“I like old video game imagery not only because I used to play a lot. The designers back then didn’t have the technology we now have, and so they had to make everything simple,” says the French artist Paul Loubet, whose particularly cartoonish style has lent itself well to graphic design and editorial commissions.
Drawing from old video games, Loubet works in flat planes and two dimensions—he paints pixelated, space-age scenes with thick globs of gouche. These crowded compositions, which appear on artwork for musicians and on the pages of independent magazines, look as if an ’80s 8-bit console has collided with a Hieronymus Bosch painting.
“I find it interesting to look at the solutions that old game designers found,” Loubet continues. He finds this with tightly packed tapestry, too—another medium where “you can read so much from such a little amount of detail.” It’s the grid of these two formats he finds conducive to creativity. “I want to have the look of the pixel, but still be hand-painted and imperfect,” he emphasizes, adding that an instinct for graffiti has also played a vital part in defining his visual style.
Characterizing himself as an artist first and foremost, Loubet straddles many worlds and isn’t easy to pin-down into one visual camp. Throughout September, he was a resident at Paris Print Club where he experimented with lithography, silkscreen, engraving, and ceramic to produce work focusing on modern architecture and the theme of urbanism. For a silkscreen book, Blood on the Green, he interpreted Hans Arp’s paintings and drew from Roberto Burle Marx’s map drawings to create a series of 18-hole golf course illustrations from the perspective of the sky.
“I’m trying to reduce my language of forms even more, get more simple, and use less elements,” says Loubet, revealing not just an engagement with video games but also with the spirit and drive of Art Brut.
“Parallel to my paintings and illustrations, other parts of my work are focused on typography, letter strokes, and then obviously music,” he continues. A fascination with the typography associated with different musical genres infuses a lot of his work for labels, as does an interest in the aesthetics of folk art and old graffiti. Combining this range of visual references, Loubet compiles imagery so that he seems “graphic designer, tattoo artist and graffitist” all in one.