Meeting with SALUCV, graphic designer conquering the artistic world

Rencontre avec SALUCV, Designer graphique à la conquête du monde artistique - HYTRAPE
We had the opportunity to interview Léopold, aka SALUCV, a young graphic design prodigy who managed to merge his love for rap with his artistic talent. By exploring the depths of his imagination, he has created striking visuals for album covers and musical projects, bringing to life a unique and captivating visual universe.

Can you describe your professional background to us? What led you to become a graphic designer?

I started graphic design when I was 16, so I was still in high school. After the baccalaureate I wanted to go to art schools but as I didn't take myself seriously in what I was doing, I told myself straight away that I didn't have the level. So I enrolled in an information communications degree at university, but it wasn't what I originally wanted, I did it out of spite. As I was at university and therefore not overloaded with work, I continued doing graphic design on my own with lots of YouTube tutorials, I took it more and more as a passion. I created “salucv” in 2020 so I was already posting some of my work there. Then at the start of the 3rd year of my bachelor's degree I stopped and had an interview to go to the art school I wanted after high school, I was accepted and now I'm in the third year of my bachelor's degree graphic design. Next year, God willing, I will go into graphic design 100% and independently.

And the important point in all of this is that I started to really like it when I linked graphic design to rap. There I started making lots of fictitious album covers, until the day I got my first order for an “official” project, since then I haven’t stopped.

Top ! How did she make the connection with Losboi for the creation of the cover?

The connection really happened a bit randomly on my side, I continued to work on my fictitious covers, I received a DM on Instagram. It was @los6boi, a big s/o to him by the way. I was really happy because creating visuals for a real release was what I wanted for a while at that time. Today I'm still extremely proud of this visual, it's rare that I still like a work so much after almost 3 years. Especially for my first order I said to myself “oh yeah it feels good to work for someone else”, that a third party sends you their own ideas and it’s up to you to calibrate with them.

What are your inspirations and influences?

I take my inspiration from lots of things, first of all it's what I experience, like the fake metro tickets that I got, I really hate Paris and I thought it was cool to work a creation that would highlight this feeling. I reclaim everything I experience, especially what I endure in real life: once alone I talk about it in a creation, it's a kind of outlet. Otherwise I am inspired and draw a lot from brutalism at the moment, from Swiss design, from the work of Dora Lazarevic, WWWESHSTUDIO....

What do you do when you lack inspiration?

When I lack inspiration, and this is what I advise everyone, I close Photoshop immediately. When I create it is because I feel the need, in the past I have wasted too many hours in front of the computer forcing things and trying to create only to end up frustrated. So I often leave myself 2-3 days to see something else, less open Instagram so I don't have to hear the little voice in my head telling me "You see, they're achieving things, they're working there, you should get going.” It's so important to know how to recognize the moments when you need to rest.

What is the project that you are most proud of?

This question is too hard in reality. My favorite projects change depending on my moods but if I had to pick just one I think it would be the campaign I launched to help Algeria. I created a t-shirt that I put on sale and all the profits were donated to a fund to bring medical equipment to Algeria during the health crisis. We were able to send €450 in the end, I was proud to see that my work could also help others. Above all, it was the first time I talked about it to my family, when they understood that it worked really well, they were proud of me.

What software do you use the most?

The cursed software, Photoshop. This is where I spend most of my time for my creations. I remember that at the time when I was on Photofiltre 7, I managed to get a crack of Photoshop and the software really scared me. On Photofiltre I had all my habits, I knew everything by heart. Then over time I said to myself that it would be good to get started with real complete software, so I forced myself and I ate YouTube tutorials galore. I also really like InDesgin, which I use a little less, too practical when you start to master it. I'm on it at the moment to prepare a personal project, I'm allowing myself to tease a little.

Do you plan to learn other skills like 3D, motion design?

I already started a bit of 3D, I must have done 3-4 Blender renderings in my life, the very last one was the one that I used to promote my posters, I was proud of it dead because I'm not at all about that, I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and I really liked it. I would love to be able to delve deeper into all of this and learn more. Otherwise the rest of the practices like motion design etc., I don't want to stick my nose into it for the moment.

