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Rencontre

Rennes

27 avril 2018

Julien, peintre en lettres .

Rennes

27 avril 2018

Rencontre

Rencontre avec Julien Raout, qui nous invite à le suivre lors de la réalisation d’une dorure à la feuille d’or dans une parfumerie de Rennes.

Julien, peintre en lettres

27 avril 2018

Photos et Texte :
Natacha Roché
Mathieu Lodin

Traduction :
Textmaster

Publié le 
27 avril 2018

Laissez de coté la facilité et la rapidité des machines et faites place à la délicatesse, au geste précis et au pinceau. Car aujourd’hui nous exposons le travail de Julien Raout, peintre en lettres.

C’est dans la jolie boutique BLUSH à Rennes, que nous nous donnons rendez-vous. Installé à Paris, Julien est venu sublimer d’or un des murs de la parfumerie. A notre arrivée, l’escabeau est en place, les pots de colles, les pinceaux et les chiffons sont alignés sur la table et le travail commence.

Forget the speed and ease of machines and make way for graceful, precise brush strokes. Today we’d like to present the work of Julien Raout, a sign-writer.

We’ve got a date at the wonderful BLUSH store in Rennes. Paris based, Julien has come along to decorate one of the walls in this perfumery. When we arrive, his step ladder is in place with paste jars, brushes and rags lined up on the table ready to start work.

Forget the speed and ease of machines and make way for graceful, precise brush strokes. Today we’d like to present the work of Julien Raout, a sign-writer.

We’ve got a date at the wonderful BLUSH store in Rennes. Paris based, Julien has come along to decorate one of the walls in this perfumery. When we arrive, his step ladder is in place with paste jars, brushes and rags lined up on the table ready to start work.

Julien prépare le gabarit pour faire le transfert de marquage sur le mur.

dyptique nomades
dyptique nomades

Julien, nous te suivons aujourd’hui pour la réalisation d’un lettrage mural mais tu es graphiste à l’origine ?

« À l’origine, deux domaines m’intéressent particulièrement : le lettrage et la photographie. Aux Beaux-Arts, mon travail s’orientait autour de la photo et je pensais naturellement en faire mon métier. Puis lors de mes choix de stages professionnels, j’ai préféré m’orienter dans des voies qui gravitent autour de la photographie comme la photogravure ou la presse spécialisée.

De fil en aiguille et ayant de bonnes connaissances dans le domaine du design graphique, ce second stage m’a permis de décrocher un emploi de maquettiste pour un magazine photo. Mais après une année passée à travailler derrière un ordinateur, j’ai saturé et j’ai eu envie de revenir à une activité manuelle. »

Julien, we’re here today to see you create a lettering mural so were you originally a graphic designer?

« Originally I was interested in two areas in particular, lettering and photography. At Beaux-Arts, my work mainly concerned photography and I naturally thought of this as my career. Then when I was looking for internships, I decided to move towards work that revolved around photography such as photo-engraving and specialist press.

As a result and having a good level of knowledge in graphic design, my second placement enabled me to work as a designer for a photo magazine. But after a year of working in front of a computer, I couldn’t take it anymore and I wanted to go back to working more with my hands ».

Julien, we’re here today to see you create a lettering mural so were you originally a graphic designer?

« Originally I was interested in two areas in particular, lettering and photography. At Beaux-Arts, my work mainly concerned photography and I naturally thought of this as my career. Then when I was looking for internships, I decided to move towards work that revolved around photography such as photo-engraving and specialist press.

As a result and having a good level of knowledge in graphic design, my second placement enabled me to work as a designer for a photo magazine. But after a year of working in front of a computer, I couldn’t take it anymore and I wanted to go back to working more with my hands ».

Quel a été ton parcours pour arriver au métier de peintre en lettres ? Tu as suivi une formation ?

