Written by James Read
Photos and illustrations by Matthieu Bessudo
21 Sunday 21st August 2011

Matthieu Bessudo, known to most of us as McBess, has been having quite a busy summer. This French illustrator isn't content with just penning ridiculously detailed and interesting black and white 2D pieces: he's now got a band under his belt too. Giving his 3D animation another chance to blossom, he's been making the videos for the band as well as designing their awesome and pretty extensive merch. We caught up with Matthieu in the lead-up to his private view at Leonard Street's Book Club to talk music-making, knives for kids and how the London riots compare to those in his native Paris.

Hey Matthieu, it's been a couple of years since we last spoke - what's been going on since then? How has your work developed?

Well it's been two busy years, I have kept on doing black and white drawings and white drawings. I've had the chance to travel a bit more for exhibitions and other projects. We've also put together the band that I kept drawing about, the Dead Pirates, which is a very new and exiting project .

You're working a poster for us, which we're really excited about. Any clues as to what it's gonna be?

I can tell it's going to be black and white for a change and that it's probably going to have some girl wearing some summer clothing.

Your current show at The Book Club is entitled The Folding Knife after a childhood keepsake. Should kids really be playing with knives? What were your parents thinking?

Well I was living in the countryside, you needed a knife as soon as you hit about 5, to defend yourself from wolves and hill-billies. It was also useful to make those tiny boats to put in the river, to watch them sink and then cry! I think some parents are too protective of the kids and some aren't enough, but that's my opinion .

The Dead Pirates - WOOD

Your music's coming on too - last time we spoke you'd recorded some cool weird solo tracks, but now you're with The Dead Pirates, who you've been making awesome artwork for. Tell us about the band. Seems like they're getting a pretty good deal, what with you making awesome merch, posters and music videos for the band too!

Aha yeah, the merch is quite disproportionate compared to how famous the band is! It's just an endless source of inspiration: my brother and 3 of my best mates play in the band, and we started nearly 2 years ago . We're about to go back in studio to record our new tracks then we'll see where it takes us.

McBess, checking out his own printed book, Big Mother

Did you always have Meat tattooed on your left knuckles, or is that a new thing? What's it about? And your axe?

It's quite new, it's about my love for steaks, simple as that, I didn't want to have "Love" or "Hate" so I went for Meat. The axe was done in Berlin for the Dudes Factory show, they found this old firefighter axe and I drew all over it, lots of fun.

How do you think London riots compare to Parisian ones?

It looks like there's a lot more looting, but there weren't that many stores to loot in Paris so... I don't know, I wasn't in Paris at the time and I don't watch the news so can't really comment.


You can check out McBess' "Folding Knife" show at the Book Club on Leonard Street. It's running until the 18th of September. Keep an eye on the packs in the next few weeks for more from him...

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