Who’s behind the artwork of Petit Biscuit, Ekali and many others?
Chase went to Amsterdam Dance event, a five day festival about electronic dance music with showcases, keynotes, parties and even expositions! Sonos hosted an exposition about the French visual artist Quentin Deronzier. At this event they presented his work and videoclips in a way that proves the importance of a visual image complimented with music. Thanks to Sonos we had the opportunity to speak with this artist. Let's dive into his world and learn a little more about this creative genius who makes 3D imagery, videoclips and artwork in the music industry and beyond.
Written by Levi Adriaenssens, photography by Orrin van Jaarsveld, artwork by Quentin Deronzier & Jonathan Zawada
You worked in the advertising business before becoming a visual artist, how did that come about?
Well basically I grew out of the advertising business, I wanted to go my own way and put more of myself into art. So I started working alone armed with loads of motivation and persistence. I obligated myself to create several artworks per week, sent them around and just kept working. I started building a network, meeting artists and working for artists for free and it evolved into a professional job.
How did you end up in Amsterdam with Sonos?
I knew someone at an event agency that worked with Sonos. They told me they were looking for someone for an exposition. And that’s how they ended up with me, they considered the link between music and image to be good.
Quentin Deronzier (the pink shirt) @SonosADE - Picture by Orrin van Jaarsveld©
Where do you get your inspiration?
It comes from everywhere! From lakes, cities… but mostly traveling. Lately I’ve been in to Asian countries, I went to Japan one year ago, in three weeks I gained more inspiration than in two months normally! It was an incredible experience. By just looking at new cultures or being surrounded by new languages I get inspired.
Do you think being open to different cultures makes you more achieving?
Absolutely! By doing so you discover new things you’d otherwise never know you would like. You push yourself into new directions and discover more this way. For me being open to new things has been the starting point. When someone first asked me to make a videoclip, I had never done anything like it. But I took a chance and went for it. Now I make a lot of them.
Josh Pan - give it to ya (feat. ABRA) - videoclip by Quentin Deronzier
Do you also gain inspiration from other artists?
Definitely. Especially by just talking to them. By engaging in these conversations you can learn about new techniques, processes, new insights, and sometimes you even meet new people that way. I actually invited Jonathan Zawada once to one of my exhibitions. He is the graphic designer from Flume's last album/EP's. So it's always best to meet new people, with the biggest network possible. That's how you get inspired by others.
artwork for Flume's album: skin by Jonathan Zawada
You have a visual identity, but musicians have a certain vision for their artwork as well. How does the process with artists come about?
People come to me, so they know what to expect. That makes it easier to work together. Some artists don’t have a clear vision or idea. Those are harder to work with because you spend lots of time pitching creative paths but they're still indecisive. They'll know what they want when they see it. So artists that have a clear view on where they want to go are a lot easier to work with.
Where do you draw the line?
When it goes wrong I try to explain they came to me for my vision, style and identity. Mostly it’s because they're not sure about some ideas but then I’m like just trust me, let’s do this. I try to negotiate, but if the artist wants an ugly visual I can give them that too… At the end of the day they are the ones paying me, I just don’t promote it that much then (chuckles).
What if someone asks you to create something that totally clashes with your vision, or what if you have to work with someone that's very difficult?
My manager always has my back, but luckily I've never had to work with a total dickhead before!
What’s your ultimate dream?
I’d love to make a movie one day. With several producers for the soundtrack. Definitely one on the bucketlist!
Is there any artist in particular that you would like to work with?
My ultimate goal would be Flume! He's at least in my top three. He is very creative when it comes to productions and has a clear vision on what he’s doing and he’s just a nice guy you know! Slow Magic is another one, I’ve been a fan of him for over six years. Petit Biscuit is a dream that actually came true, he’s an artist I was totally in love with even before I even got into graphic design. To be able to work with him now is a dream come true. I am doing all the artwork for his album tour: the album, the visuals, everything! I really respect him and it’s great project for me because I can work with him from A to Z.
Petit Biscuit's album: 'Presence' - artwork by Quentin Deronzier
Do you have any tips for us young creatives that want to make it in this industry?
Be creative ofcourse and work like crazy! Always stay motivated, never give up and keep making stuff, it can only make you better. Networking and finding the right connection with people can help you along the way. There are thousands of others who want the same thing as you, you have to work just a little harder than all the rest. You also have to be able to monetise your business, I mean you have to pay your fucking bills you know? At first I worked for free but at a certain point you have to start charging people for you work. There's a budget for these things.
How do the little guys in belgium start building a network?
Before my business took off, I made one piece of artwork a day for an artist I liked. I tagged them on social media and when they liked it they reposted it and contacted me. SBTRKT and MØ did this. Many artists reposted my work and eventually started contacting me. So you always have to find a way to touch them or connect with them.
SBTRKT - Flickr - Quentin Deronzier's vision on the artwork
Diplo & Friends radioshow - Gryffin mixtape - Artwork by Quentin Deronzier
Daydreaming - Quentin Deronzier
Ekali ft. Denzel Curry - Babylon (remix EP) - Arwork by Quentin Deronzier