Interview: Clément Pavageau


Name: Clément Pavageau Kokopako

Where do you live: Los Angeles, USA

Known for: Being a human (and a designer).

Currently working with:
I’m currently working with a bunch of ninjas on confidential digital projects as a pixel samurai at Watson DG.

When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area?
It came pretty late compared to some other people who were playing with Photoshop before to start walking. I first said “I want to be a graphic designer” when I was around 13 years old. Without even knowing what it really was. I think I realized that because at that time fine art lessons were my favorite at school. I liked the freedom and the imaginative aspect of it. I had fun.

Back in my childhood, I was not this kind of kid who was always drawing or stuff like that, what I was always doing though was inventing stuff, all kind of stuff. I think it has been my strength since the beginning: my creativity. I was more fascinated by Leonardo Da Vinci machines rather than The Birth of Venus by Botticelli.I still am. I’ve never been very technical and good at drawing.

If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why?
It’s hard to say because I should first go everywhere to see where is the best place to live. But so far I would say New York. I like big cities and for me this city has everything. Firstly for her atmosphere and spirit. Secondly for her urbanism, architecture, cultural events and food. And finally New York perfectly combined nature and city. This is also a really great city to live in if you are working into the creative industry, so many talented and passionate people over there.

Sometimes I also think it would be nice to live on an island far from the craziness of big cities, to free your mind of stress, enhance creativity, be more adventurous, etc. Just take more time to live and enjoy it. Like Hawaii, it sounds like a great place to live. New Zealand too. Still so many places to explore!

How would you describe your creativity?
This is a hard one! It’s not easy to put words on something as abstract as creativity, especially to describe it. I would say my creativity is part of my personality, I’m curious and an observer, so when I observe things (it can be anything) I guess my brain will analyze it and translate it into a creative way which will bring ideas, or not.

How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner?
I found myself pretty bored when I was in high school, I was just doing the minimum and was probably one of the worst students in my classroom. And to be honest I didn’t really care, at this time I just wanted to bring OK notes at home to avoid blames from my parents.

After high school, I started to study fine arts for 1 year. It was probably the hardest year of my student cursus. I’ve never been particularly good at traditional art techniques, and didn’t really like it, so I needed to work really hard to become better and improve faster. Then, I switched to print design and later digital design. I realized it was what I was good at and passionate about. It involved design problems to solve and this is what I love. Sleeping nights became shorter and shorter through the years, but passion always kept me on track.

What do you do at the moment?
Besides Watson DG projects I’m always busy spending a lot of time doing my own projects. I can’t have nothing to do, it’s not in my nature. I’m currently writing articles about game design process on Medium,working on a musical digital experience, a creative online platform called Snygt, an innovative super hero hybrid game and some other smaller projects. Side projects permit me to do what I truly love without any constraints. It’s 100% fun. This is also the best way to keep learning and experimenting with new things.

A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business?
Just get in mind it’ll involve a lot of investing knowledge besides your core skills. Starting a creative business requires to have some strong business management skills and knowledge to be sure to think about everything. I think being well surrounded is very important too, like partners, people you want to work with.A business is all about people: find the right employees and choose your clients well. Be ready to work really hard to manage all of that.
Last thing, there are so many creative businesses outside that you should ask yourself what your business will do differently from others. You need to have strengths and a vision which will make you stand out from others. You need to be unique and the best at what you are doing.

Tell us how it all started.
As I said before I always loved to invent things. When I was a kid, I created my own board games, I invented the rules and crafted them with paper, carton board, color pencils, scissors and glue. I think it’s when it all started!

What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you?
A good atmosphere, not too serious, with people who share your vision and are passionate about what they are doing. Coworkers who care about quality and high level details, as well as innovative concepts. A place where there is trust. And finally a studio where projects are fun to work on, ambitious and unique. I don’t really care about the physical place, I just need a pen, a notebook and a good computer. Preferably not an open space. I don’t know why everyone think it’s cool to share a huge open space. It’s the worst thing to focus and get shit done. It literally kills your productivity (and creativity too).

What is your favorite film?
As a movie lover, it’s hard to pick only one, but if I should pick one it will be Babel by Alejandro González Iñárritu.

Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why?
If he was still alive probably Leonardo Da Vinci, so many things to learn from him, such a creative mind. And we could take his first selfie with a selfie stick.

How do you like to spoil yourself?
Rides on the PCH, nature explorations, go surfing, taking sunset pictures, go to exhibitions.

What is luxury for you?
To have time.

What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom?
Probably some people who told me they wanted to use an app that I designed just for fun, it was only a concept. The app allowed users to share their daily life moments through pictures with their close family. It’s actually a really great feeling when you receive feedback from people who wish this app existed. It meant there was a need for it. Designing products, websites, apps to make everyone’s lives easier and/or more fun is definitely something I care a lot about.

