Rémi Le Capon was born in 1973 in Grenoble, France. He attended drawing school in Lyon. He works as a freelance illustrator for role playing games, other games projects, and private illustration commissions. He also works as a colorist for comics. Despite his training in classical drawing, he mostly works in digital media. His website is http://remton.daportfolio.com.
Your works seem to have an intimate relationship with history, especially 19th and 20th century military history. Is that a conscious choice? Is it because those wars are impossible to forget, especially to Europeans? Or is it because those wars have an air of romance that modern wars do not, in their scale of suffering, their distinctions between heroes and villains, and in the aesthetic design of their uniforms, weapons, and machinery?
I have always liked history (especially medieval and as you point out, late 19th and 20th century). The two world wars had a great impact on many countries, the first one especially in Europe. However, I’m more interested in “lesser” conflicts, such as the Russian Revolution and civil war after, and the Spanish Civil War, where you can also find fascinating personalities and epic adventures. For example, take the Czech Legion, who fought against Austrians and Germans on the Eastern Front, and after the October Revolution, seized a part of the Imperial gold and crossed Russia from West to East aboard armored trains. It’s an inspiring adventure. There are some powerful personalities in the International Brigades of the Spanish Civil War, too. As you said, there is a kind of “romantic” spirit in these conflicts that definitively ended with the slaughter of World War II.
Do you consider your works like Sybera to be steampunk?
Even if this piece lacked mechanical gears, Victorian clothing, and goggles, I could relate it to steampunk. And there are airships, so I would say yes, it is steampunk.
Is there a form of steampunk that you consider to be particularly French?
I’m not a specialist of steampunk literature, but I don’t think there is a particular “French Touch.” For me, it all depends on the writer, whatever country he belongs to.
What do you think will be the future for steampunk?
Well, I don’t really know. Steampunk continues to be a trend right now, but as with every trend, it can pass out of fashion. I see a number of steampunk artworks that are not especially original. Too many are quite the same, with the same clothes, same goggles, same mechanical gears. I think steampunk should evolve, for example, by mixing steampunk features with others parts of history or countries. What would an African-inspired steampunk be like? For me, steampunk could last for years if the themes are renewed, with some original features that are not present in steampunk right now.
Can you tell us about your technique? I know that these works are digital, but the textures are so vivid that it is difficult to see that they are digital.
Even if I work in digital mediums, I always try to give my works a traditional feeling. I use a mix of custom brushes, photo textures, and above all, a lot of brush strokes and painting. When I worked with traditional mediums, I always enjoyed experimenting, and mixing various techniques and mediums.
Your work has marvelous chiaroscuro that creates a sense of high drama. Can you talk to us about some of your inspirations from art history and from science fiction/fantasy illustration?
I’m not really selective in what I like in art, as long as the artwork strikes my imagination or stirs some feeling in me, like most people. I like medieval painters such as Dürer and Grünewald, Romantic painters of the late 19th/early 20th century, like Goya, Friedrich, Böcklin, Füssli, and Repine. I prefer a Caravaggio over a Raphael, and a Géricault over a David. I saw an exhibition of Veličković that really struck me. Very powerful art. I generally prefer dark and tortured art (I know, how strange). I also appreciate Frazetta, Giger, Brom, Enki Bilal, and many, many more.
What is your dream project?
I’m thinking of an anachronistic world based in the last years of World War I and the Russian Revolution but “steampunked,” with a touch of Slavic mythology, and a bit of vampirism. I’d like to have more time to work on it, meet some specialists in Slavic mythology, travel through Eastern Europe to do research, and then make graphic novels, comics, and games from this foundation. And of course, find a rich sponsor for it all.
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