Durante la conferenza dell’associazione AGI tenutasi a Bienne, abbiamo avuto il piacere di incontrare Julien Vallée, un designer e regista che vive e lavora a Montreal, Canada. Durante il convegno, ha mostrato una vasta selezione di lavori da lui realizzati che ci hanno colpite positivamente. La sua creatività viene proiettata direttamente nelle sue opere che risultano essere molto colorate, ritmate e surreali, la sensazione è quella di essere trasportati in una dimensione fantastica nel quale tutto risulta essere possibile. La caratteristica ancora più sorprendente del suo lavoro è la sua abilità artigianale, gli stop motion e effetti di illusione ottica.
Julien Vallée is a designer and director living and working in Montreal, Canada. He has worked for Firefox, Lacoste, Coca-Cola, MTV, and The New York Times. He is a Young Guns 6 winner and a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale. The first monograph on his work, Rock, Paper, Scissors : The Work of Julien Vallée, was published by Gestalten in 2011.
I have a degree in graphic design at UQAM di Montreal. During my studies I became interested in motion graphic. Image in movement. I started by working with digital software like After Effects to make the graphic work animated. Eventually I wanted to do more and the only way to do it was building things by hand, and make stop-motion films to ring them to life. Because I didn’t knew 3d software at the beginning, but eventually because I enjoyed building things by hand, and the imperfection that this method brought to the final result.
when we present the idea to client, there is always a sort of education to do with them, especially when this is the first time they are working with us. There are a lot of things that require to build effects rigs, and device that trigger explosions, or flying objects. This is why it’s important that we agree on the creative part before we get started with production of those elements in our workshop. At this stage, a lot of people from the art department team comes (depending on the project from 4 to 8) and elaborate those different systems. This part of the process is call pre-production. This is also where we have to adapt our original idea the reality of life : Things are not always as expected, good and bad surprises happen and we have to be flexible about them. Sometimes beautiful things happen during this process and we do not hesitate to present them to the client if we feel they would make a better film than what agreed. From there until the end of the shoot, this is where I enjoy my daywork more.
We approach videos like we do in Photoshop. Each scenes have different video layers that we align on top of each other. That enable us to focus on each part of a scene and comp them together in the post-production process. In parallel, we also work with music composer to create the track that would fit the image. In either the post-production and music creation process we usually work with the same team. The main reason is that we are really picky on the selection of details and imperfections we want to keep from the shooting process. It comes to the amount of details we want to keep from certain material, what we want to keep in terms of the different rigs we built to create the effects. It’s also what details we want to enhance, and other we want to underline in the sound design track as well.
A lot of it comes unexpectedly while doing something else than sitting at the office to work. Some ideas comes from conversations about a scene in a film, where I would have imagine it differently, or extrapolate the original idea of this situation. As we work a lot with the environment (studio or exteriors) we like to take some normal situation or location and change them so it becomes something unreal. Like some magic happened and transform what we would expect from general life rules to happen (gravity, speed, colours, etc.) and change it into something more memorable.
It usually starts between my partner Eve and myself. We look at the brief together and eventually we split the work as describe : Eve is more into the general aesthetic of the set design and colours. I am more into the storytelling and the sequence of how things should happen. Eventually we present our ideas and flip flop everything so that it make sense for both of us. We are very critic and usually it change a lot during the process.
We were influenced by 3 different artists in this project. For lightning and vibrance of the colours, we had a lot of reference from James Turrell. For the architectural characteristics of this surreal pink city, we were influenced by la Muralla Roja from Ricardo Bofill.
A lot of our aesthetic comes from the way we are appro- aching our projects. We have an interest in doing things manually, and handcraft the different visual effects and set design that appear in our work. That said, it’s true that we might have develop a visual brand that as it’s own characteristics, but we really approach each project differently. Each client request is different so each solution is also different. What might be the relation between each project is the fact that we bring the different ideas that we have in a 3 dimensional space. And I think this is something that, in a digital era, might stand out for commercial clients. There are no real typical day in our studio. Especially when we are working in producing a commercial or personal film, the process takes weeks. But there are some similarity in the steps that we need to achieve before getting to the next one, at first the brief with Eve.
We work with references of music we like at the beginning. It help to give a tone to the images, and also to get every collaborators to get a sense of the pace of the films. Then we pass it on to music composers who comes back with different alternatives to our reference and eventually they compose original score to the final video track.