Recently you worked with Bekar, Bupropion & Nunca, How do you manage deadlines and high pressure projects? How do you manage returns and feedback? Are you often proactive with artists? And do you prioritize tasks and projects?

Frankly, for this type of project, you just learn over time to manage them better, whether it be logistics or communication with the “client”. I put quotation marks because the names mentioned are all my brothers. For deadlines, it's personal organization, it's like doing homework, I make lists. The pressure comes when I don't respect these lists, it's up to me to manage all of that well so as not to suffer too much stress. Otherwise my job is just fun, to say the opposite would be a lie. Once the project is launched and the first drafts are sent, I must always have a plan B in mind in case the direction taken is not the right one or does not suit the artist. I often don't send anything until I'm satisfied myself. When you give work that you are proud of, it is felt 100x more. I'm also lucky enough to be able to work for artists who know me and my work, so when they come it's because they want a bit of my vision on their project. I am not only hands but also brains. I don't hesitate to ask lots of questions and send new references if the feedback is negative, so that we move forward quickly and efficiently. Otherwise it's flexibility, the number of times I watch a film with my girlfriend and I have to stop it to make changes and send them back... She grumbles for 30 seconds but she knows how much it is all of this is important to me, I take this opportunity to thank her for being who she is, there is no salvation without her.

For you, what is the message you want to convey when you create something?

When it is a creation for others, I try to understand as much as possible the universe into which the artist wants to bring his listeners. My job is precisely to illustrate that, if I understand something wrong, it will quickly become apparent. For an order, I need to talk a lot with the sponsor, as I always say, every word is important to me, even the broadest one. I logically make my own interpretation, illustrate what the artist has in mind. Sometimes I even go in a different direction than at the beginning and I bring a new perspective on the universe. Sometimes it breaks but often it works. This is the advantage of working with open-minded people, who will not hesitate to question their own vision for the good of their project. The challenge is also to make you want to listen to the music thanks to the cover for example. From a more personal point of view, when I work for myself, it's often like an outlet, I who don't often talk about what I'm going through, it allows me to let go of certain emotions in a trickle. It's more free and personal, I attach less and less importance to necessarily having a message to send, just to please myself above all and to be proud to release a creation.

With the arrival of artificial intelligence like Midjouney, Dall E..

Do you think designers can be replaced?

No, they can never be replaced in my eyes. At the very beginning I asked myself the question, it's normal when there is a new tool to wonder if we won't be replaced. But the more it develops, the more it becomes an asset, almost an aid for designers. You can make mood boards quickly, for those in illustration it also allows you to have a lot of examples of poses, objects etc. I think that if you are afraid of being replaced by that, it's is that your work should not reflect you 100%, the personality of a creator influences their work and that will never be replaced.

How do you see the future of graphic design? What challenges do you want to face in the years to come?

As he has always done, things will evolve, in the end we are just tiny bits of humans who humbly put in our little grain of salt. One day we will surely be overwhelmed by all that but that will leave room for other young people who are more creative and who will have been immersed in different technologies, technologies that we at 60 will be incapable of understanding. It's a cycle and it's unbreakable. Humans have always drawn inspiration from their lives for their creations, so as long as there are Humans there will be art. For my part, I would very much like to learn and raise as much awareness as possible about eco-responsible design, particularly in terms of printing, textiles, papers... To be able to continue creating and for ecological issues to become a challenge and a constraint that we appropriate, even more new concepts, while being respectful of the environment as much as possible.

The interview with Léopold, aka SALU CV, allowed us to dive into the creative universe of this talented graphic designer. Passionate and authentic, he revealed to us his sources of inspiration, his working methods and his aspirations for the future of graphic design. Through its responses, we perceive a deep desire to always renew itself, to take on new challenges and to stay connected to the needs and expectations of its customers. He demonstrates that with passion, perseverance and a people-centered approach, success is within reach. Far from being threatened by technological advances and artificial intelligence, graphic design will continue to evolve and enrich thanks to artists like Léopold, who put their personality and creativity at the service of their art.

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