Sometimes to come up with something cool and new, you gotta mix in a little old. That’s what Florent “Speakerine” Bodart does with his art, mixing in modern geometry with vintage imagery and inspiration. And his winning design for our “Floral Challenge” did just that, mixing in classic floral art with an ultra-modern geometrical pattern.
We talked to Florent about how he got his start making art (hint: here at Threadless!), his super artistic family, and about his Artist Shop. Check out the interview below!
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So I read that you actually got your graphic design start here at Threadless! How did you decide to get started in art and designing apparel?
Yeah, thank you Threadless! That’s something I often tell, I’m very grateful to you. Without Threadless and my relentlessness to produce new designs at the beginning, maybe I would not have gotten so far with apparel design.
A friend of mine told me about Threadless, the possibility to join design contests, and getting printed by the community votes. I found the concept very interesting and attractive so I began to search for ideas. I was at ease with drawing and Photoshop, so I practiced and practiced until I had my first winning design on Threadless. Then it was the beginning!
How has your style developed since your first Threadless submissions?
I don’t think I had any style when I submitted my first Threadless submission! Then by drawing and exploring different techniques I began to develop my own style. I have kind of defined my color scheme and the themes I like to use. But I wonder if my style will be ever defined someday, I’m always looking for new mediums and materials.
What attracted you to this challenge? How did you come up with the design?
I’m really a flower lover. Flowers in fashion design have always been a classic and good match, so I wanted to try something new for this challenge. I began to mix vintage flowers with modern shapes to create something and I came up with this design. All flower illustrations are from Pierre-Joseph Redouté, a french 18th century illustrator whose work I admire.
You have an Artist Shop with us too! Do you have a favorite design in there?
I love my new design called “Smile Tiger”! Again, it’s a mix between ancient engraving (by Bewick) and modern typography. I find it quite joyful!
What does the username “Speakerine” mean to you?
It was my first pseudo as an electro musician. Speakerine in French means a female announcer of the ’50s so it doesn’t mean anything precise, I just love the sound of it and its vintage feel.
I also read that your designs get some inspiration from the numerical world how do numbers and mathematics influence your art?
I always love to mix different worlds, also in music. Geometry and engravings, violins and beats…I think it comes from my parents who have always had strong passion for ancient things but are also interested in technology.
Did you grow up with a lot of artistic influence around you?
Yes, absolutely. My father was a violin maker and my mother a wood sculptor. I also have one sister who’s a cello teacher, one bow maker, and one baroque violin maker! As a child I grew up surrounded by all kinds of instruments and musician friends of my parents. The cool thing was that I had a very free childhood, so I was allowed to touch and use everything I wanted in the house and explore things myself.
When you’re seeking inspiration, what do you do?
Inspiration comes often at night, just before I fell asleep…the state of half-dream is the best. Travels also. I was in Berlin last month and it was very refreshing and full of colors. I also love walking into the forest when I’m home, it’s inspiring.
What advice would you give to other artists looking to start a career in design?
I would say to keep on creating, search new mediums to find your own materials/style. Participating actively in Threadless designs contests is a very good way to practice everyday.
Yes, a funny thing is that I used this design as the background of my wedding announcement website! Yes, I’m going to marry my love this month! So this t-shirt will always remind me of my wedding.