March 6, 2018

Continuing on with our "Introducing" series, this time we travel to Paris to chat with one of our collaborators and favourite Pixellated animation artist - Mattis Dovier. Mattis opens up about his life in Paris, his inspirations, his love for music and future projects.

GASS: Hello Mattis, in your own words, who are you and where are you from? 

MATTIS DOVIER: My name is Mattis Dovier, I come from France and I draw pixellated stuffs.

GASS: Paris is such a beautiful city, so classy as well. You know, for me, it feels like even homeless people in Paris are haute-couture...

It must be so inspiring to wake up to such grand beauty, architecture and beautiful women everyday...

MATTIS DOVIER: I am from the south of France, I came to Paris for my studies in my early twenties and I was amazed by all these great places, art galleries, clubs … Now I don’t go out much anymore, even if I still find pleasant to have as much opportunities . Over time, your perception change, you become accustomed to the beauty and you end up seeing also the ugliness of your environment.

The romantic vision of Paris, the architecture’s elegance, its special atmosphere are real but besides that, there is a lot of poverty, people can be very selfish and sometimes you wonder why you rent an expensive apartment to breathe such a polluted air !

Despite this, I like the city and especially my area in the 19th arrondissement, it’s very cosmopolitan and relaxed, perfect to chill out in the parks around or at a terrace near the canal banks from spring!

GASS: How did you get into design and making gifs?

MATTIS DOVIER: I first studied graphic design but I was very frustrated to not being able to express myself. It was a bit too formatted and far from what I expected from an art education, so after my exams I decided to make my own stuff and to return to my initial passion for drawing.

I started to learn animation by myself and I spent some years working on personal and small commissioned projects before having the opportunity to work on a music video for  Plurabelle, a great indie electro band.

I became interested in the early mac’s aesthetic because I didn’t have the time to work on coloured HD images, and it was a synthesis of all my influences coming from 80’s animations and movies, underground manga and 8-bit video games . I also find a coherence in the use of pixel art, as I draw directly on a graphic tablet, where the numeric aesthetic is a part of the drawing process.

GASS: Anime is a big part in your art, a lot of inspirations from Asia and ... a lot of violence. How do you think of the all things 'go wrong' moment in your work?

MATTIS DOVIER: There are images that obsess me and I have to draw them to get rid of them. I think it is a way to exorcize my inner demons. It is something quite cathartic and introspective. It is also a free space where I can express myself without filter, I don’t have to sell a brand or an article so I don’t need to ensure that people feel good watching my work, depicting a bright positive consumer society.

I don’t like consensual stuffs, I like to feel the artist’s commitment behind his work, so I don’t want to just make random gruesome images, I try to explore dark themes to serve emotions.

I am not interested at all in violence itself, but rather in the way it is represented, that must brings something else, some poetry or derision. I like the fact that drawing and animation add a playful meaning and allows to keep a distance with subjects that are quite dark and fatalistic. This gap fascinates me in the drawings of Suehiro Maruo, who is one of the master of ero guro manga. There is a lot of elegance and poetry in the aesthetic while the subjects are extremely dark.

GASS: What do you think is the future of animation? 

MATTIS DOVIER: I don’t know, on the one hand I feel that the golden age of animation is behind us, I grew up with the animated Batman series and City Hunter, and then I discovered Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Ghibli and Madhouse studios gems…

Now 2D animation is often replaced by CGI because it is faster to produce and I can’t find what I like in most of the actual production. Not only because it is 3D rendering, which can be interesting, but mostly because there is no risk taking .

On the other hand, there is a strong independent scene growing and young animators make amazing pieces of animations. Thanks to technology, animation is more accessible now and it opens the door to more experiments.

As in other areas, when something becomes too mainstream, creativity is developing elsewhere.

GASS: What are you working on right now? I've seen you posting a wip for Boiler Room & a new music Vid?  

MATTIS DOVIER: I am actually very busy, working on two music videos and I try to find time to progress on my short film which should be a bit different from my previous works.

GASS: Music takes a big part of your work as you focus a lot on music videos. What kind of stuff you listen to and what are you into at the moment? 

MATTIS DOVIER: I listened a lot of rap when I was teenager and as a fan of the 80’s aesthetic I used to listen a lot of Italo disco , I went then to industrial techno with producers like Helena Hauff, Kangding Ray, Ancient Method, Vatican Shadow, Mondkopf (and it’s side projects Extreme Precautions and Autrenoir ) among many others.

I'm an electro addict and I'm interested in all its forms but I mostly like raw sounds and dark atmospheres.

Actually I listen a lot of tracks from the 90’s Trance labels Bonzaï and Platipus records, that brings amazing mental raves !

GASS: What do you think about the culture of today? With all the crazy stuff happening in the world today, in the chaos and disruption times. What do you think about art, music and youth culture moving forward?

MATTIS DOVIER: I feel really connected with the contemporary aesthetic. I find the digital era very interesting. The Internet seems to be the only true democratic place, not corrupted by power and politics, (yet). It’s a free place where you can express yourself. It should be the true form of art: not an economic value, not a social distinction, just pure expression. I feel like it was the only way to do that, virtually. We are aware that our society is dysfunctional but we can’t do anything: any war, economic and ecological crisis are driven by higher instances. All we have is dreaming of a better future. It is interesting how humanity tries to escape its frustrations with art, music, books,  cinema, video-games, virtual worlds. The internet is a free space to build something together and it begins with cultural sharing.

GASS: Whats your ultimate goal? Do you have the end goal or are you more of a cruiser? 

MATTIS DOVIER: I think I am where I wanted to be. Working with great artists, be connected to my passion for music and be able to live from my art is a tremendous opportunity.

I don’t like to force things, I simply let them happen. More like a cruiser I guess!