« J’ai toujours été attiré par les lettres. Petit, à l’école, j’imitais l’écriture de mes voisins. À l’adolescence, je n’ai pas pu résister à la pratique du graffiti. Ce fut ma première confrontation avec la peinture et les supports de grande envergure, la transformation des lettres, les effets de reliefs, d’ombrages, de textures etc… et le plaisir de laisser ma trace dans la ville.

Lors de ma remise en question professionnelle, j’ai découvert le travail d’un jeune peintre en lettres français. J’ai tout de suite fait le rapprochement avec ma pratique passée et j’ai décidé de me lancer à mon tour dans cette activité.

Je me suis immergé d’informations sur le métier, j’ai visionné des centaines de vidéos de peintres en lettres puis j’ai acheté le matériel de base : quelques pots de peinture, des pinceaux de lettrages, un sous-verre et je me suis entrainé. Les débuts n’étaient pas très glorieux mais avec le temps, j’ai compris quelques mécanismes et la confiance s’est affirmée.

La meilleure formation selon moi, c’est la pratique du pinceau. Il est nécessaire de se confronter à la matière, au support pour intégrer les différentes techniques de la peinture en lettres. Les rencontres avec d’autres peintres sont également très riches et permettent d’accélérer le processus d’apprentissage. »

What route did your career path take to become a sign-writer? Did you have training?

« I have always loved lettering. Even when I was small at school, I was always copying my classmates’ writing. As a teenager, I couldn’t resist turning my hand to graffiti. It was my first experience with paint and large formats, transforming lettering using different effects including shading, textures and relief. … plus the pleasure of leaving my mark on the city.

While I was working, I discovered the work of a young French sign-writing artist. I immediately connected with my previous experiences and I decided to try my hand.

I found out as much information as I could about the profession. I watched hundreds of videos about sign-writing. I bought the basics that I needed, some pots of paint, lettering brushes, a glass mount and then I started training. My first efforts were really not great but over time I started to get to grips with the process and my confidence grew.

The best training in my opinion is practising painting with a brush. You need to test out materials on different surfaces so you can get used to applying different sign-writing techniques. It’s also really worthwhile meeting up with other artists and it can help you learn quicker. »

What route did your career path take to become a sign-writer? Did you have training?

« I have always loved lettering. Even when I was small at school, I was always copying my classmates’ writing. As a teenager, I couldn’t resist turning my hand to graffiti. It was my first experience with paint and large formats, transforming lettering using different effects including shading, textures and relief. … plus the pleasure of leaving my mark on the city.

While I was working, I discovered the work of a young French sign-writing artist. I immediately connected with my previous experiences and I decided to try my hand.

I found out as much information as I could about the profession. I watched hundreds of videos about sign-writing. I bought the basics that I needed, some pots of paint, lettering brushes, a glass mount and then I started training. My first efforts were really not great but over time I started to get to grips with the process and my confidence grew.

The best training in my opinion is practising painting with a brush. You need to test out materials on different surfaces so you can get used to applying different sign-writing techniques. It’s also really worthwhile meeting up with other artists and it can help you learn quicker. »

Dans la parfumerie Blush.

dyptique nomades
dyptique nomades

On aurait pu croire le métier de peintre en lettres disparu, vous êtes encore nombreux en France ?

« C’est assez difficile de répondre à cette question. Il y a les peintres en lettres de l’ancienne génération qui peignaient déjà des lettres avant l’arrivée de l’informatique. Leur formation était souvent comprise dans une démarche plus globale de peinture décorative : réalisation de fausses matières (marbre, bois, ciel…) et de trompe l’œil.

L’outil informatique et les premiers traceurs de découpe, arrivés dans les années 80-90, furent une alternative très tentante à la lettre peinte. Le métier de peintre en lettres était monumental car la plupart des lettres de l’époque étaient peintes à la main : bus, signalétiques, enseignes, affiches… De plus, le rendu « parfait » de l’autocollant ainsi que sa rentabilité ont provoqué la quasi disparition des peintres en lettres. Difficile de savoir combien il en reste aujourd’hui, beaucoup ce sont réorientés à ce moment là mais une petite dizaine d’actifs a persévéré à Paris.

