Meet Multi-Media Artist Alexy Prefontaine
Alexy Prefontaine (@aeforia) is a graphic designer, photographer, and musician. His digital artwork features rich textures and gorgeous color palettes. Read our interview with Alexy to learn more about his inspiration, his band and where the name @aeforia came from.
Interviewer Alexi Ueltzen (@alexi) is Ello’s Social Media & Email Manager. If she’s not at the office, she’s probably swimming, getting muddy with her dogs, or baking cookies. The best cookies.
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First off, where does the name “aeforia” come from?
I’d love to say that ‘’Aeforia’’ has a deep meaning behind it but unfortunately, that’s not the case! Actually, when I first started on Instagram, I was using my full name as my username (@alexyprefontaine). After a few months, I thought it was too long and probably too hard to remember for people who never saw such a name before. Therefore, I tried finding a cool-sounding name that would begin with the letter ‘’a’’, because my logo was an abstract ‘’a’’ symbol. I liked the word euphoria and its meaning and figured out that changing it to create a new word would be nice. ‘’Aeforia’’ was born.
Tell us a little about your background. How did you get interested in digital art?
It truly began back in 2014 when I discovered mobile apps that could let me edit images. Honestly, at the very beginning, I was just fooling around and creating lame artworks for my band. After a while, I started growing an interest for editing and at the same time, I saw that there was a whole community of mobile artists on Instagram. Seeing so much talent out there really motivated me to work on my skills and improve myself. I instantly found myself a new passion. Adding Photoshop and then Cinema 4D to my workflow really helped me to express myself with more freedom and craft my own signature.
You’re also in an indie rock band, Alpha and the Van, and a photographer. Do your various artistic outlets inspire one another?
I wouldn’t say that my projects directly inspire one another but I can certainly confirm that they often embrace each other. As an example, I had the chance to create our first EP’s artwork and it was a great experience combining my two passions to create one big work of art in the end. Also, I think that my creative workflow for my digital art is relatively similar to the one I have for my music writing. I often like to evoke deeper emotions or feelings, and most importantly, a special atmosphere in both my music and my art.
Shameless plug: My band’s first EP ‘’Life in a Bubble’’ is out everywhere if anyone is interested in listening to our stuff!
You seem to go through phases focusing on a specific texture, or color palette, or type of imagery. What inspires those series?
I’m always learning and sometimes, my best work sees the light of day because of accidents while I’m testing or tweaking parameters in Photoshop and/or Cinema 4D. This leads to results I would never have imagined in the first place. When that happens, I use this as a starting point and work on what I want to say in my image. If it’s not conceptual, I always like to illustrate a specific feeling through the use of 3D generated human models. I believe they can convey effectively what I want to share with the viewer.
I often do three-part series revolving around a particular texture, graphic element, composition or atmosphere because once I find something interesting to work on, I want to explore as much as I can without repeating myself too much. As an example, my ‘’weary’’ series is partly a result of a lighting accident in Cinema 4D. It also became a breakthrough into a completely different visual style for me too.
What’s next for you? Are there any new mediums you want to explore?
Once I complete my Bachelor degree in graphic design, I’d love to work full-time on this project and be a freelancer. Hopefully, in the meantime, I can save some time to learn more about 3D and grow my skill set. I started doing more motion-driven work recently and this is something that I really enjoy doing. I think that I’ll definitely try to experiment and explore more in that field during the following months.
I am also working on the release of my band’s debut full-length album. We really want to push that project as far as we can so I totally see myself being a musician and a digital artist simultaneously! We’ll see, only the future knows.
You’re pretty selective about the social media that you use...why do you stick to just a few outlets?
All year long, I have a packed schedule. Consequently, I don’t spend enough time working on getting my work out there on every social platform. My work can be found on Facebook, Behance, and Twitter though. Lately, I get much more feedback from Instagram and Ello’s community so I tend to engage more with these platforms! In fact, Instagram is where my work gets the most attention, but I was honestly really surprised by the community on Ello. As soon as I started sharing my work, I received great feedback and my work got shared by many pages on there, which was and still is really motivating! I’m here to stay, that’s for sure.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever made (or would like to make someday)?
I think that embarking on a world tour with my band one day might be one of the craziest ideas I can have right now. It is without a doubt one of my biggest dreams to accomplish!
Do you have a favorite piece? Could be a song or a photo or a video...your choice.
This is a really tough question, I literally went through my entire feed to see which piece of mine was my favorite. What makes it so hard for me to only pick one out of the hundreds of artworks that I’ve made is that I feel like my work constantly changes and evolves. Thus, I always have a new favorite image every now and then. Since I couldn’t make up my mind on one piece, I decided to talk about three instead.
The first one is actually a series called ‘’Full Stop’’. This series was born when I was going through a huge creative block in September 2016. During that time, I felt like I was struggling to find new ideas and I was afraid to just sit down and create something. At one point, I just said to myself: ‘’Why don’t I just represent how I feel at this very moment through my visuals?’’. It might sound weird, but my work was rarely based on my emotions and it was the first time a piece was all about what was going on inside my head.
The same night, I created this image:
It felt like a relief and I was really proud of the result. I sort of felt a connection with what I’ve made and it was satisfying. I, therefore, decided to go on and created two other images to build a conceptual series about creative block. The experience changed the way I created my work afterward.
What is also interesting is that it happened to be the premise of my actual style (human figures, simple shapes, use of pink and blue tones). Here are the last two images from the ‘’Full Stop’’ series:
The second one is the ‘’weary’’ series, which is far more recent than the previous one. As I mentioned above, the first piece from that series was the result of a lighting accident in Cinema 4D and it led to a new style for me. The three images were a result of late night experiments while I had a full-time job going on. I was so tired because of everything that was going on at the same time and I wanted to represent it through the abstract shapes that were weighing on the character’s heads. It also turned out to be my most popular series yet!
To conclude, my favorite piece ''right now’’ is "who I am." In a similar style as the ‘’weary’’ series, it is what I could call an auto portrait. Summer of 2017 was special, I had a full-time job, I was spending a lot of time on my band and I wanted to invest myself more on Aeforia. After work, I'd literally spend all the time I had on my computer, working on my art. It brought me amazing opportunities but wow, it was rough! I’d get the minimum amount of sleep I could handle in order to stay awake during the day. I kept this beat for months straight and I am still doing it as I’m writing this. Therefore, this piece shows that behind all the imagery stands a tired but deeply passionate guy, driven by his love for Art.
What’s something about you that would surprise our readers?
I never had any visual art background before I started this journey. I had absolutely no interest in digital imagery nor photography and I was actually more oriented towards Science. I even started a bachelor degree in electrical engineering before changing for graphic design in 2016.
Be sure to check out @aeforia's curated round-up, "Inspired by Dusk."