Artist Interview: Pauline Automatique

Pauline Automatique, a Bordeaux native (near the Atlantic Ocean), is an independent graphic designer working across a variety of disciplines including print, identity, illustration and photography. After studying visual communication and global design, she’s transitioned herself into the graphic design world and recently partnered with Emeline Vivier, another young French graphic designer. Surfing and music continue to influence Pauline and will carry her into 2012 with stoke and excitement for her partnership as well as a variety of new projects.

Describe your artist style.

A mix of collage, drawings, photographs and sticky colored labels. I’ve got the reverse of the blank page syndrome; I can’t leave a blank on the page.

I try to reproduce on paper the pictures i have in my head, conjured up by the music I listen to, the books Iread and the artists I like. And the best opportunity to do so is the posters I make for the concerts organized by the association we’ve created in 2008 with a few friends ( They allow me to really let myself go, and lay on paper all my inspirations and desires. My style can sometimes be really naive: colored sticky labels, light blue and pink; as it can become quite dark all of a sudden.

What types of art do you enjoy most? Is there one genre you spend more time on or is it whatever you’re feeling that day?

I like drawing, collages and type design best. Creating something complex from just one shape, like the circle, is something I really enjoy. I naturally went back to the sticky colored label of my childhood. Their round shape and their bright colors attract me and reassure me. But I’m still very opened to influence, in a good way. Most of my illustration start with a dot, but what follows depends on my mood, and my latest aesthetic obsession.

Do you have a formal art education? Or did you learn by trial and error?

I’ve always wanted to do that, but one day I realized I needed to do things seriously. So I majored in visual communication and global design in Bordeaux in 2007. And on top of my studies, my personal research, my errors and my curiosity got me where I am today.

As a graphic designer, what do you think life would be like without the use of a computer?

Not radically different, but slower and less fun. It’s amazing what we can do with a computer and with the Internet. We have access to all kind of images and information with just few clicks. With a computer, I can break free from economic and technical constraints: chat with people all around the world, and advertise my work. Thanks to Photoshop and Illustrator, I can improve the typeface I have scribbled on a piece of paper, and send a neat job to the printer. I’m not sure I could do without it today…

Why Polaroids as opposed to other cameras/film? What’s the draw there for you?

Polaroid because it is the first camera I had when I was 7, well before the digital age. At that time, when I saw that the picture came out instantly, I was mesmerized! You have the picture in your hands in no time, with great colors and that typical format, and you can take it with you and start working on it immediately. It entirely satisfies my impatient side!

What do you feel is the most important aspect of being a good designer?

Find your own style and develop it. A good designer is someone who has found his/her touch. A work that is identifiable is a work of a good designer. Not to rely on what you already know, go forward, with what you can do and what you like doing, but always aim higher. Curiosity is the key word.

When did you get involved in surfing? And what kinds of boards are you riding?

I started surfing in summer 2009, after meeting my friend Hugo. He was crazy about surfing and I caught the virus. I started with a 7″9, then, once i felt at ease, I bought my first longboard, a Swop 9″ ( And, for about one year now, I have surfed with a 9″4. But I’d like to try something different, like a retro fish, but I still need to get better…

Describe the surf scene in your area of France. How does it compare to some of the other places in the world you may have traveled to?

I’ve learned to surf and still surf today in Lacanau, near Bordeaux. This is a town where surfing really started in Gironde in the 60’s, and I often surf with the guys who surfed there first, and that’s impressive. The town is full of people who are really keen, for who surfing is a way of life, the organizing element in their life. In Winter there are 5000 inhabitants, and 40 000 in summer; everything changes in just a few days! I’m really fond of this town, where I am lucky enough to own a nice little house. I’ve never surfed anywhere outside France, but I’d love to try other spots.

What’s next for Pauline Automatique?

I’ve just partnered with another graphic designer; we’ve only just started but it’s going well. We’ll soon have an Internet website, I’ll keep you posted! I’d love to carry on working for music and surf, and all kind of exciting projects. In a nutshell, in 2012, I will focus on my artistic activity, go on surfing, and…have a baby in August!

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