Guest art director, Jules Couartou,
interviewed by Abigail St. Clair Thomas about his obsessions and influences.

ASCT
What does the word obsession mean to you? How do you see it manifest in your daily life?
JC
It means a lot. Because Obsession and fetishism are very similar to me. “Fétiche” was the name of my first exhibition that took place in Paris in June. It is my most intimate project. Fétiche is a visual manifesto made of 20 posters, photographs and scans of objects that define my identity today and inspire me in everything I do or create. The principle of CRUSHfanzine, where the issues are based on obsession, has kind of the same approach. A compilation and an archive print of 100 pages of personality, altogether composing one idea. That’s why I was so pleased when they offered me to guest art direct this issue, and why the job came so naturally to me.

 

ASCT
What’s your favorite place to look at the sky?
JC
It certainly is from my childhood kingdom. In the countryside at my grandparents farm there is a field of grass. We called it “the stade”; a hill in the center with a clear view to the sky . I spent lot of time on it with my father laying down in the grass at night. We used to look at the sky with the Milky Way and the falling stars. He taught me the names of the constellations and some times showed me a comet on his telescope. That’s is still one of my favorites childhood memories of feeling peaceful and self-confident.

 

ASCT
What’s your favorite piece of art ? Describe how you feel when you look at it.
JC
For me, it’s more places known for art and collections. The Guggenheim museums from Bilbao, or New York, are good examples of what I mean. Just looking at the architecture of these buildings gives me a sense of dreamy escapism.

 

ASCT
What’s your favorite way to design/art direct?
JC
To feel the moment when you find it. To have the creative input. I like being questioned on the purpose of things I create by a person with beautiful sensitivity. My parents and my intimate friends are all creative and talented and they help me and inspire me a lot.
I define myself as a maniac creator. I like when things reveal their beauty when I don’t attempt to unveil it in a coherent way. Like a mathematical formula.

The last revelation I had with this process of design and creation was while reading “Just Kids” by Patti Smith. Her romantic relationship with Robert Mappelthorpe and the intricate ways they explored of finding themselves through art and finding success inspired me. I want to find a bit of that. And share it with someone I love.

 

ASCT
What gets you up in the morning?
JC
I’m known to be moody and difficult in the morning. I can be very funny too… Until I drink my coffee with cigarette one of my friend said I look like Alf.

 

ASCT
What keeps you in bed?
JC
Reading, watching some series or a movie. Thunderstorms that make me horny, dreams, the smell of a lover, big…

 

ASCT
What projects are you currently involved in? What inspired your involvement?
JC
The last 2 years I worked as a freelance art director for fashion and events. I worked for new brands, showrooms, studio photoshoots, festival of fashion films ASVOFF. At this time, I would like to go and try new things. Hopefully involving work with more photography and video.

 

ASCT
What’s your favorite word in a different language?
JC
More of a leitmotiv, an own maxim: “Make it big!”

 

ASCT
How did you first meet Lucas? What was the first thing you noticed about him?
JC
It was at the CRUSHfanzine office in Paris. We drank some beers and talked about the project and his issues with girls and a fight in Milano during fashion week. He was cool, charismatic and fresh. The perfect specimen of a CRUSH obsession.

 

ASCT
What do you want people to feel when they read the new Lucas Valardi issue?
JC
To feel and enjoy his purity, his freshness and his beauty. The opposing sides of him- his Dr Jekil and mister Hyde. Also, to experience the young and the old soul in him… and feeling that hurt part of him… like Johnny Cash… Lastly, to get a sight of his story and experience through beautiful photographs.

 

ASCT
I noticed on your tumblr (www.kingdom-visions.tumblr.com). There is a curated palette mixed with branded objects. Can you speak about that further?
JC
Kingdom visions is my visual diary. It shows my own obsessions, my fetichism of various visuals and ideas. It can be fun or just beautiful, natural, or artificial things. It is all my passions and fantasies at the same time.

It can highlight the design of a car, a shoe, a house, a piece of furniture or a uniform. As a child, I was obsessed about lawn mowers, trucks, hoovers, car interior designs and buildings. For a long time I planned to become an architect or a car designer.

It can also be a boy, an idol, or an attitude for the charisma it reveals or the style it creates… It can be as simple as a muscle, or hair and sweat , that creates that animal instinct.

 

ASCT
How does music play a role in your thought process, if at all?
JC
Music has always been a main role in my life. To define myself, to feel good, and to share with my lovers or friends. I used to mix at a Paris bar for the parties named Zelda Zonk (it’s the code name of Marilyn Monroe when she traveled incognito).

Right now, I’m a little confused about music after my last break up. I used to only listen only elctro music. Now, I am looking for new things, new inspirations. I listen to more opera and classical music now.

 

ASCT
What is your next obsession?
JC
The next obsession I have will be a crush on someone or something that takes me by surprise in a big, and good, way.

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Explore more of Jules and his work on his website, julescouartou.com, and his tumblr kingdom-visions.tumblr.com