“Despicable Me"....... “9”...... “Beauty and the Beast”........
The Hunchback of Notre Dame”......
These are just a view of the films that Christophe Vacher has worked on. Christophe has worked professionally as a colorist, visual artist, and art director in the animation industry since 1989.
Born and raised in Vichy, France he is an award-winning artist who has traveled the world. With an elaborate schedule he still manages to find the time to produce his own personal artwork for galleries and buyers on a global scale. I sat down with Christophe for a brief interview…
When did you begin studying art and what inspired you as a child?
I think as far as I can remember, Art was always part of my life. I was drawing before I knew how to write (and my mom taught me how to write before the age of 5). I was fascinated by comic books, and more particularly the adventures of Tintin. That's what I always wanted to do -which, funnily enough, got my mom really worried, because deep down, I think she really hated comic books. But she never stopped me from going in that direction, because she could recognize my passion for it.
What is your process for designing the visual aspect of a film?
Well, it depends on what I have to do on the movie. If I am only doing art direction (lighting, color and texturing), although it does require research and preparation work, it doesn't require as much research and preparation as if I do both design and art direction. With the lighting, usually, after talking a little bit with the director, you quickly start getting a feeling of what the light should be (dark, dramatic, soft, etc...) and how it could work in conjunction with the color, the saturation of colors and the texture on characters, landscape and objects. When design is involved, there can be a huge amount of research to be done. For instance, on the (aborted) movie "Heroes and Monsters", on which I was production designer, I had to come up with a visual signature that was marrying several different architectural and artistic styles. Like production designers usually do on such projects, I had to go back into artistic history, see what was available out there, and find a way to bind all these styles together. I also think that every movie is different, so, although some aspects of the process can be similar, eventually, the visual style of the movie will be dictated by its story, historical frame and theme.
What has been your favorite film to work on?
Definitely the movie "9", produced by Tim Burton and directed by Shane Acker. Not only because the gothic and off-the-beaten-path, unusual style of the movie, but also for the adventure it represented, that the public will never know, the fun I had working with my friend Robert St-Pierre (who did an absolutely amazing job on this film) and all the people I met, the memories I will keep with me for ever.
How do you come up with a concept when designing a piece for a gallery?
This is a totally different process, because it's my own world, my own little bubble.
Very often, it starts either with music, or with traveling, or with both. It can also come with a combination of shapes and light I see in a totally different context. And it triggers something in my mind that gives me an idea for a new painting. Then, I have to draw a quick sketch on paper, so I keep the idea and will refine it later. It can also happen that I will abandon the idea later because I just feel it's not strong enough.
What current projects are you working on?
Well, for studios, I just wrapped up season 2 of "Transformers Prime" that has started airing on The Hub channel. As for my personal work, I am trying to finish a 4x6-feet painting for a museum project for Imaginary realistic painters in Vegas. And I am also working on a painting going to an art auction hosted by Michelle Obama for the Centennial of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC. The proceeds will go to the Japan Tsunami relief fund.
(I love this piece! It holds such elegance..... Absolutely amazing!)
What does the future hold for Christophe Vacher?
Well, only the future knows. But hopefully, a free, vivid and inspired mind, and not a minute of boredom! :D
Needless to say Christohpe is an amazing and introspective designer whose inspired passions move through many different artistic endeavors. I for one look forward to watching and viewing his future projects.
For more information about Mr. Vacher please visit his website.
And the Emmy goes to....
All photos property of Christophe Vacher.
"Design is conceived when an inherent need to be creative manifests itself into physical or visual form."