BSDA Artist Interview: Camille Michel

Over on Buy Some Damn Art there is a new show of six drawings by French artist Camille Michel. The line work in Camille’s work is mesmerizing and speaks to the artist’s dedication to his drawing practice – spanning both his training and work as an architect and his personal work. For the artist music and art are always linked; in this series each drawing is inspired and named after a song.
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Where are you based? 
I live in Paris for now, but I might move in the future, depending on the opportunities that lie ahead.
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Tired of Tomorrow - Nothing)_email4
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What is your background in fine art?
I’ve no specific background in fine art. I studied applied arts in high school, and architecture for 5 years. I remember that I really liked the hand drawing part of the second year courses, which included a lot of handmade oblique hatching.
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Skies a Crossed Sky - Bethany Curve_email2
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How does your fine art practice fit in with your other pursuits in architecture and music / sound?
It’s working as an ensemble, very smoothly, and spontaneously. I don’t like to imagine things from within the structure of a specific field. Architecture works naturally with music, sound and graphic things. It’s only a question of enjoying oneself as an amateur. To remain an amateur in each field is very important! Maybe it’s also about leaving a silent trace (drawing / plan) of something immaterial (music / sound). Listen / Silent.
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Tropical Motion Fever - Drive Blind_email2
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What does it mean to you to identify as a child of the 1980’s suburbs as you mention on your website? How did 80’s/ 90’s culture and suburban culture influence your development as a creative person?  
It’s also (and always) a question of what you enjoy, and how growing up in suburbia teaches you as a child to be in the space, to move, to play, to feel, to understand the geography and the borders between things, or with people. It’s not the same thing at all if you grow up downtown. Suburban feeling is a question of eroticism (and I mean that in a very different way from the suburban hype of today, because I have been thinking about that question since I was 15 years old). Colors, smells, sounds, rhythms are specific and strong, and teach you to be responsive with your emotions, with your body.
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The drawings in this series are all named after various songs. I assume the titles reflect what you listened to when making these drawings. If so what kind of music do you like to listen to when creating art?
The six drawings are named with the albums / bands I was listening to when I did each one of them. These pieces are samples of what I consider interesting, or good music (erotic music), with a lot of guitars, textures, loud sonic walls and catchy melodies.
I like to draw in a small format because I can do that on my desk just in front of my computer, listening to music. It’s a simple continuity between the different things I do everyday. I don’t want to produce things when it’s not the right time to do it. So, sometimes it’s drawing while I’m listening to good music, sometimes it’s making music after reading something good. Sometimes it’s writing. Everything is linked and continuous.
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Listening to (Aenima - Tool)_email
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Your works have a beautiful simplicity to them and are the product of very focused, refined line work. Are they as meditative to make as they appear? 
I don’t know if “meditative” is the exact word, but I’m talking a lot to myself in my head when I’m drawing. It’s a pleasant self-reflexive activity. Somehow, drawing something useless (uselessness is important), and very laborious to do, is maybe as a means of find a state of boredom; something empty and boring, like a suburban afternoon during summer vacation.
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Gore - Deftones_email2
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What other projects are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a new series of artwork directly linked to the suburban district where I grew up, between memories, intimacy and documentary (photos, photomontages, texts, sculptures… ). Four new tracks of my band Crème Fouettée will be recorded soon. And also different kinds of drawings, enjoying being home while listening to good music.
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