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My Creative Hero: Valentin Guiod on Michel Gondry


Celebrating the vibe, humility and tangible emotion of the French filmmaking icon

My Creative Hero: Valentin Guiod on Michel Gondry
Valentin began his career as an art director at adam&eveDDB in London, working on accounts such as adidas, Google and Volkswagen. His love of filmmaking soon saw him transition in directing. Valentin's campaign for adidas urges players to confront their adversaries both on and off the pitch, his campaign for Free “Money” brims with energy and humour as it explores the tenuous link between price and quality. In his most recent music video for La Roux, Valentin created a visually striking and unusual slice of video game nostalgia. He combines his life as a musician, his passion for writing and storytelling, with his love and knowledge of temporary culture to create visually surprising and engaging stories across music videos, commercials, shorts and features.

Who would you say is your creative hero? 

Michel fucking Gondry. Cocorico! 
(@michelfuckingondry is my personal IG account. It’s like the ultimate fan move. Like a bedroom poster in the ‘90s. Or sleeping in a tent in the queue line of a Tokyo Hotel gig.)


How long has he been important to you and what are your first memories of meeting him or coming across his work? 

We have a unique relationship with Michel. Well, I have a unique relationship with Michel. I mean, a one-way relationship is still a relationship right?
Anyway. This single-sided relationship started when I was in high school. I was born in the ‘90s, in the middle of the golden age of music videos. Watching MTV while eating Cheerios was probably my favourite hobby back in the days. I remember being amazed by the playfulness and the DIY spirit of his work. His creative concepts were so innovative yet so cheaply crafted, he brought a new vernacular for a whole (French!) generation. I remember the day I came across the Let Forever Be music video on TV. It crystallised in my mind the visual vibe I was into. I knew I would try to follow this career path. 

And a few years later, right after the very last exam for graduating high school, he came across me in the street. We talked. The day after, I was accepted to the same art school he attended. As luck would have it my friend. 

How did you go about finding to learn more about him and his work?

From his artwork, commercials, music videos, movies, series, there is a lot about him to grasp. He’s the kind of creative who belongs to popular culture and who is still creating it. I’ve recently discovered talks he gave at Massachusetts Institute of Technology about idea conception and technical/visual trickery. I like his humble approach to materials, how you can surprise big with smart little effects. It’s a jewel for the mind and a nerdy gift to idea lovers like I am. 

Why is he such an inspiration to you? 

Probably because of his multidisciplinary universe. He breaks boundaries between technical prowesses and his art. When you watch his work for Kylie Minogue, you’re still amazed by the system he created, decades later. It’s like he creates his own tools to reach his own ambitions. And on the other side, he always makes it with poetry, with great stories to make you think, to surprise you, to amuse you. Like the laboratory in the Science of Sleep. Keeping a childish amazement towards the world is key to translate it visually. 

How does he influence you in your approach to your creative work? 

Ideas first. Whatever they are visual, conceptual, for a music video or a fiction screenplay. It gives a backbone to any piece. And tangible emotions, whether it’s a commercial request or a collage on Instagram. It gives a nervous system that amplifies the idea.

What pieces of Michel Gondry’s work do you keep coming back to and why? 

Because he wears multiple hats, I’d pull one piece out of each one. 

Movie: Be Kind Rewind 

Music video: Let Forever Be by The Chemical Brothers 

Rabbit, oops sorry, wrong hat. 

Commercial: Pandora 

Series: Kidding 

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Birth UK, Tue, 23 Mar 2021 14:57:23 GMT