So I know I say this at the top of every interview…but Exterface are another reason why I set up The Back Building. I realised there wasn’t really one place where I could read interviews with all my favourite people. So I started my own.
I first came across Julien et Stéphane, aka Exterface, when they shot Francois Sagat as their muse. But the shoot that brought them wider recognition was with David Mason Chlopecki, CEO of Slick It Up, as a beautiful pink unicorn. Britney channelled the look for Glee. The pic was discussed on Ellen’s blog. IT WENT VIRAL.
But the guys publish their own magazine, Muto, shoot campaigns for interesting brands like Enter Pronoun (Read on…) and successfully tread the fine line between erotica and high fashion.
Why did you name your company Exterface?
First we wanted to have a name for our duo, we didn’t feel like going by our two names, like Julien & Stéphane, even though some people know us this way too. So we created a name, which has become a brand today, with it’s own logo and identity, to define our art and our purpose. Exterface is the opposite to interface, in a way that it’s about revealing the inside, on the outside…
What inspires you?
Usually the inspiration comes first from our models. Their story, their spirit, their beauty. As creative people, inspiration can come from anything, anywhere, anytime. A color, a fabric, a movie,… It’s like a mental data library, constantly evolving, where ideas can come out at the right moment, for the right subject with the right model.
What attracts you to a project?
We’re first attracted by the people we are working with. We do have to connect with them, with their personality and their brand. We loved working for Natalia Ramirez for instance and her groundbreaking Enter Pronoun genderless make-up brand. First because we think what she does as a make-up artist is amazing, pure talent, second because the concept is so strong and so relevant and also because we share the same conception of beauty. Most of all we need trust, trust is freedom and freedom is art.
Having done Slick It Up and now Rufskin are you shooting more brands as opposed to just models?
Yes! Definitely. We also count Charlie by Matthew Zink, Kyle King, Stiaan Louw, Mister and Mister, Nasty Pig, for instance, who all share the Exterface brand values. We also want to develop more and more close collaborations with fashion designers, to create unique pieces for our photographic projects. Soon to be discovered!
Do you have one model that represents your brand the most?
All our models represent our brand. Different types, different looks, different bodies, different features. And as a whole, they all embrace our devotion to beauty.
Are you surprised with how far the image of David Mason Chlopecki as the unicorn has spread?
We were indeed very surprised! There have been strong and opposite reactions to that shoot since the beginning. We saw it everywhere on social media, people putting their faces on David’s body, we also found the picture on a birthday cake, people were even debating it on Ellen Degeneres’ blog! It has definitely challenged people’s inner child, the need for fantasy in their lives and also their perception of what a man can do, what is and isn’t acceptable for him. That comment “I hope he’s been payed a lot of money to be portrayed like that”, that we’ve read many times, proves it.
Has anything funny happened on set?
Our shoots are very private moments, so we won’t share any stories on them… Sorry. But what we can say is that all shoots are friendly, easy and productive. Despite the creative process and the serious aspect of it, there are always strong and warm feelings going on. We often say that we love our models, that’s true! We also think that it shows on our pictures.
What’s the inspiration for Muto Manifesto?
The inspiration behind MUTO Manifesto comes along with its name. Originally we chose it as a reference to an ancient version of Priapus, the famous god of masculine vitality and fertility. With this publication, we wanted to glorify one male model, create a character and a story inspired by him, and let him share his thoughts along the pages…Like a global glorification of his mind and beauty.
Your history is online but you recently printed a copy of Muto. Any plans on publishing every issue?
Hmmm yes we did! That’s actually what we intended to do when we launched the Exterface Store, bring our personal work to the public, as we were getting more and more requests and demands - especially concerning our visual manifesto MUTO, which has been really successful, virtually speaking. By the way, the regular edition of the 7th MUTO volume “COMMANDO” is still available, the collector’s edition being already sold out! There’s so much to come, new publications, new MUTO of course, and many surprises, we love to surprise people!
Would you or have you done music videos?
Haven’t done any yet. But we’re interested in creating moving pictures, yes.
Who would you most love to work with?
Interesting, inspiring and DARING people, from all over the world. Any applications are always welcome. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The latest issue of MUTO, ‘Commando’ is available now.
For more information see http://exterface.com/