Baptiste Kucharski bloats pages with calculations and codes resisting unjustified digital over-sexualisation and saturated with nouvelle vague design and a fascination with video games.
So let’s start by you telling me a bit about your background
I live in France, I studied graphic design and visual communication for 5 years. The first year was more about learning the basics, like History of Arts, painting, live model drawing, colours — It was like learning to understand the world I was going to jump into.
The next years were more about learning all the fields around visual communication, like typography, editorial design, web design, photography, video editing, etc ... But there wasn’t any 3D lessons, so I started to learn on my own because I didn’t want to build boundaries to my creativity. The beginning was pretty hard to understand, because you’re switching from a 2D to a 3D interface, but after a few times you understand more and more what you do and how you do it. When I finished my studies, I wanted to [do] one last internship in a design studio, to make a bridge between studies and [the] professional world. I sent an application to Deutsche & Japaner, it has always been one of my favourite studios and I felt like it was the right time to apply. They accepted and I moved to Germany for 7 months. There I’ve learnt so much and have met such wonderful minds. It has definitely been one of the best experiences of my life. Then I came back to France and started working on my own — and here I am.
Your work binds together a logical, more traditionally academic brain – one that understands languages and maybe is more mathematical - with creativity. Do you think your background influences your work?
Yes definitely. First in high school I was in the Sciences section, which is focused on Mathematics, Biology, Physics and Chemistry. You learn a methodology, a way to solve problems and understand numbers. Later when I learnt Web Development I found similarities with mathematics, except that numbers are replaced by code lines. And then when it was about 3D, it was the same way to see things, just settings, numbers, code lines... My sketchbooks are filled with numbers and calculations, paradoxically not so much of drawings.
For me, I find this fairly new realm of work beautiful, mainly because of the fact that it is so unknown and complex. This also makes it so thought-provoking and worrying. What motivated you to concentrate on this style of graphic design?
I wasn’t so much into 3D in the beginning, because it is a complicated field, technically speaking. I was more into editorial design, playing with text blocs and typefaces — Not saying editorial design is easy, it’s clearly not, but I have more facilities in this field. But most of the work people were asking me to do was revolving around 3D, so I thought maybe I should focus more on that.
You have mentioned that one of your main inspirations is contemporary fashion. Why is this? I like to think that if I wouldn’t have studied graphic design, [then] I would have studied fashion design. I have a sensibility for this and I think those two worlds are not so far from each other. It’s not just about the clothing, it’s about everything that revolves around a collection, the atmosphere behind it. I love the nouvelle vague of fashion creators like Demna Gvasalia, Gosha Rubchinskiy, Marine Serre, Simon Porte Jacquemus, Maria Ke Fisherman, Pepa Salazar etc ... From the clothing to the fashion campaign passing by the models they choose to highlight their collection. While I’m writing these words I have for example in mind the fake documentary “La Piscine” (2013) by Jacquemus, how can’t you be inspired by those girls hanging out near the swimming pool — or more recently the Balenciaga Summer 19 Campaign, damn this one was sick.
Do you have any rituals or ceremonies you go through in order to work or create work?
I’m a night bird, I wake up pretty late in the day and work late in the night too. I’m more creative at night, I hate mornings. I like to work alone. Sometimes ideas come pretty fast, sometimes I’m facing creativity crisis. Most of the time I think about the subject of the current work, once I’ve found an idea I open magazines and take a look at the compositions, the colours, the pose(s) of the model(s), the lights, the camera angle and I’m like “that could be a nice start”. Then it’s a lot of trials until I start being satisfied. Most of the people don’t really imagine how hard it is to create a visual because they only see the final product and not the hundreds of hours spent to get to it.
Your work often has a glazed or HD and realistic but distinctly digitalised aesthetic. What instigated this?
I grew up in the 2000s, and like almost every kid back then, I was fascinated by videogames. More particularly games like Tekken 3, Metal Gear Solid 3, Silent Hill 2/3 or Resident Evil Ø/2/3. Not only the gameplay, but the way the teams behind those games brought life to 3D characters, by giving them a background story and emotions, and of course the graphic design of the characters and their universes. I still play those games nowadays or listen to their soundtracks while working - it’s a great source of inspiration. I’m also very inspired by the amazing work of Hajime Sorayama, technically but also the way he makes women so powerful. In general, Japanese culture is a real source of inspiration to me.
In this sector of design, I assume it is possible to design all types of physical forms. Why have you chosen to base your creations on the human physique?
I know it is a bit cliché to say, but I’m so inspired by Women. I think they’re kind of magic.
You mainly design white women. Why is this?
I focus on women, no matter their ethnic origins.
Designing beings can be very controversial. Do you see yourself as a creator of creatures, beings, models, something along these lines, or a different type of creator?
I don’t know, I see them as parts of me; I create them with passion. What I’m trying to highlight when I’m working on a model is a particular beauty, an emotion or a feeling. It’s not so complicated to make a 3D model, what is complicated is to bring an emotion to it, to make it singular.
What do you think about the debates surrounding the designing of digital figures, and how do you relate to yourself to these? Particularly regarding the influence of the male gaze over this industry.
Talking about the influence of the male gaze over this field, I think it’s sad that most of the time digital models are oversexualised without any justification, just because it is sort of a standard. What I’m saying here is that the vision you give to a character has to be on purpose. Beauty standards are boring.
courtesy BAPTISTE KUCHARSKI
interview KATE BISHOP
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