CRUSH : GOLGOTHA (OUTTAKE FROM À PART N°8)29 October 2021
interview by ALISON DECHANDON
all visuals by GOLGOTHA @glgth
Versatility and transversality characterise the protean artistic work of the Golgotha collective. Born from the meeting of a trio of students trained at the National School of Decorative Arts in Paris, made up of Marvin De Deus Ganhitas, Antoine Aillot and Guillaume Hugon, this graphic design studio, founded in 2013, has launched a series of exceptional collaborations. Fashion, music, e-sport, literature and now aerospace are all areas in which this group, with its ambiguous name, can let its imagination and its pop references speak. Nourished by a very nineties visual culture, they dare to explore all the aspects of their own graphic intuitions in order to multiply the field of possibilities across scenography, video production, 3D animation and illustration. A true artistic alchemy that has won over both street and luxury labels, and artists like Booba and PNL. The meeting.
How did your collective come about?
Marvin De Deus Ganhitas (MDDG): Golgotha was born from the meeting of Guillaume, Antoine and me at the National School of Decorative Arts in Paris. It is through our education that we have come to know each other, to share experiences, to collaborate and to fuel future projects such as founding a graphic design studio, nourished by everything we love. The final degree project was a good way for us to test our intuitions, more so than a strict methodology, to develop visual writing and check that the chemistry holds up!
Why did you call yourself “Golgotha”?
MDDG: First of all, Golgotha is the stage name that we created for our performances of “Veejaying”, well before the degree. We love it because it perfectly embodies all dimensions of this discipline (VJ): namely sound and image. Subsequently, this name stuck and imposed itself on us because we made ourselves known by signing Golgotha each time.
Golgotha is quite a crypto-mythological symbol since it is the mountain on which Jesus and two other men were crucified by the Romans. Golgotha means “skull” or “calvary”. At the beginning it was not necessarily very easy to promote such a name, but I think it has served us well over time. It’s an enigmatic name that sticks in people’s minds, people remember us.
“Golgotha, they start making their images where most graphic designers end them.”
You define your graphic identity in one word: epic! What does that mean?
MDDG: Working together is more than taking comfort in the results of collective choices, it is working with each other’s personalities and therefore looking for new dynamics in otherness. Golgotha’s methodology is organic, all projects offer different working configurations and that is why we open ourselves to other areas (e-sports, fashion, literature or aerospace) and collaborate with other artists, graphic designers or illustrators.
This definition of our work is obviously a bit reductive but we love the epic impression that our projects give! We love this baroque and loaded character: we thoroughly explore our graphic intuitions, even if it means that they take a very strong visual place. One day a friend said to me: “Golgotha, they start making their images where most graphic designers end them”. I found it very funny and very true, our work is very visually nourished – it is difficult to hide from it or to pretend otherwise.
Working together means a lot more ideas … Do you have the same artistic sensibility?
Antoine Aillot (AA): Yes, the same sensibility! Of course each of us may have our own references and our own aesthetic affinities, but this also allows us to communicate them to others, and we always come together on the essential issues with common references. There is no war of egos over the ideas presented by one or the other.
“Obviously, at that time, thanks to Club Dorothée, Japanese cartoons and manga made their appearances in the French cultural landscape, and the three of us were brought up on Dragon Ball Z, Knights of the Zodiac, Nicky Larson and Sailor Moon.”
What are your inspirations? The Manga universe?
MDDG: Guillaume, Antoine and I have developed a graphic style inspired by visual productions of the 1990s, video games such as the different works of mother series: Nintendo, Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong etc. … to less family-friendly video games, more arcade-style, like: Metal Slug , Tekken, Shoot ’em Ups and Japanese RPGs (Role Playing Games) such as Final Fantasy. But also Hollywood blockbusters and cartoons such as Disney or Amblin productions and films that are so bad they’re good like Independence Day or Mortal Kombat. Obviously, at that time, thanks to Club Dorothée, Japanese cartoons and manga made their appearances in the French cultural landscape, and the three of us were brought up on Dragon Ball Z, Knights of the Zodiac, Nicky Larson and Sailor Moon.
Although today all this forms the solid core of our visual culture, our inspirations obviously – and fortunately – do not stop there. We didn’t get stuck in the 1990s or 2000s (with all the Y2K graphics codes that are also very familiar to us). We continue to feed on everything around us! The culture of social networks such as memes and TikTok, among others …
You have protean skills, from artistic direction, to video production, 3D animation, scenography or illustration. And you collaborate with eclectic labels. How does your creative process unfold when you work alongside a brand (Cartier, Moncler, Nike, Etudes, etc.)?
Guillaume Hugon (GH): Things are done quite naturally when it comes to the creative process. We do not necessarily differentiate our creative approach during a project commissioned by a brand or a magazine project. The production phase, however, obviously differs depending on the medium.
“Due to the reception of the video by Booba’s fanbase, the famous “Ratpis” (Editor’s note: Pirates) did not really understand the 3D aesthetic, nor did they understand the absence of sports cars and pretty girls in the video.”
In the music industry, you have also worked on notable achievements such as the “ELEPHANT” music video by rapper Booba in 2017 or the rap group PNL’s scenography for their tour in the same year. How did these collaborations go?
AA: Booba’s video was made thanks to Chris Macari, his official director, who came directly to contact us to work on the video’s artistic direction and FX. We were so excited at the idea of working for the Duke! So we went to extra lengths when the schedule was really tight. The exchanges throughout the project were fluid, and Booba was very happy with the result.
The output was unfortunately more chaotic, in particular due to the reception of the video by Booba’s fanbase, the famous “Ratpis” (Editor’s note: Pirates) who did not really understand the 3D aesthetic, nor did they understand the absence of sports cars and pretty girls in the video. In the end, the video was taken off the internet quite quickly (except on our site!). Booba’s enemies went out of their way to mock the video, and articles circulated about its “poor reception”. At the time, it hurt our hearts and our ego a bit, but with hindsight we have very positive and fun memories of this experience at the top of the “Rap Game”
PNL contacted us via their QLF label. The work was extensive and at the time included a new scenographic dimension for us. Here again, we exchanged directly with the artists and their staff, which gave rise to an intense but very enriching collaboration for us.
Working with artists and brands, is it really the same, from a creative freedom standpoint?
GH: Yes, we need this freedom, it is essential.
Has the current pandemic held you back in certain projects from a practical and creative point of view? Or on the contrary, has it boosted your imagination?
AA: The pandemic has of course had an impact on us in terms of work organisation (setting up teleworking, fewer direct meetings with customers, etc.), but, on the whole, our creativity has not necessarily suffered. And, as it happens, we’re lucky enough to work in areas (3D, video, etc.) which are adapting quite well to the new constraints induced by the pandemic.
What projects are you currently working on … without giving away too much?!
AA: Without necessarily revealing our future projects too precisely, we are currently working a lot in new fields such as aerospace with the company Toucan Space and Gama. We are also continuing to work in fashion and video games, alongside our agency’s usual activities.
Are there any future collaborations in particular you dream of?
AA: Since our work with Booba, we now know that the dream collaboration is not necessarily synonymous with achievement. So whatever the brand or the artist, we’ll give it our all, even though, of course, we still have a lot of names on our internal wishlist!
MDDG: The dream would be to continue to be able to surprise ourselves with daring and new projects.
GH: The LC reboot. Waïkiki.
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