In a relatively short amount of time, Matthieu Bessudo (McBess) has taken the stage as a pretty influential figure in the illustration community for his unique style and rock infused, animated shorts. His work walks a thin line between a playful adventure and an anxiety packed, sexual encounter with unclassifiable, human-esque characters — all of which I enjoy. I recently had the chance to chat with McBess about some of his influences, distractions, upcoming projects, the power of collaboration and a grip of other things I’ve been itching to find out. Take a peek at what he had to say…
BWLT: Last I read, you were working at The Mill in London. Are you still there? If so, is there much overlap between the “job” and your personal work, stylistically or as far as projects and how you handle work flow?
McBess: I’m still working at The Mill as a director, so there’s an overlap because we’re trying to use my style for commercials but the result is usually pretty far from what I do, because clients are a bit worried about having too many tits in their images.
The interwebs are a huge distraction for me during the day, which is why I tend to work better in the middle of the night when everyone else is sleeping… are there any sort of motivators or distractions that power your day?
I do spend a lot of time on the interwebs, chat with friends, watch series, I also work in Soho London so there’s a lot of shopping possibilities and good coffees around. Then there’s the band, so ya, I’ve got my fair share of distraction during the day but all those things inspire me to draw as well… guess it balances out.
Sometimes your work looks completely analog, whereas other times, it’s brought into Illustrator… do you have a preferred medium to work in?
I never use illustrator, I’m always trying to keep a analog look to my drawings. Most of them are inked in Photoshop which gives them this cold look. I’m trying to be as good with real ink, than with a computer, but I’m not there yet. I think the computer is my favorite medium, because I love the smoothness and the “control+z “.
Your skill set — music, illustration and animation — seems to be a perfect combination for doing animations and shorts… is that something we can expect to see more of? Are there any plans or interests in doing more or doing a full length of any sort?
Definitely, that’s all I want to do… spend more time mixing the two and make them grow bigger. A year ago I was drawing an imaginary band and was recording on the side for some tracks to go along with, now the band exists for real and we’re working on some new music videos, albums … It opened a door to a lot of things to be done and I still want to be lazy most of the time.
Your band, The Dead Pirates, has a pretty distinct sound that I feel reflects a similar emotion as some of your art. Is one a product of the other, or do you feel they feed each off other?
Oh ya, they feed each other, like a 69, for instance we’ve been changing a lot of things in the band to get more of a warm sound and match some of the illustrations. We’ve changed one of the two guitars to an old keyboard from the 60s / 70s, and the mood that comes out this, makes new ideas for new drawings.
Are there any bands that you’re really into lately, or that you’d like to play with?
Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Spoon, Phoenix, Whitest Boy Alive, TV On The Radio, Tame Impala … and I don’t think the band is ready to play with any of these. hahah… but who knows in a year or two …
Collaboration is something I try to embrace in everything I do. How do you feel about collaboration, musically and visually?
I love doing it, always comes out a bit richer, gives me new horizons. I find it easier musically because music is on the instant and it’s very much a game that you play with other people, but it works well with images, it’s just a different rhythm.
I’ve always liked the idea of an art show being more of a whole experience, with music being a driver for the theme. Would you ever consider making a soundtrack or having a band play at one of your openings
Oh ya, I’d love to. I’m really not keen on the white walls with a few canvas and some paint here and there. I don’t like the gallery mood, I would love to do a big show that would require a month of preparation… you’d feel like going in a sexy and dark Disneyland.
What sort of shows, projects or events are coming up?
I’ve got and iPad app coming out that’s mixing music and illustrations which should be really cool. It’ s a pack for the Granimator app. I’ve got a show in Chicago next year, and a few big illustrations on the cooker and there’s the band that’s preparing for a few dates in London.
Any last words or plugs?
*To stay tuned in on all the latest McBess related info, and wrap your eyeballs around a slew of illustrations please check out his site. Make sure to hit up the McStore as well. Lots of tasty treats in there.