Could you tell us more about Dedsec Street Art piece and the inspiration behind it?
DedSec is a group of Hactivists whose claims address several contemporary themes such as overconsumption, surveillance, ubiquitous media, globalisation and capitalism. In the game, they take over media by hacking broadcast infrastructures, also the group being very active, it was interesting to give them alternate means of expression other than TV screens. Hence the idea of pasted paper, graffiti and stencil to convey their messages to the public in Chicago Watch_Dogs.
Inspirations were taken from the aspirations of urban culture, graphic design, Optical art, Ascii art language and pixels. Banksy was obviously a major influence, but there are many other graffiti artists from anonymous streets that inspired us. Street art is fascinating in its diversity of subjects and various supports they offer.
When we chose a picture to represent the game, there was no doubt in the minds of myself and Mathieu Leduc that this assembly as a tribute to street art and urban underground culture represented one of the major values of the game.
What have been some of your favorite games that you've worked on?
Rainbow Six Vegas 1 & 2 with an amazing team and definitively Watch_Dogs: a huge epic adventure for the entire team with many demos to create for journalists and fans to enjoy. Also parallel to the production of the game, lots of assets to create such as Art books, e-book, CGI trailers with Digic, artwork needed for events and much more!
What is one of your favorite games artistically?
Really hard to pick one so I will make my choice from a large panel. Thomas Was Alone for its minimalistic artistic set up, Journey for its poetry, Heavy Rain for its courageous and oppressive emotional mood.
Could you tell us more about your journey in how you became a game artist and your current position?
When I started my career in Video Games I left the École Estienne in Paris after a course in art education and visual communication, as well as 3D image training in a small 3D Studio 4 under DOS system. At the time in 1995, no public school video game existed. We had to learn by ourselves, start by doing internships at Cryo Interactive and finally be taken.
We were early in the startup industry, there was a lot of self-taught and passionate people, the effervescence and atmosphere in this creative laboratory (not to say office) were chaotic and memorable. We have grown since, the profession has become increasingly structured and disciplined but creative spirit remained the same.
On Watch_Dogs with Mathieu Leduc, the other Art Director on the game, our combined experiences helped further our creative ideas. Mathieu with his background in graphic design and mine in 3D mine allowed us to mix our references and artistic styles to make W_D a unique new IP.
What is your favorite art style or medium? What about that style or medium inspires you?
Manga, contemporary art and interactive installations, also contemporary dance scenography inspired me for example for E3 2012 WD demo. Also, street art appeals to me as much by its diversity as its artistic wealth. What inspires me is mainly the design (furniture and industrial) and architecture in general to interpret our virtual worlds.
What is a tip you would give an aspiring game artist trying to break into the games industry?
Do not be afraid to take risks. Escape the conventional and ease without being vulgar and offensive. Get the deepest of your emotions, provide meaning and reflection on what you have to offer. Stay focused on your passion, share it and and stop watching Youtube while you work (unless it's a Watch dogs video, then you're are allowed).
Where can fans follow your work online or through social media?
In fact, nowhere! I am paranoid in regards to social networking and Hacktivists, Watch_Dogs hasn't helped :) I don't have a cellphone, my home phone is an antique « EDF » french model from the 40's. As far as I'm concerned MathieuLeduc.com is really active in social network and his website is really good.