Samy LaCrapule is a French artist and director that is exploring the intersection of art, fashion and technology in his multimedia works. Here we talk about the future of creativity, the impact of cryptography on the art world and his latest charity project in collaboration with SuperRare.
How did you decide to become an artist?
As a child I loved to draw like all of the children but being an artist wasn’t my purpose, I didn’t though about it as a possible future. It was further in my schooling, when I had to make a choice of studies, that I realized that nothing else interested me. So I followed my passion and started art school. Little by little, I developed an artistic culture, found inspirations, influences, and I found myself really loving this environment. However, I always wanted to work with artists or brands that influenced me more than just making art. Now it’s a bit different. I’m lucky to have the choice, to work with artists, fashion brands, or to do the art I love, for me. Maybe I became an artist after all.
When did you start to explore the intersection of art, technology and fashion?
I was born in the era of the internet, so I was immersed in the screens from a young age. At a venture, I started Photoshop at the age of 11, and from then on, a world opened up to me.
From the beginning, I was creating just for fun, without any real objective, just to kill boredom.
I didn’t know what digital art was or how these digital tools would revolutionize my relationship with art. At that age, I thought that art was painting and all the exhibition you see at museums that’s all. When I was 18, I discovered 3D, which really flabbergasted me. This time, I understood – more or less – what was at stake, and what I could do with it. In particular, I wrote my final thesis on the contribution of digital technology to fashion images, and how it is shaking up the industry (even more so since the pandemic). Passionate about fashion, its image and its creators, I immediately saw 3D as a way to bring something new to this field. It’s also a bit selfish, it’s a way to create everything on your own: models, clothes, decor, movement, lights, colors. It used to take a whole team to take care of each of these elements. Today, I take care of it all alone.
Image from Black Winter Series, 2021 – Samy La Crapule
How did your aesthetic evolve?
My aesthetic is in constant evolution. I don’t think I have reached the final evolution of my art, nor do I think I will ever reach it. It is a perpetual path, there is no real beginning or end. However, it is clear that my work evolves with new technologies, so I am always looking for new software, updates and other projects in development. Nowadays, my work deals mainly with the future: transhumanism, the human of tomorrow. Today I would say that my work is inspired by the past in order to conceive a futuristic image.
What do you find in the digital realm that is unique to the medium?
The digital world allows an almost divine aspect of creation. When you are in front of your computer you can do whatever you want to do. My thoughts and imagination can be transposed into a digital representation. In fact, any model, composition, decor that I have in mind can be created. I have no concessions to make, the only limits are those of the imagination (and my sleep lol). Now, my next goal is to develop the photographic aspect, which I enjoy very much, and mix it with these digital tools. Artificial intelligence, 3D, retouching, the idea is to create new typologies of images. I love when people tell me that they don’t understand how an image has been created. Photo? 3D? Illustration? Maybe even all of them. Digital technology allows us to blur the limit between the virtual and the real, it becomes almost hypnotic. If I had to choose a sentence to define my work it would be: a virtual image at the border of reality.
What are the underlying influences of your work?
I recently realized that I am very sensitive to everything that deals with the body, its deformation and even its increase. The malleability of the body is something that fascinates the whole world, and the digital tool makes it possible to put these deformations into images, in a hyperrealistic way. These body deformations have always marked me and when you pay attention, it is something that is present everywhere. From Balenciaga’s SS20 show to the last episode of the Attack on Titans, for example.
How much of your life is lived online?
Well, nowadays, I haven’t been out of my house for 14 days, and it’s not because of the pandemic lol. I spend almost 15 hours a day in front of a screen, I guess I’m working too much …
Anyway, it’s too cold outside.
Do you want your art to convey a specific message?
I don’t know if I want my art to convey any message, it is a great responsibility and I’m sure that other artists will do it better than me. However, I want my art to allow me to implement concrete actions. For example, I recently put one of my works up for crypto-bidding, and all the benefits will be donated to the charity La Source, which works for underprivileged children, offering them art workshops and creative classes. This is not about art or business, it is our duty as human beings to help others when we can afford it. Moreover, access to arts education is a subject that is close to my heart. How many children would like to be able to take art classes and develop their artistic culture, but do not have the chance to have access to it? So I modestly try to make a small contribution, and help associations as best I can, without forgetting that they are more qualified than I am for this.
How did you come up with the concept for Black Winter?
I got the idea when I saw the recent collaboration between Rick Owens and Moncler. I really appreciated the entire collection and there was one puffer jacket in particular that stood out for me. The fit, the shape, the materials, it really stuck in my mind. I could have bought it, but I preferred to have it virtually. The images of the campaign are also very successful: I love the charisma of Rick Owens and Michelle Lamy. The black and white on white background was also a tribute to the campaign. As a fact, it’s this work that is auctioned on the Super Rare website, for charity La Source!
Which technology will have the biggest impact on art and fashion for you?
Clearly the technology that will have the greatest impact on art will be cryptography which is currently exploding. It allows digital artists to finally have rare and collectible artworks. It would take some time to detail how this technology works but I invite you to look into it if you are interested. There are already crypto-art platforms, such as SuperRare for example. It is notably on this platform that you can find my work Black Winter, edition 1/1. You will be able to find many other very talented artists on this platform, a proof of the growing interest in these technologies. It’s a very benevolent environment, with many discussions where artists and collectors can exchange. As far as fashion is concerned, it’s a reflection of society, so it’s going to be impacted in the same way. Cryptography is going to impact the fashion environment for sure, there’s no doubt about it. I can’t say what form my art will take yet, but I hope I can participate to this innovation.
Image from Black Winter Series, 2021 – Samy La Crapule