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Sophie Brice, from the Alain Ducasse Group to travel illustrations

10 Jan 2022 —
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Sophie Brice Image

When you meet Sophie Brice, her curious mind is the first thing that catches your attention. She is an avid traveller, an art lover and is moved by every detail of the cities she devours, her eyes always on the lookout for inspiration.

When you meet Sophie Brice, her curious mind is the first thing that catches your attention. She is an avid traveller, an art lover and is moved by every detail of the cities she devours, her eyes always on the lookout for inspiration.

She chose, while still as a student, to tackle the monument that is “La Cantatrice Chauve”. In the process, obtaining the blessing of Massin, the French graphic designer who created the 1963’s version, a major work of expressive typography.

She worked as Artistic Director (AD) in the field of high gastronomy for seven years. There she helped Alain Ducasse design the no less edifying Naturalité, and launched herself into the illustration of cities, creating a greeting card for Havas, and a series of silkscreens of the world’s major cities.

You have a very varied career, to say the least. How do these different parts of your life fit together?

There was a time when I took things the wrong way, that is to say, I compartmentalised things. I used to say that I had three jobs, that I was a teacher, an AD and I was an illustrator, whereas, in the end, they all form a whole. One feeds the other, like communicating vessels.

 

Matcha-Tea. ImageFrance illustration on

Keaykolour Matcha Tea

"Eventually, everything becomes graphic and visual food"


You’ve been teaching at the ECV Paris - Creative Schools & Community for years, what does this contact with students bring you?

I love their energy. You can see their eyes sparkle, they are very curious and are full of questions. I think that one of the risks of this profession is to think that things are acquired and to be in a closed system. Finally, teaching forces us to question ourselves. There is also the question of transmission, passing on to them this curiosity, this research. I ask them to make a notebook, to go to bookshops. On Instagram and Pinterest we make beautiful discoveries, it opens up a lot of things, but I think that if we are only there, we are clearly limiting ourselves.

 

What advice do you have for them to be creative at a time when everyone aspires to be so?

It’s true that there are more and more books on creativity.  For a graphic designer, I think you shouldn’t lock yourself  into a 100% graphic cocoon. I often tell my students that if you only look at graphic design, your creativity will be exhausted and become formatted. On the other hand, if you go to museums, if you read, if you’re curious about everything and even more importantly, if you discover other fields, this will feed your projects. Art in the broadest sense works too, an artist like Basquiat, who mixes graphics, typography, lines and patterns is an inspiration of mine. I think travelling also helps a lot.

 

Editorial Nike Image

Editorial design for Nike magazine

 

Thailand Sri Lanka Image

Picture by Sophie Brice in Thailande / Sri Lanka



Where do you look for inspiration?

Mainly outside, in the city: signs, door colours, architecture, materials, typography. I was in Chartres on Saturday and I fell in love with the front of an old-fashioned butcher’s shop. And then there are old books. I love finding references in old books, in museums, I really can’t get enough of them. A visit to a museum is a source of inspiration for me for several weeks in fact, it’s incredible what it can do to the brain.

 

You have worked with several personalities, which ones still inspire you today?

In graphic design, there is Antoine Ricardou, the co-founder of the Be-Pôles studio. I started teaching with him and he is someone who is very curious, who likes to travel. I really admire his research process, he’s a collector, a real one. I find that what he does for his clients is often precise, humble and authentic, things that are becoming increasingly rare. Alain Ducasse is impressive because of his hard work and his high standards. He has always taken the time to look at the smallest support, from the very important book to the menu for a small event. He will always have a precise look on the choice of paper. He has this sensitivity, this idea that everything has to make sense.

 

Naturalite Alain Ducasse Image"Naturalité" by Alain Ducasse printed on Conqueror Wove by Imprimerie du Marais (FR)

Being in contact with the world of gastronomy and haute cuisine requires an interest in sensoriality, how has this influenced you?

I think that I already had a sensitivity to this and a desire to work in luxury, in gastronomy clearly. I had the chance to do what I wanted to do, and this sensitivity was greatly enhanced by my experience with Alain Ducasse and his need for excellence, to offer rare things that have never been seen before. But working with printers like Imprimerie du Marais was incredible, you want to stay and watch the work with these incredible machines, this attention to detail.


Is this relationship with paper something precious to you?

Yes, I like the smell of a new book when you open it. I often work with an inspiration notebook, and the choice of notebook is very important to me. I put papers, business cards, drawings, anything that can inspire me and go back to this notebook when I am working on a new project. Then, I print my silkscreens work on Rives Dot, which has a very interesting dot screen aspect, it reminds me a little of art paper, but without being kitsch.

 

Print Tests Atelier Silium Image

Screen print tests on various Keaykolour shades
at Atelier Silium (FR)

How did this concern for paper influence your work on the posters you made in collaboration with Antalis?

I used Keaykolour papers with different colours. It’s a bit like the paper talking. The burgundy colour evokes an idea of chic but it shouldn’t be too much. The gold had to shine, but not too much, it’s all a clever mix. The pastels with the slightly raw black provided an interesting contrast.

Greeting Cards Image

Creation of a greeting card for HRCLS by Sophie Brice printed on Curious Matter Andina Grey
 

Do drawing, travel and gastronomy have something in common?

I had a bit of a revelation when I went back to La Grenouillère (Alexandre Gauthier two Michelin star restaurant in the North of France) a few weeks ago. And I said to myself, I think I love gastronomy because it’s a little trip. It’s a moment when you let yourself be carried away and discover beautiful things, new flavours. It’s a break. We are so busy today that these interludes are also precious and necessary. Drawing is another parenthesis. As an AD, you’re always on the computer, and drawing allows me to go back to my travels.


To see more, visit http://www.sophiebrice.com