Contrairement à la France, la pratique de la lettre peinte et l’amour de la belle enseigne a bien résisté aux USA ou au Royaume Uni. En 2013, Faythe Levine et Sam Macon ont réalisé le film documentaire et un livre « Sign Painters » sur le métier de peintre en lettres. Ceux-ci ont connu un grand succès et sont en partie responsable du regain d’intérêt en France.

Il y a 4 ans, lorsque je me suis lancé dans le métier, nous étions assez peu de la nouvelle génération à envisager le métier de peintre en lettres, peut-être une vingtaine dans toute la France. Depuis plusieurs années, on observe un retour de l’artisanat et du fait main. Pour se démarquer, beaucoup de commerçants préfèrent une vitrine peinte ou dorée à la feuille, plus efficace que de l’autocollant standard. Cela induit d’une volonté d’exigence et de détails pour le client. »

You could almost believe that the art of sign-writing as a profession had disappeared. Are there many of you in France?

« It’s quite a difficult question to answer. There were sign-writers from the older generation who were already painting lettering before computers arrived on the scene. Their training often included a more global approach to decorative painting creating imitation materials (marble, wood, sky etc.) and optical illusions.

Computer tools and the first cutting plotters started to be introduced in the 80s and 90s and were a tempting alternative to hand-painted lettering. Sign-writing as a profession was huge as most sign-writing in the past was painted by hand on buses, signs, branding, posters etc. What’s more, « perfect » sticker applications as well as higher profit margins caused the profession to almost disappear. It’s difficult to know how many remain today as many went in a different direction at that time but only about a dozen have persevered in Paris.

Unlike France, the UK and US markets have remained strong due to their love affair with brand sign-writing. In 2013, Faythe Levine and Sam Macon produced the documentary film « Sign Painters » along with a book about the sign-writing profession. These have enjoyed great success and are partly responsible for the renewed interest in France.

Four years ago, when I started in the business, there were so few of us in the new generation, maybe about twenty in France. So you couldn’t really consider sign-writing as a profession. But now, for several years we’ve been seeing a return to this hand-produced craft. Many traders prefer a painted or gilded window frontage that is far more impactful than standard stickers to make them stand out from the crowd. It attracts customers and makes them want to buy. »

You could almost believe that the art of sign-writing as a profession had disappeared. Are there many of you in France?

« It’s quite a difficult question to answer. There were sign-writers from the older generation who were already painting lettering before computers arrived on the scene. Their training often included a more global approach to decorative painting creating imitation materials (marble, wood, sky etc.) and optical illusions.

Computer tools and the first cutting plotters started to be introduced in the 80s and 90s and were a tempting alternative to hand-painted lettering. Sign-writing as a profession was huge as most sign-writing in the past was painted by hand on buses, signs, branding, posters etc. What’s more, « perfect » sticker applications as well as higher profit margins caused the profession to almost disappear. It’s difficult to know how many remain today as many went in a different direction at that time but only about a dozen have persevered in Paris.

Unlike France, the UK and US markets have remained strong due to their love affair with brand sign-writing. In 2013, Faythe Levine and Sam Macon produced the documentary film « Sign Painters » along with a book about the sign-writing profession. These have enjoyed great success and are partly responsible for the renewed interest in France.

Four years ago, when I started in the business, there were so few of us in the new generation, maybe about twenty in France. So you couldn’t really consider sign-writing as a profession. But now, for several years we’ve been seeing a return to this hand-produced craft. Many traders prefer a painted or gilded window frontage that is far more impactful than standard stickers to make them stand out from the crowd. It attracts customers and makes them want to buy. »

dyptique nomades
dyptique nomades

Tu poses aujourd’hui un logo à la feuille d’or sur un mur, peux-tu nous expliquer la méthodologie ?

