(Artist Series, Volume 5)
So there I am surfing through pages of Miles Davis photos on the web, and I stumble upon Julien Trédan-Turini’s fantastic illustration of Miles Davis – ‘Miles Away.’
A talented graphic designer residing in Paris, Julien has a website and Blog well worth checking out for his fine collection of work. I love the ‘Miles Away’ illustration and appreciate Trédan-Turini’s creative insight, so I decided to drop the artist a line to see what’s going on in the City of Light.
Miles Davis Online: Let’s talk about Miles Away. What’s the story?
Julien Trédan-Turini: I went to see this wonderful exhibition about him at la Cité de la Musique in Paris (luckily I live just across the street). I’ve been deeply moved by what I saw, heard, read, felt. Miles Davis was a very genuine, raw character, with a unique story. At the end of the exhibition you could watch one of his last public performances, at the Cité de la Musique, in august 1991. It happened a few meters from where I was standing, 19 years ago… It amazed me. So I went home and designed this illustration, being inspired by the cover of A Tribute to Jack Johnson.
MDO: Describe your process in creating ‘Miles Away.’
JTT: I had a very precise idea of what I wanted. The creation of the illustration took about an hour, I think. During the exhibition and on my way home, I had the time to design it mentally. I wanted a very energetic illustration, as raw as his character.
I could have spent more time on this piece and make it better but I wanted it to remain spontaneous. And I love Miles’ postures on the Tribute to Jack Johnson cover: all bent but fluid at the same time… Miles Davis was so ahead of his time, so as far as the title was concerned, “Miles Away”, it came immediately. It knocked on my door.
MDO: What are you working on now?
JTT: Well, it’s a bit less creative: mostly web design. I’m also looking for identity/logotype projects. Like I did for ‘Miles Away,’ I love simple, direct, spontaneous designs. And logotype creation is a very good discipline to exercise that.
MDO: Would you ever revisit Miles Davis as a subject for your art?
JTT: I have four passions: graphic design, music, astronomy and geography. The first one is my job so if I can mix it with my other passions, I’m the happiest man on earth. I’m considering designing “fake” Miles Davis CD covers or imaginary ones… Miles Davis is a striking figure: visually and artistically so he’s a very interesting subject with infinite possibilities.
MDO: Favorite Miles Davis album?
JTT: I guess I won’t be very original but so far it’s been Kind of Blue. I’m a metal/alt rock listener. But I’ve always been into jazz as well. A few years ago, I decided to start and build myself a jazz culture. Kind of Blue was one of the first albums I carefully listened to and it blew my mind. To this date, I’m not a huge fan of his electric period (yet…).
I love his work with Coltrane. From his pre-electric period, Kind of Blue is so different, simple, with this eerie feeling during the entire album… Music triggers my imagination, and I “mentally blossom” when I listen to Kind of Blue. It’s not the best English expression here… but it’s how I feel.
Artwork is © Julien Trédan-Turini