« Planchettes (wooden board) – Exhibition » / Meet Mr Walter
Black, lots of black. Some patience. Some pencils and some white too. Sometimes these words are not enough to define the talent of artists. This is the case for Maxime Viseux and his authentic world around him. Under the name Mr. Walter, the illustrator balances his feelings through works both light and dark. Like a plastic surgeon, he remodels and repairs his bristol boards with a precision scalpel and the aesthetics of his incisions promises a bright future.
A worthy participant of the exhibition “Planchettes” which includes 28 European artists who are equally as talented and exotic. Mr Walter is the first on a long list for me to interrogate.
Mr. Walter, how are you?
I’m pretty well! Many good things are to come!
Where are you from? A small sum up about your background and your career.
I grew up in the Paris suburbs and to be honest, I’ve never adapted very well to the general school system. I knew what I wanted to do from a very young age, so at first I did a designer and modeler diploma at La Ruche (Paris) followed by 3 years at the School of Visual Communication also in Paris. Then I very quickly had the opportunity to set up on my own and it’s now been two years since I’ve worked on projects that are more and more important and interesting.
Which one of your works is most you? Which one defines you the best.
It’s pretty simple, I did a pretend self-portrait with my favorite shirt on, my tattoos and replaced my head with a cross! This was just to say that I don’t really care about being that “artist jerk” who seeks absolute recognition of his own self rather than his work.
What I produce is what matters and especially to also continue to evolve in the right direction. After that, I am someone who prefers to keep a part of mystery.
At first, your illustrations represent something pretty strong and almost creepy. We can almost feel threatened but nevertheless, we remain quiet and serene, by the precision and lightness of your features, of a black elegance. How can you explain this? Is this play between shape and content intended or is it something that you don’t control?
To start off with there is a natural contrast in my work. Especially in my personal productions where my subjects are often dark, but treated in a sufficiently precise and lightweight way. I found my graphic style in the world of engraving, I adapted this overlaying style for the features to give volume and material.
With time and experience, my features and lines are finer and my compositions are more elaborate. I also play a lot with the background. Working on a black background with white lead is close to my heart, it gives a completely different dimension to my work. There is also the animated image by image part that has greatly influenced my style, in the sense that it helped me to create something with any kind of media (web, print, animation …). So I am easily recognizable.
Do you need a special atmosphere when you draw?
Yes, a lot of music! Essentially rock ‘n roll.
Where do you find your inspiration? What are your influences, your “muses” in a way?
There are three artists who have really influenced and inspired me : Thomas Ott, Mike Giant and Charles Burns! Regarding inspiration, it comes to me when I go out (walking, evenings out, expos …). It’s pretty instinctive!!
On the process side, how do you undertake the development of your work?
In general I go with a feeling, except when I’m given constraints.
I think that the bristol board and carbon are no secret to you. Are you attracted to other materials, digital technology or anything?
Of course! It is important not to limit myself to this level: To explore the most materials and supports as possible whilst trying to keep the best style! What’s tempting me the most at the moment is to make a huge fresco!
Is it easy to get started freelancing at first amongst a bunch of already well known artists?
Ha that … not really! I think we should just simply start and not want to do things too fast! To question things often without being daunted by the amount of things to do.
After your “Planchette (board)”, what news or projects do you have to put us in the loop?
Many things are happening at the moment, I have a show prepared with the CHIZ magazine! Apart from that I recently made a video for a movie called the FINE EQUIPE in collaboration with the two rappers of ASM.
A final word?
Thanks for everything!