« Dans ce cas précis, le logo m’a été fourni par le client. J’ai transféré le tracé des lettres sur le mur à l’aide d’un poncif. C’est une technique ancestrale assez simple qui consiste à micro perforer le dessin de la lettre à l’aide d’une roulette crantée, comme pour faire des patrons de couture. Ensuite il suffit de fixer ce tracé au mur et de tamponner les lettres à l’aide d’une poudre, blanche en l’occurrence pour ce travail.

Ensuite la technique de dorure mate s’obtient grâce à l’application d’une mixtion à l’huile (sorte de colle) sur le support. Cette étape est réalisée à main levée ce qui implique de savoir peindre des lettres. En fonction du type de mixtion, il faut attendre la période amoureuse pour poser les feuilles d’or. C’est un lapse de temps, entre 1h et 12h, durant lequel la mixtion n’est pas sèche mais plus complètement fraîche. Si on colle la feuille trop tôt, elle est dissoute dans la mixtion, trop tard, elle n’adhère pas au support.

Ensuite il faut attendre plusieurs heures que l’ensemble sèche complètement puis vient l’étape d’époussetage. À l’aide d’un pinceau très doux, on enlève le surplus de feuille d’or qui n’a pas été collé par la mixtion et les lettres apparaissent ! »

You’re now applying a gold leaf logo onto the wall. Can you explain the technique you’re using?

« The customer provided the logo in this case. I transferred the lettering tracing onto the wall using a template. This is a fairly simple traditional technique that involves micro perforating the lettering design using a notched roller like you use for sewing patterns. Then simply put the tracing on the wall and dab the lettering with a powder. I’m using white for this project.

Then to produce matte gilding I apply a mixture of oil (a sort of glue) onto the surface. This step is done freehand which requires sign-writing expertise. Depending on the type of mix, you need to wait « la période amoureuse before you can apply the gold leaf. This can take anywhere between 1 and 12 hours for the mix to become tacky but not competely dry. If you add the leaf too early, it will dissolve in the mix. And if added it too late, it won’t stick to the surface.

Then you need to wait for several hours for the design to dry out completely. After that the next stage is dusting. Using a very soft brush, you remove the excess gold leaf that has not been stuck by the mix and the lettering appears! »

You’re now applying a gold leaf logo onto the wall. Can you explain the technique you’re using?

« The customer provided the logo in this case. I transferred the lettering tracing onto the wall using a template. This is a fairly simple traditional technique that involves micro perforating the lettering design using a notched roller like you use for sewing patterns. Then simply put the tracing on the wall and dab the lettering with a powder. I’m using white for this project.

Then to produce matte gilding I apply a mixture of oil (a sort of glue) onto the surface. This step is done freehand which requires sign-writing expertise. Depending on the type of mix, you need to wait « la période amoureuse before you can apply the gold leaf. This can take anywhere between 1 and 12 hours for the mix to become tacky but not competely dry. If you add the leaf too early, it will dissolve in the mix. And if added it too late, it won’t stick to the surface.

Then you need to wait for several hours for the design to dry out completely. After that the next stage is dusting. Using a very soft brush, you remove the excess gold leaf that has not been stuck by the mix and the lettering appears! »

Quelles sont les autres types de marquages que tu réalises ?

« Pour rester dans le domaine de la dorure, il est possible d’obtenir un rendu dit brillant ou miroir lorsque la feuille d’or est appliquée derrière une vitre. On la retrouve sur beaucoup de vieilles enseignes parisiennes, souvent en très bon état car la feuille d’or s’oxyde extrêmement lentement et la réalisation est protégée puisqu’elle est appliquée sous le verre. Il est possible de mixer cette méthode avec la dorure mate afin d’obtenir une infinité d’effets.

