Nicolas de Pontaud

With more than 10 years of experience in artistic direction and graphic design, Nicolas de Pontaud—who goes by the alias Deceptive Graphics—has worked extensively throughout the fashion, television and music industries. We talked to the talented French designer about his philosophy on art and design, his inspirations and his band, Pol the Fisherman.

Tell us a little about your art background. What spawned your interest in art?

My interest in art was the result of the collision of two artistic worlds: One world is my father, who's a graphic designer living on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean; the other is my mother, a choreographer living in Paris.

How would you describe your design aesthetic?

Panther, prints, black and white tattoos. My aesthetic is decorative with a minimalist framework. It’s freedom within a frame…because freedom only exists when there's a frame. Rules can only be broken if there are rules in the first place.

Why did you decide to design the Oribe logo in the way you did?

I just brought fantasy, decorations, twirls and whirls to the Oribe logo within a minimalist framework. If you look closely, you'll see that every little detail comes from the logo.

In your opinion, what defines something as beautiful?

Beauty is in simplicity. Beauty is maintaining the balance between breaking out of the framework while staying within it. It is the juxtaposition between the rigidity of a certain geometrical frame and the freedom of the organic shapes within it. It’s like the concept of yin and yang: In all the good there's a bit of bad. That's how you're artistic and free. That's how you're true to humanity.

Beauty can only exist in this tiny, ephemeral and indefinable state. You cannot precisely pinpoint where beauty is. Sometimes it's here and sometimes it’s there. But it's in the boundary and the interaction between good and bad, freedom and framework that you can find this juxtaposition, and that is beautiful.

You're in an amazing band called Pol the Fisherman. What role do you play in the band? How would you describe your music?

If you want to know come find out yourself! I cannot put it down in words. The only way to find out is to come to one of our concerts.

What is the biggest influence in your art and in your music?

Life. Movement. Things in movement. Genius and stupidity. Boring things and exciting things. I’m an observer and a listener. Cars and airplanes. Hair moving in the wind. The water in my glass. Needless to say, I find inspiration in movement. I’m all about things in action…I'm not interested in stagnant states of being. That's why I live in New York. I'm interested in things that evolve.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten? Given?

“Less is more,” but this philosophy entails a lot more than just the concept of “less.” It's less if you want it to be less. It's more if you want it to be more.

More philosophically, the best advice is also maybe to not give any advice. Who the hell are you to give advice?

How do you normally wear your hair?

I use Dry! It gives it texture and a next-day look.

What's the sexiest way a girl can wear her hair?

I like natural looking, healthy, shiny hair. I want to run my hands through it.

Are you working on any projects you're particularly excited about?

I'm working on my new album concept (art, music videos, music…) to be released next summer.
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