Fire Work With Me collects graphic artist extraordinaire Valnoir’s most beguiling, uncompromising pieces from his storied fifteen year run at his Paris-based Metastazis studio in one lush 276 page full-color volume which former Morbid Angel frontman David Vincent calls “insightful and inciting” and Watain head priest Erik Danielsson promises will be “relevant to all who crave the sublimity of the extremes.”
To celebrate the tome’s imminent release we asked Valnoir himself for the creation stories behind a few of his conjurings. The insanely awesome explications he sent along are as intense as his art…
LAIBACH – Liberation Day Tour poster – 2015
In 2012, I started to work as a designer and visual artist on the art program of the Norwegian artist Morten Traavik, art program that has the specifity to be the only one worldwide to cooperate on a regular basis with the North Korean state. Soon enough, I figured out that Morten was a fan of a band I was working for from time to time, and that I was following with great interest since the early 90’s : Laibach.
I suggested Morten the idea that Laibach should make an intervention in North Korea. Three years after, he eventually managed to put a Laibach concert up in Pyongyang, the capital of DPRK, the first of its kind in the history of the country. Metastazis, under the holy guidance of Morten Traavik, visually designed the communcation plan of the event. 1500 people attended to the show, including the ambassador of Syria in DPRK, who left the venue after two tracks, considering it was “torture.” I deeply value this experience, that was genuinely historic, and I consider the visuals we did among some of the most relevant of Metastazis body of work.
PARADISE LOST – Tragic Idol – 2011
When I was 15 years old, in 1995, I was playing bass in a cover band that had the specificity to play most exclusively tracks of Paradise Lost. Back then we had a real obsession for that band, and they were, the same year, the first band I saw live, ever. The same year, also, I started to grow my hair. Paradise Lost was one of the main preoccupations of my teenager life. Sixteen years after — 11/11/11 to be more precise — I decided to cut my hair. The very same day I received a mail from Century Media asking if I was interested in designing the next Paradise Album artwork. Reading this message provided probably what was one of the strongest emotion I ever felt in my life.
WATAIN – Commemoration of Lawless Darkness – 2010
Back in 2010, I was discussing with Olivier Marescaux — the silk screen printer I was working with back then — the possibility of hand-printing with blood based ink. Wondering what band could fit to such a concept, Watain came immediately to my mind as an obvious answer. I quickly figured out that using animal blood was less powerfull and substantial, especially in that context, than using human blood. Erik offered to send his blood, but for practical matters, it seemed complicated to ship 1L of human blood via the post office, also because I needed fresh, uncoagulated blood. This poster has been a starting point of a new program of projects that are classified in the book as “Life Imprints.” I used human bones for a King Dude poster and last year, Ulver — a band that I have cherished since the 90’s — sent me the master tape of their two first albums that I set on fire. I used the remains of the tape — the actual DNA of Ulver — to pigment an ink, and printed fifty images with it.
GLACIATION – 1994 – 2012
This band might not sound familiar to most of you. It’s my former band — the line-up included two members of Alcest. The purpose of this project was to tell the story of my youth when I discovered black metal back in 1994. It’s a story of disillusion but also of great passion — not unlike the chosen few who, like me, plunged head first into black metal during those golden years. We were back then, of course, wearing patched jackets with great pride, and not jokes were to be made about that. So when things came to design the Glaciation cover artwork in 2012, I very naturally decided to design three patches: A backpatch that was gathering all the icons of this year 1994 and two others carrying the name of the band and of the label. We stiched those onto the back of the guitar player, without, of course, any anesthesia. This was just the exact reflection of who we felt back then — and that even may be still the case for me, now, in 2016.