What do you fear most?
To lose all my external drives with my project backups and after-effects plugins, and then to have both of my hands chopped off. It would be a pretty bad day.

More seriously, to not have enough time to do all the things I want to do in my life.

What is a happy life to you?
A happy life for me is a life I choose to live, a life where I’m not afraid to make my own decisions to follow what I want to do, to follow my dreams, to take risks, to step out of my comfort zone, to explore the unknown. Happiness is not something we have or don’t have, it’s something we choose to have and that need to be cultivate. So a happy life can have many different faces. But most of it, a happy life is a life we control, not a life that is undergoing, or dictated by others. Trust yourself, be passionate by everything you’redoing, be good to others and a happy life should naturally follow.

What does a regular day look like for you?
Routine is something I try to avoid as much as I can. But when you have a full time job you can’t really do otherwise. So yeah usually I woke up at some point around 7:30 am (still too early for me), I’ll snooze for like 30 min to have the feeling I sleep more (which is in fact the opposite). Then I’ll check Instagram, Facebook, emails. A good breakfast is the key for a good day. I’ll ride to the office on my scooter. It’s so relaxing as it’s always sunny and warm here in LA. I also use this time to review in my head what I’ll focus on during the day. Sometimes I even come up with new ideas for the projects I’m working on. Then, the day at the office is usually 10% meetings, 20% working together with the team on projects, 55% projects production on my own, 5% lunch, 5% twitter feed and 5% drinking water (stay hydrated like your mommy said so yeah 5% restroom too which makes a 110% office day!! Great).

I’ll of course ride back to my place around 8 pm. Yeah it’s a lot of driving in LA, and traffic is crazy. When I’m home safe, I’ll usually take some time to relax by reading a book, taking a nap (always good for the memory,creativity and to boost your energy), do sports and then I’ll work on my personal projects until midnight, around 1 am. I can’t go to bed before midnight, it’s too boring and I’ll have the feeling to not have used the time I had. I’m definitely a night owl. I’ll always end the day by watching a movie or a TV series. It’s my entertainment of the day. And finally, Morpheus will come to meet me.

Tell us about your dream project.
I think I have 2 main dream projects. The first one will be to be part of a concept/VFX team working on futuristic movie, where my role would be to create interactions which doesn’t exist yet and bring them to life through visual design and motion graphics. Perfect example is the movie Her. I’ve always found it fascinating how things could be in the future, to think about how technologies could make humans live into a better, more intuitive world, more adapted to their everyday needs. Futuristic machines and mechanics are also something I’m fascinated about.

The second one will be to redesign a global experience, like redesign the global train experience for instance. Every time I’m taking the train when I’m going back to France, I’m thinking of how much better it could be. I would like to design the whole experience, from when you book your tickets, until you arrive at your destination. I mean not just an app or something like that, but also the whole physical train spaces and design. Like how the passenger could efficiently use this space into the train related to his current needs,know more about landscapes, cities he passes by, etc. So many things could be done to make a lot of everyday experiences better.

Who is your professional role model/inspiration?
A lot of people inspire me for sure but I don’t have one in particular.

How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)?
I like to think my work style is not something which can be categorized. I think everyone has (or should have) a unique work style.

Which is the one thing you can’t live without?
Internet (yeah it sounds pretty nerdy). This is crazy how I find myself so dependent of it! I mean it’s part of my job too so it makes sense. But for example last month, I just came back from France to LA, I went to Ralph’s to buy some food but totally forgot that I had no more credit on my phone. So I bought all the things I needed, but when I wanted to order an Uber I faced the hard reality: no internet! And it was of course impossible to find a free wifi, so I had to walk 1h with 10 kilos of food to go back home. So yeah, I think Internet definitely makes our lives easier, in a lot of different ways. Even if sometimes I wish I could be totally disconnected, like when Internet didn’t exist yet.

What inspires you?
Life in general: nature, travels, riding, art, architecture, people stories, movies, books and of course THE Internet!

A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life?
I would definitely not say it had changed my life but for sure inspired me, it’s a manga called Gunnm by Yukito Kishiro. I’ve never been especially attracted by Asian cultures in any ways, so I didn’t really read mangas except this one. I loved everything about it: the story with complex human interactions and true feelings, the illustration style and the universe. And guess what, it’s all about futuristic worlds and robots!

Another one which had an impact on my life, How to stop worrying and start living by Dale Carnegie. A really good reading, based on true stories, which highlights different ways to avoid unnecessary stress. One of the sentences I like about this book is “Crowd worry out of your mind by keeping busy. Plenty of action is one of the best therapies ever devised for curing ‘wibber gibbers’”.

Connect with Clément on Twitter @kokopako
Check out his portfolios at Cargo collective & Behance
Visit his Medium page

Adidas SLVR website from Kokopako on Vimeo.


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