French Shoemaker since 1934

Meeting with Vincent Broquaire

A French artist based in Strasbourg, Vincent Broquaire shares his worldview tinged with irony and poetry through his drawings and video installations. The lines that emerge from his pen describe imaginary landscapes that come to life and are transformed, examining our connection with nature.

We met up with him to find out more about his work and the collaboration with Heschung in which he looks back on the brand’s history.

Can you introduce yourself and tell us more about your journey?

I graduated from the fine art academy in Lorient, Brittany in 2008 and from HEAR Strasbourg in 2010. Since then I’ve been based in Strasbourg where I work as an artist with a focus on drawing. I push the boundaries of the discipline by also working on animated films, installations, books, performance and murals. In terms of projects, I work on both public and private commissions, as well as group and solo exhibitions in galleries or museums.

 

Where does your inspiration come from?

I take inspiration many different spheres and disciplines: it’s quite difficult to identify them precisely. My influences come from many a wide variety of areas. The work of some artists in other media (sculpture/photography/installation) inspires me a lot. I also draw inspiration from topical issues relating to the environment, science and technology and from my everyday experiences. The interaction of these influences then gives me certain ideas or goals for my drawings and animations. Architecture and construction are also an interest of mine that is important in the context of some of my recent work, like the web series Muséiformes or my exhibition Umbra Urbe at the Champs Libres arts centre in Rennes, for example.

Vincent Broquaire image 1
01 : Flattening 1, 2018, dessin à l’encre, 65 x 46 cm

How would you describe your style, your universe?

I perhaps have a style, but it’s not really intentional. It’s more of a position and a way of presenting things. In my drawings, I nearly always work in black and white, stripping things back to the essence of drawing and the simplest expression of it. This is in contrast to the subjects I tackle, which are more or less directly connected with our technological age and the internet. There is also my interest in the absurd and the desire to play with the viewer, to foil their expectations, which is a kind of language, an approach that can be attributed to me. There’s an element of ambiguity that I often look for. Even if these parameters are not unusual, I always try to use new media and blend ideas in order to bring something new to the table. I recently completed a public commission in Villeurbanne in the form of a large mural on the side of two apartment buildings; I’d never done that before and it’s this type of new experience that I’m trying to move towards.

How do you approach your work? How would you describe your creative process?

It’s quite spontaneous and relatively uncomplicated at the beginning. I always have several sketchbooks with me, which I use to draw and take notes. These little sketches are the basis of everything, the starting point for projects, ideas and concepts that will result in drawings, installations or animations. There are also a lot of storyboards. Then I might gather images from the internet or read articles about a subject that interests me. There are still several stages of thinking and questioning before embarking on the work itself, if it’s a self-initiated project. For a commission, the process is virtually the same, even though there might be more toing and froing as well as discussions with the client and other parties involved. As far as production is concerned, it varies considerably depending on the chosen medium and process (drawing, animation or animation series, etc.).

Vincent Borquaire image 2
02 : Refraction, 2017, installation vidéo, double projection, 10 x 5,50 m - Exposition Hyperpavilion, 57ème Biennale de Venise

Nature features prominently in your creations. Can you tell us about this connection?

Yes, it is omnipresent. The subject interests me, particularly how landscapes are represented in our time. The landscape is a strong, universal motif that serves as a focus for the questions we have about our world. In my work, nature often appears fake, it’s constantly creating illusions and humans seem to be constantly trying to control, contain or imitate it. It’s like what we do now – we treat nature like scenery, a decorative backdrop. The scenes I show in my drawings seem fictional, but they are often quite close to the truth. My drawings are there to examine our relationship to the landscape and nature, our way of understanding it and the paradoxes it gives rise to. It’s not unusual to see a lush green forest in the middle of a shopping complex or a floral pattern daubed on the columns of a motorway bridge.

vincent broquaire image 3
03 : Building an image 1, 2018, dessin à l’encre, 65 x 46 cm
vincent broquaire image 4
04 : Drag and drop, 2016, dessin à l’encre, 46 x 34 cm

Can you tell us more about this project on Heschung’s history?

The impetus for this collaboration came from Studio Meta which I already knew, and which executes the brand’s website and digital presence. The idea was to tell the brand’s story with my graphic universe. So I created a course represented by a drawn line with several stages and key points corresponding to milestones in the brand’s history. The animation is guided by the user who is represented by a drawn character. He remains in the middle of the screen while moving through it. This character comes across a pair of shoes and when he puts them on, it changes his perception of the world as things start springing up out of the ground. The landscape, which at the beginning had consisted of nothing more than a line in space, is transformed and the journey continues. I wanted to recreate something reminiscent of an infinite, interactive drawing which you can move around in, and also a platform game where the main character finds treasure and collects rewards along the way.

What do you think about Heschung? What values do you share with the brand?

I was already aware of the brand through a few friends who are fans, but I must admit that I knew nothing about its story, which I find fascinating. I didn’t know the brand was so long-established. I appreciate this straightforward approach, putting the emphasis on know-how, while remaining very contemporary.

How would you describe the brand in three words?

Know-how, stylish, contemporary

Which are your favourite shoes?

The Buis or Gousset boots for men and the Tremble ankle boots for women.

Discover the story of Heschung illustrated by Vincent Broquaire here

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