Now Featuring Château-vacant

Igniatus Jones – Like A Ghost, Print 1 of 3 in our Château-vacant Exclusive Print Set LISTEN

We are excited to present Château-vacant as our second featured artist (in this case, collective) of August! Yannick Calvez, Lémuel Malicoutis & Baptiste Alchourroun — originally from France — run their recently formed collective, Château-vacant, in Montreal, QC, Canada and are working their magic in illustration, graphic design, animation, and photography. Read on as the three members of this dynamic troupe reveal what its like to collectively brainstorm, work without computers, and travel the globe.

The three prints available in the exclusive print set are counterparts to new wave songs of the same name as the titled pieces. Follow the links labeled ‘LISTEN’ to hear the magnificent theme songs.

As individual members of the collective you each play a different role, Baptiste illustration, Yannick photography, and Lémuel video animation. Are you all similar in tastes or do you each have your own style and energy that you bring to a project? Can you shed some light on each other’s personalities and how they help the progression of each project?

Well, we met during our studies first and then we developed a similar graphic and artistic culture. We spent a lot of time together and we shared references. But we also followed our own individual paths, meeting many different people, and we matured into our own likeness with severals fields of creation. In Château-vacant, nobody has a squared function and we each cross platforms at some point, but we each tend to remain more focused on our preferred methods. It also depends on the projects we do and if one of us is a little more inspired than the others, he will invest himself and explore the other mediums.

About our personalities, we could simplify it like this: Yannick is without complexes and can do many pieces in the same time even though he may have a lot on his hands, however, he is the photoshop guy and can spend hours cleaning images. Lémuel is the carpenter. He likes hammers, saws, wood, nails, and ladders. He also likes hand-made gradients — he is kind of a geek. Baptiste, is the second geek, but with graphite.

Explain your shared methods on how you begin a project. What are some of your favorite brainstorming strategies?

Yannick: For my part, I write.

Lémuel: I have a little rest, and I wait for the moment my buddies find something. Sometimes I draw instead of sleeping.

Baptiste: I draw to fix ideas. Then when we all share our individual points, it’s always different. Our collective is new and we are still looking for a good balance. At first, we were talking a lot — with coffee, beers and cigarettes, most of the time. Then we realized that this way was too arduous of an approach. We all had different ideas and were constantly trying to satisfy each one. We soon understood that it was sometimes important to act rather than discuss. After we independently reach a good point, we stop and talk about our individual developments. This is more interesting because we theoretically already have a concrete starting point. The next step of creation follows naturally.

Starter – Lunapark, Print 2 of 3 LISTEN

What are your opinions on working with a computer versus a more hands on method? When does the computer or other technology come into your process?

This follows what we mentioned before, we need for things to be concrete. We are obsessed about touching and feeling, so the computer is to abstract for us. But we are all aware and acknowledge that it is an amazing tool. We use it as a way to combine all the elements we do with our hands. We construct a piece with our hands and then we take a picture, upload it on our computer, and rework the composition. And of course, we use the computer to listen to music, which is an essential element for us.

Baptiste: When I draw, I’m really caught up in the bundles of papers, as if it were a three dimensional space. I don’t feel this with the computer. When I use the computer, I see it as a geometric game — moving pieces around, trying to find the best solution. I like this but it deals with my brain more than my feelings.

You mentioned to me the idea of a traveling studio–it sounds like such a great idea–can you talk a little more about this proposal and the reasons and inspirations behind this?

It is just an idea but we are convinced it could be exciting. This idea can easily illustrate our way of thinking and doing things.

Yannick: I’d very much like to live this kind of life, but I know there’s a huge logistic side to figure out. Currently I’m more focused on this first experience in Montreal before making these plans.

Lémuel: I still don’t know all the clubs in Montreal so I need to spend a few more months here before leaving.

Baptiste: I don’t know because I do like to travel but I also need to stay settled in the same place to really get involved.

With each of the many places the three of you have lived, individually or collectively, has your view of the world changed? Have these places brought about changes in your work?

Baptiste: I don’t think I truly changed my point of view specifically because of traveling. It has changed, though, for a variety of different reasons. When I went abroad I felt very free. Being in Poland for 6 months made me feel like I had no obligations with people I knew, teachers, family, or others. I managed to feel more relaxed and I think that’s the period I improved the most with my drawing technic and inspiration.

Yannick: Definitely yes. How can I answer differently? I shoot photos when I’m traveling and each experience is different. My photos change with each experience and so do I.

Lémuel: Like Baptiste, I spent a few months in Poland, but not in the same city. During this time I improved on my animations and my concentration skills — because I was alone a lot of the time. My vision of the world is changing everyday, hitchhiking between my home and my grandfather’s place (a few miles) or working on a production line at an industrial slaughterhouse could be as rewarding as a journey across eastern Europe. Also, to be in new places gives me new ideas, new tastes, and ultimately, new pictures.

Where would you like to go next and why?

Yannick: Burma, Japan, Brasil, Russia, Lybia, Egypt, South Africa, Mozambique, New Zealand, Iran, Mongolia, and Antarctica. I don’t know these parts of the world. Also, Oaxaca, San Francisco, Berlin, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, Paris, and London are places I really like.

Lémuel: Me too. And also, Mars, Jupiter, Pluto and the Moon.

Baptiste: I don’t know. We’ll see. I sometimes miss France.
Now I have to ask, being that Château-vacant means ‘vacant castle’ and the three of you are originally from Europe, have you been inside a vacant castle? I ask because here in the U.S. we are limited to the plastic ‘castles’ in Las Vegas and Disneyland. haha

Baptiste: We didn’t visit a lot of castles but we did aim at drinking tasty castles like Château Margaux, for example. But it’s too expensive for now.

Lémuel: Haha. On a serious note, we chose this name because we were imagining a dreamy place where people could come and stay for a couple of days and then leave. We’d like for our place to be a space where you can bring things and pick others to go away with. We wanted a vacant castle also because we were troubled by the fact that castles were first places of battle.

Yannick: And it sounds good.

What are some of your upcoming projects and what has been keeping Château-vacant busy?

We recently finished the visual identity work for a Montreal-based band, worked on illustrations for several magazines, and are now dealing with a production company to possibly make a video-clip. We are also going to work with both a Mexican publication and an upcoming fanzine in France called L’Incident. Yannick recently did the visual identity for an exhibition in Lille (France).

John Foxx – Metal Beat, Print 3 of 3 LISTEN

Thanks so much for being a part of the Little Paper Planes Exclusive Print series! We look forward to seeing the many new projects to come out of Château-vacant.

View the website of Château-vacant

These prints are available in two sizes, 8.5 x 11″ and 13 x 19″ and are offered individually or as a set of 3. They are printed with Epson Ultra Chrome archival inks on Hahnemuhle German Etching paper. BUY


1 Max F.No Gravatar { 08.18.10 at 4:02 pm }

I’m french, I live in Montreal and I didn’t know this guys, wtf!

2 Kelly JonesNo Gravatar { 08.18.10 at 6:56 pm }

haha, well now you know them! yay!

3 little paper planes and château-vacant « Brown Paper Bag { 08.19.10 at 4:07 pm }

[...] can find more about Château-Vacant in their inter­view with Cort­ney from the LPP gang. You can also buy exclu­sive prints of their work — lim­ited edi­tion AND [...]

Leave a Comment