I WANT A HELVETICA TAPESTRY!
Chaotic words, letters used as patterns, tapestries of Helvetica - I'm surrounded by letters everywhere! I still have all my notebooks from years back. I admit that, despite iPhones and tablets, I still prefer to write on paper than with a keyboard. I write like I talk, and I'm a chatterbox.
I write things down constantly wherever I am, on little scraps of paper in my pockets, on napkins (at the Toulouse-Lautrec museum!), on little notebooks I find around the place or my wife Alessandra gives me. Words help me store my thoughts, whether they are my words or cuttings from magazines or printouts of quotes off the internet.
Phrases or words that I find striking or that chime with my thoughts are pinned to the wall at my studio. Some stay for months, others for years like the Balenciaga quote, which is one of my favourites!
Words, phrases and quotes pop up when you least expect it, giving mini electric shocks that provide inspiration in a project or give emotional signals, making me confused or destabilising me.
When that happens, I stand and look at them and rip a few up (not many!). It's a bit like when chefs talk about stripping back their dishes to the essentials: they take an egg, for example, and break it down to its essence, making something completely different from the original!
I do this with words. I take them out of their context, I study them and I put them into a different scenario. Some might say it's mad, but I assure you it's quite the opposite...working with words is totally relaxing!
Words are like the notes on a pentagram. If the balance isn't right, there is no harmony, so I tend to work like the Bauhaus theorists, “I remove the superfluous, I think about simple things and act accordingly”.
One of the books on my bedside cabinet is Exercises in Style by Queneau, which tells the same story in 99 different narrative styles. So storytelling these days is really nothing new… most writers would panic if faced with such a task, and he wrote it in 1947!