SUBJECT: ALEXANDRE SOUÊTRE
Alexandre Souêtre was born & raised in Paris and moved to the U.S. at age 18. Though he's currently working from PDX, most of his projects are in LA and he maintains others around the world. Alexandre has a brilliant and otherworldly POV that presents familiar archetypes in a transformative way, you can’t quite place the aesthetic but the masterful intentionally is resounding. As someone who’s comfortable throwing the “supposed to,” notions to the wind, he embraces contrast through a keen artistic eye that goes against the grain, as a sort of extremely calculated visual rebellion. We discovered Alexandre’s work years ago on social media and we were instant fans. We remain Impressed by the impression his creativity leaves.
Alexandre grew up skating, this was how he discovered creative direction. He was always impressed with the cinematography in skate vids, and photography in skate culture in general. He quickly made the connection that entire teams worked behind the scenes to make magic happen. Though obsessed, with all things visual, he did not take it too seriously until college when he dove headfirst into Graphic Design. A variety of creative jobs later, some agency work in Paris, and a lot of his early days LA dabbling in production, he’s now truly a jack of all trades. Balancing, independent creative endeavors and work through his own agency E.P.C. He's also come full circle as the Creative Director for SOVRN, an LA-based skate brand that has elevated the aesthetic, design, and artistry within skateboard gear.
THE OBJECT: Chair’s [The fave: Mid-Century Eames LCW: Chair]
But, really not a single one. Alexandre maintains an impressive collection of chairs and it was challenging to get him to select just one.
When we first moved to PDX and were starting from scratch, I can recall all of these special moments shopping for furniture. And, I can also remember physically restraining myself from purchasing every lovely chair in sight. I get inspired just by looking at chairs. I think about the Icon, “A Chair,” it has existed for centuries. With, a primal form and function that has undergone creative reinterpretation over and over again since inception. In another life, I would have loved to be a chair designer. I’m a bit obsessive over the details and it would be the perfect space to create in.
If I was forced to pick one though, It’d be my Eames Mid-Century LCW Chair. It’s a real classic, the low-lounge version, made from Oak. It doesn’t get old to me. And, what I especially love about it is that one would assume an object like a chair, having such a standardized & straightforward function, to have flat or angular surfaces. And, it’s anything but that. The lines are constantly flowing in and out bowing here to there. There’s nothing sharp or flat about it. This contrast is provocative.
Alexandre is fond of juxtaposition, and tension presented in a way that’s still comfortable, though rationally impossible. His approach to visuals and visual narrative is akin to the tensions present in his favorite chair.
I’m always seeking a sense of discomfort that allows viewers to experience something in a way they haven’t before. I’m a BIG Chris Cunningham fan. I remember watching a DVD that compiled his music videos when I was younger and I was blown away, watching something I had never seen, in a form that was uncomfortable but not offensive. I wasn’t sure how I felt but I can remember thinking “A person made this, I thought these ideas weren’t “ supposed,” to be expressed. I realized then, creativity can be approached, however, you want to approach it.
Tell us about a time it was hard to be yourself, or when being yourself led to a breakthrough?
This question gave me a little bit of trouble. Being myself has always felt like a challenge around other people, not exclusively because I have to wear a social mask or anything, but mainly because people’s approach to etiquette & interaction usually prevents me from feeling truly free in expression. More often than not I suppose, people aren’t used to being present and really talking to one another, instead, they talk at one another with all these layers that prevent either from truly being or truly listening. Although there is, and always will be something rewarding about human interaction, it remains to be a rather limited experience as it is today. Almost like we as humans haven’t reached the peak of our self-development.
Perhaps the biggest breakthrough in my life was the day I realized solitude was a healing process for me, and loneliness was in fact a positive feeling. One, I had to embrace and welcome with open arms. I challenge my comfort when around others, which allows me to gather emotions worth encoding. I heal myself when on my own, and in turn decode those emotions, which can sometimes be draining in experience.
WHAT’S SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT ALEXANDRE, THAT YOU’D WANT EVERYONE TO HEAR?
My earliest dream was to become a comic book artist. People that don't me personally, and look at my work today probably wouldn't guess that this is what I truly wanted to do. I grew up with them and this was the first artistic spark I had. Especially French comics, André Franquin, Marcel Gotlieb, Gary Larson, Nicholas Gurewitch were a BIG part of my youth. I would marvel at the attention to detail that each comic would have, the subtle and very calculated visual storytelling & the perfect choice of words.