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Interview with Gab Bois

Born and based in Montreal, Gab Bois is a multidisciplinary artist, most known for her photography work. Her practice is particularly interested in the surreal quality of everyday objects: influenced by childhood experiences of playing pretend, she brings a distinct fantasy to her body of bizarre tableaux and whimsical props. Her unique visual language, informed by design, fashion, pop culture and advertising approaches the mundane with a sharp sense of humour.

As a true baby of the selfie era, self-representation is a recurring theme in Gab Bois’ work and incites a feeling of closeness and relatability to her audience. It is with this particular intimacy that she transports us to a world of her own in which bikini tops are made out of fruit loops and clam shells can double as hair clips. Her portfolio also extends beyond personal projects and Gab Bois has worked in collaboration with several international brands, including Balenciaga, Nike, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Jacquemus, Marc Jacobs and Mercedes-Benz for artistic and promotional content, and was featured in multiple shows and publications. She published her first photo book titled ‘New Album’ in the fall of 2020.

Shellphone, 2020 Image courtesy of Gab Bois

Your work strikes us as being heavily based on physical objects, with a playful “anti-virtual” vibe. Is yours a conscious choice, or are you simply playfully following your taste?

While I always try to include tangible subjects or aspects in my work, I wouldn’t use the term “anti-virtual” to describe it. I am fascinated by the juxtaposition of polar opposites, and so I think the digital diffusion of my object-focused work is a great example of opposites coexisting within my practice. My images started to gain traction back in 2016 on Instagram which led to me becoming a full-time creative, so it wouldn’t be fair of me to discard that part of my story. I am incredibly grateful for the impact that the digital world has had on my life both professionally through opportunities and personally through meeting people I would never have had the chance to meet otherwise.

As the world becomes more and more obsessed with virtualization, hyper-productivity and fast business, why do big brands ask for your approach? And how can you find a balance between your unfiltered, raw aesthetic and the demands of global advertising?

The materials and subjects that I use in my imagery are often everyday objects or seasonal products, because I want my work to be as relatable as possible. I think it’s that DIY aspect and relatability that makes my images appealing to brands. Brand partnerships are a huge part of how I can support myself throughout my creative practice. I always try to find that sweet spot where we can elevate each other, rather than one or the other. Lucky for me, most of my clients are very open and give me a lot of freedom within these collaborative projects.

Scrabble Dress, 2021 Image courtesy of Gab Bois

"I like to have a foot in as many doors as possible, and maybe that makes me a jack of all trades, master of none, but at least I never get too comfortable.”

The way you recreate physically lettering and logos in your work never ceases to amaze us. Do you consider yourself a visual designer? A photographer?

That’s a great question - and my answer to it has evolved so much over the years. I’d like to think that I’m a problem-solver first. My process consists of coming up with ideas and finding ways of bringing them to life whether that’s through sculpture, object design, photography, or video. The key is finding the medium that represents the idea best! I like to have a foot in as many doors as possible, and maybe that makes me a jack of all trades, master of none, but at least I never get too comfortable.

Images courtesy of Gab Bois

This interview is part of the Type Trends 2023 Lookbook / Vol 5: The counterspaces – Typography in the Age of Black Swans

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The Lookbook is also available on Amazon as a printed version in black and white. A useful tool to inspire your design days, to consult in your free time or simply to make a gift.

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A project by Typecampus / Sponsored by Zetafonts

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