French artist Sébastien Feraut, better known as Niark1, gives a friendly face to the monstrous characters often referred to in bedtime stories through colourful graphics. Add these to the creative vision of Dutch mobility concept creators Bugaboo and voilà, there you have it: Monsters on the Move.
This special project—following Bugaboo’s collabs with Viktor&Rolf and Missoni, amongst others—allows the surrealistic illustrations to move freely for the first time in Niark1’s career, as they merge with the brand’s stylish and functional stroller designs. Here’s what the artist had to say about the joint endeavour, of which the result was presented at Palais de Tokyo in a sense-tingling monster experience.
Monsters are often associated with being frightening, yet yours are also quite happy-looking. How would you describe the character of your creatures?
In my collaboration with Bugaboo, I wanted to represent these fantastic and strange animal-like characters that move freely in different ways (skateboards, etc.). I use different characters, whether they are a bit scary or more fun really depends on the project—or even my own mood.
When you get a challenge like this one, designing artwork for a stroller, what’s the first thing you do? What does your design process look like?
When I was offered the opportunity to collaborate with Bugaboo, I was intrigued by the medium in which my designs would come to life (in this case, a stroller). Bugaboo is a quality brand dedicated to innovative product design. I love that Bugaboo has collaborated with artists in the past to create unique and elevating stroller designs. Typically, I like working on my designs on a computer, though I do draw and paint quite a lot as well, depending on the project. I do a lot of sketches, though more for inspiration than preparation. I mainly sketch to find new ideas and to test shapes, etc. This helps me keep the spontaneous side of the creation. I tend to work on several projects at once and always keep a personal project going as well. This allows me to find ideas and not to remain “stuck” on something specific. I like to start from scratch and just launch shapes that I explore until something a little more specific begins to take shape.
Yu find a lot of inspiration in small galleries and museums. Do you have a favourite (go-to) place we should really check out?
There are many artists who inspire me from all types of artistic movements such as cubism, free figuration, surrealism, etc. Some of my favourites include: Picasso, Miró, Dalí, Bacon and Hervé di Rosa. The internet is a great way to be confronted with as many images as possible, but I find the best thing is to see original works in person through exhibitions in small galleries and museums. Palais de Tokyo has really cool contemporary exhibitions.
Bugaboo’s collaborations are built on the idea that art is for everyone and shouldn’t be exclusive. Is this a belief you share? Do you consciously make art that is accessible to a wide audience?
I do, art should be for everyone. I try to keep my art as affordable as possible and participate in lots of different projects to be able to show art to a wide audience.
Do you ever dream of (or are you ever haunted by) your own monsters?
Hahaha, I do! But they’re always happy dreams.