Illustrations, music videos, Berlin Wall murals and more from London’s quirky Frenchman
by Rich Cunningham
French illustrator, film director and creative polymath Mathieu Bessudo, or McBess as he is more widely known, is a London-based artist with an eye for incredible detail and a mind for a surreal rearrangement of the most simplistic of subject matters.
McBess’ illustrations are inspired by the drama of everyday life, by relationships, food and musical instruments that are re-modeled and contorted to create a microcosm in monochrome while simultaneously appearing to be something ripped right out of a nightmarish 1930s Fleischer Cartoon. The latest of these irreverent incarnations can be seen in his new collection for Berlin’s Dudes Factory shop, which includes a T-bone shaped chopping block, a gramophone, a beerstein (hand-thrown and fired in Bavaria), prints, plates and more.
In 2011 McBess was asked by Dudes Factory to venture beyond his everyday subject matter and to apply himself to a project more serious than steaks and electric guitars. Based at Berlin’s Freedom Park, he worked on a segment of the infamous Berlin wall in commemoration of the 50th year since its construction.
McBess approached the project with a degree of subtlety, claiming that he wanted his design to be “as low key possible”. The result of his efforts is stunning—his faint references to the Berlin bear, check-points and the separation of East and West Berliners is made clear without being too obvious, and it boasts copious details but isn’t weighed down by traditional motifs and symbolism.
In addition to his illustration work, McBess is a director at the Soho-based film company The Mill, an ultra-creative arm of the VFX Company. McBess’ show-reel displays the same rigorous attention to detail and fluidity that is so evident in his illustrations, and it is when brought to life by film that Bessudo’s work is perhaps at its most commanding. Various film projects include music videos for his rock band The Dead Pirates and “Dark Arts”, his title sequence work for the 2012 Ciclope International Advertising Crafts Festival.
Unsurprisingly, the Frenchman markets himself as “expensive” and fairly states, “You either deal with how I work, or I just don’t do a good project.” Download The Dead Pirates new EP FAT online for £3 and pick up McBess prints and merchandise from his shop.