Art Artist Collaborations Conversations Featured
Edouard Baribeaud for Drake's
Jul 13, 2022
Known for his vivdly imagined and richly detailed dreamscapes, Edouard Baribeaud – along with his partner Sophia Andreotti – creates work that draws on fairytale, mythology, fine art, and classic children's book illustrations to invoke a world of mystery and wonder. The pair created two exclusive designs for us, inspired by The Kinks, Grimms' Fairy Tales, and the architecture of Jaipur.
We spoke to Edouard – who lives and works in Berlin – about the project, and what he's up to next.
Photography by Emilie Delugeau
Drake's: Your works are real feats of the imagination. Tell us a bit about how they’re created.
Edouard Baribeaud: I get very inspired by scenes from daily life, such as observing someone waiting for the bus in a melancholic way, or a woman doing her yoga session in the morning sunlight, sitting under a tree in a park in Berlin. I collect these mundane scenes in my sketchbook and I often like to contrast them in my final work with the mythical, to lead archaic figures through modern landscapes – and in doing so, to blend real personal experiences with invented memories. I also work together with my partner Sophia Andreotti. We create, draw and paint as an artist-duo, signing together these specific artworks. It is a very exciting process which allows us to explore new themes and ideas.
The detail in your work is often astounding. How long do you typically spend on a single piece?
The time I spend on my works depends on the format and the technique I use. The way I create my drawings and paintings can be quite time consuming. Some smaller format drawings can take several days. If it is a bigger format piece, that can stretch to several weeks. I am currently working on a big canvas painting which I started three months ago... However, I believe I will finish it soon.
Much of your style seems to reference earlier schools of illustration, from the start of the 20th century and before. How important is it to keep these traditional techniques alive?
I studied illustration and print techniques at the Écoles des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, which had a great influence on my practice as an artist and the way I construct images. I want to tell stories, and I like to have a strong narrative element in my paintings and drawings, which is why I love artists who sit at the crossroad of art and illustration, like Gustave Doré, Saul Steinberg or Maurice Sendak. I am also very influenced by the early Renaissance painting from the quattrocento like Pierro della Francesca or Paolo Ucello.
My techniques are influenced by all these artists. My drawings are made with Indian ink using a hatching technique, which allows me to create light and shade. This initial black and white drawing is then coloured with watercolour paint. I am also painting on canvas with egg tempera, which uses egg yolk as an agent to bind colored pigment. It is a very old painting technique (it was already used in ancient Egypt). Finally, to add a contrast with the matte aspect of my drawings or paintings, I like to highlight some details with gold or silver leaf.
In an age where more and more digital art tools are at our disposal, do you feel there is a renewed appreciation for the handmade?
I have the feeling that handmade objects, clothing, and handicrafts in general are more valued nowadays. It is a trend that you can also observe in the contemporary art world. I am glad that painting and drawing is having a great comeback after more than a decade of conceptual art. Thanks to social media, I discovered a younger generation of talented artists using painting and drawing as an art form, such as the grisailles painting by Turkish artist Serpil Mavi Üstün, the beautiful portraits by Canadian painter Kris Knight, or the poetical drawings by Indian artist Rithika Merchant, to name a few. All these artists and many more are celebrating traditional art forms. I think I am probably part of this new movement and I love to work in different fields, from applied art to contemporary art.
How did the collaboration with Drake’s come about?
I have been a big fan of Drake’s for several years. I love the clothes and the style that the brand is offering. One day I read that Drake’s would open a pop-up store in Hanover, and that [Creative Director] Michael Hill would be present. The same day, I bought a train ticket from Berlin to Hanover as I thought it would be a nice opportunity to meet Michael. When we met we got along very well. We had the opportunity to meet again in Berlin, and I showed him my work in my studio. Since then we understand each other from an artistic and human point of view, and I am very honoured to be his friend.
How has lockdown been for you creatively?
Michael and I had been discussing a collaboration for quite some time. The making of the drawings for the collection coincided with the beginning of the first lockdown. I made the motif of the “Shangri-La” scarf inspired by the song Shangri-La by the Kinks. I wanted to depict a very British gentleman sitting and waiting at a gate. The motif behind him is inspired by wall paintings from Amer Fort near Jaipur in India.
When you create a drawing for a scarf it is important that it works folded as well as unfolded. The corners are crucial, as they are the first thing you see when you knot it around your neck. That’s why the corners of the design depict different motifs (tartan, stripes, and vegetation), so you can decide what you want to show depending your mood.
The handkerchief “A Gentleman’s Fairy Tale” was created together with my partner Sophia. It is a four hand drawing that we signed together. Sophia had the idea to create something that men and women would like to wear. She also came up with the theme of the drawing, which is inspired by Grimms‘ Fairy Tales. If you look carefully, you will find a lot of figures and details from different stories that you probably know from your childhood.
What are you working on now?
I am currently finishing the big painting that I mentioned earlier. I am also starting a new series of work for a show next year in Berlin. Last but not least, together with my friend Marc Beaugé (founder of L’Etiquette Magazine) we are working on a children’s book about a giant who likes to be elegant and wear nice clothes. It is a kind of sartorial fairy tale, both for kids and for adults. It will probably be published next year.