Je réalise aussi toute sorte de lettrages dans différents styles, différentes graisses, compris entre quelques millimètres à plusieurs mètres de haut, à la main ou d’après un tracé vectoriel. Je peux les peindre sur presque tous les types de supports : vitre, bois brut ou apprêté, mur lisse ou crépis, brique, métal etc… Ces compétences sont sollicitées dans de nombreux domaines comme l’enseigne, le décor ou encore la signalétique.

Je m’ouvre également à l’illustration ou le trompe l’œil avec la réalisation récente pour un hôtel de faux vitraux sur verre. »

What other types of signing do you do?

« Staying with gilding, you can create a kind of shine or mirror effect when gold leaf is applied on the inside of a window. You can see this effect on a number of old Parisian brands that are often still in very good condition because the gold foil oxidizes extremely slowly and the design remains protected due to being applied under the glass. This process can be mixed with matte gilding to produce an infinite number of effects.

I also produce all kinds of lettering in different styles, different oils, ranging from a few millimetres to several metres high, by hand or using a vector path. I can paint them onto almost all types of surfaces including glass, bare or primed wood, smooth or plastered walls, brick and metal. These skills are required in a wide range of areas such as corporate image, decoration and sign writing.

I also work on illustrations and optical illusion projects and recently produced imitation windows on glass for a hotel »

What other types of signing do you do?

« Staying with gilding, you can create a kind of shine or mirror effect when gold leaf is applied on the inside of a window. You can see this effect on a number of old Parisian brands that are often still in very good condition because the gold foil oxidizes extremely slowly and the design remains protected due to being applied under the glass. This process can be mixed with matte gilding to produce an infinite number of effects.

I also produce all kinds of lettering in different styles, different oils, ranging from a few millimetres to several metres high, by hand or using a vector path. I can paint them onto almost all types of surfaces including glass, bare or primed wood, smooth or plastered walls, brick and metal. These skills are required in a wide range of areas such as corporate image, decoration and sign writing.

I also work on illustrations and optical illusion projects and recently produced imitation windows on glass for a hotel »

dyptique nomades
dyptique nomades

Et pourquoi Studio 6 lettres ?

« Studio 6 lettres est né d’un projet commun avec ma compagne Cécile qui est graphiste. Nous voulions créer un studio de création graphique et ayant tous les deux 6 lettres dans notre prénom, ce nom s’est imposé à nous. Mon activité de peintre en lettres a pris une plus grande importance que prévu. Nos chemins professionnels se sont un peu séparés, pour un temps du moins car nous recommençons notre collaboration sur certains projets : Cécile dessine l’identité visuel d’un lieu et je la réalise en peinture, comme le Café Miettes à Vincennes. »

So why Studio 6 lettres?

« Studio 6 lettres was founded as a joint-venture with my partner Cécile who is a graphic designer. We wanted to create a graphic design studio and with us both having 6 letters in our first names, this name seemed to suit us well. My work as a sign-writing artist took off much faster than expected. Our professional paths were a little separate for a time until we started to work together on certain projects.  Cécile designs the visual identity for a venue and I produce it, for example, the design at the Café Miettes in Vincennes. »

So why Studio 6 lettres?

« Studio 6 lettres was founded as a joint-venture with my partner Cécile who is a graphic designer. We wanted to create a graphic design studio and with us both having 6 letters in our first names, this name seemed to suit us well. My work as a sign-writing artist took off much faster than expected. Our professional paths were a little separate for a time until we started to work together on certain projects.  Cécile designs the visual identity for a venue and I produce it, for example, the design at the Café Miettes in Vincennes. »

Rencontre

27 avril 2018

Julien, peintre en lettres

Merci à Julien de nous avoir fait découvrir son univers et de nous avoir fait découvrir son métier. Suivez-le sur Instagram ou sur son site internet. Un grand merci à Blush pour leur accueil.

Photos et Texte:

Mathieu Lodin

Natacha Roché

Traduction:
Textmaster

Publié le
27 avril 2018

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