sent electronically, regarding as a confirmation of the order (“Order Confirmation”).

The Customer receives electronically, the confirmation that the Goods have been dispatched.

The delivery shall take place at the location indicated by the Customer at the time of the Order.

Additionally, by undertaking these different steps to Order, the Customer accepts to strictly comply with this Agreement, in accordance with section 1316-1 of the French Civil Code.

The Vendor undertakes to deliver the Goods and Services subject of the Order Confirmation. In the event that a Good ordered is unavailable, the Vendor will promptly inform the Customer about this.

However, under section L.122-1 of the French Consumer Code, the Vendor reserves the right to cancel your Order if the Order is abnormal, involves bad faith or for any other reason that is under the sole discretion of the Vendor. The Vendor also reserves the right to reject orders from any customer with whom the Vendor have an ongoing legal dispute regarding a prior order.

Place of Delivery

The place of Delivery shall be determined by the Customer within the Territory, under sanction to refuse the Order.

The Customer is exclusively responsible for any error in the Delivery due to a lack of indication contained in the Order.

Amount of Delivery Charges

The amount of Delivery Charges depends upon the amount of the Order and upon the Method of Delivery the Customer chooses. In any case, the amount of Delivery Charges shall be indicated to you before the Order Confirmation.

The Delivery Charges are free if the amount exceeds EUR 200,00.

Delivery Term

Delivery Terms are available for review on the Website. They may change depending on the availability of the Goods subject of the Order.

Delivery Terms are expressed in working days and correspond to an average time for preparing and shipping the Order to the Customer.

Delivery Terms shall begin to run at the Order Confirmation date.

Delays

In the event of delays in the Delivery, the Order is not cancelled. The Vendor shall inform the Customer by electronic mail that the delivery will take place later than what was contemplated by the Parties. You will be then entitled to decide whether to confirm or cancel your order and shall send to the Vendor a cancellation notice of the Order at service-client@olow.fr.

If the Order has not been shipped yet at the time the Vendor receives the cancellation notice, the Delivery is effectively cancelled and the Customer is reimbursed of the payment he/she made, within fifteen (15) days from the receipt of the cancellation notice.

If the Order has been shipped at the time the Vendor receives cancellation notice, the Customer is still entitled to cancel the order by refusing the Delivery. The Vendor shall then reimburse the Customer of the payment he/she made, within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the returned products in the same condition as they were sent and must have their original label. The return expenses remain at the cost of the Customer.

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The Customer can follow the track progress of his/her Order on his/her account on the Website. Regarding the delivery progress, the Customer shall contact the Company to obtain a tracker number, to follow the progress.

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> 1 kg1 > 2 kg2 > 4kg
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Delivery time

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Arabie Saoudite, Bahreïn, Chine, Corée du Sud, Émirats Arabes Unis, Hong-Kong, Indonésie, Israël, Japon, Malaisie, Qatar, Singapour, Taiwan

Shipping cost

€24

Delivery time

4-7 working days

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Shipping cost

€27

Delivery time

6-10 working days

Returns

You have received your order but the product does not suit you?

You can return your products within 15 days of receiving your package, for any order.

The items must not have been worn, washed or damaged and must be returned in their original packaging, in perfect condition for resale.

How do I return my package from France?

To return your parcel, it is very simple :

  1. Go to “My account”, in the “My purchases” section,

  2. In the list of your orders, select your order,

  3. If your order is eligible for return, please tick each product you wish to return. If a product has been ordered in several copies, you can indicate the quantity to be returned.

  4. Indicate the reason for the return at the bottom of the order details and click on “Request a return”. You can track your return request in the “Returns” section of the “My purchases” section.

  5. Once your return request has been validated by our team, simply download the return form and place it in your package.

  6. Send your package to the address indicated on the return form.

Want to make a return request with a guest account?

It's very easy : contact us by email at service-client@olow.fr indicating your order number, the items you wish to return and whether you wish to request a refund, a credit note or an exchange.

The return costs are at the customer's expense (cost of shipping by the transporter chosen by the customer and any other related costs: customs duties, taxes, etc.).

How long does it take to get my money back once my package has been sent?

Refunds will be made within 10 days of receipt of your items and automatically to the account associated with the credit card used for payment or to the Paypal account used for payment.

Is it possible to return my item in the shop?

No, for all internet orders, returns can only be made to the address mentioned above.

What can I do if my item has a defect?

We take great care in the manufacture and finishing of our products. However, if you wish to report a manufacturing defect on a product, we invite you to contact our customer service by e-mail: service-client@olow.fr.

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