Interview by Gino Delmas
If you live in Paris, you have undoubtedly seen some of Tyrsa’s works. On the Barbershop restaurant walls or menus, in advertising, or on T-shirts. The Parisian illustrator developed his own style through many different projects for clients like Carhartt, Bleu De Paname, Uniqlo, Moët & Chandon, and Nike that are bound by this unconditional love for graffiti and typography. Tyrsa started by writing graffiti 14 years ago, and in art school began experimenting with drawing letters the old-fashioned, pre-computer way. His signature style is a distinctive cross between graffiti and typography. “Typography is everywhere. I live in such a rich city like Paris, so I can be inspired by signs on an old boutique, on the metro, on brasseries on architecture too.” he explains.
Alexis Taieb aka TYRSA @tyrsamisu
Currently working on
San Francisco Marathon identity with Nike
cant live without my .... ?: Pencil (the one on my necklace but also my real one)
Favorite fashion labels Carhartt, Uniqlo, Band of Outsiders, Acne, Margiela…
Barbershop Paris --for the Fishburger and the place.
68 avenue de la République , 75010 Paris
Can you present your work ?
My name is Alexis Taieb, aka Tyrsa. I'm a graphic designer, illustrator, and I specialize in typography. I’m working in Paris for a lot of different clients from fashion, music, advertising… on visual identity, illustration, art direction or even graffiti. I’ve worked for clients like Carhartt, Bleu De Paname, Uniqlo, Moët & Chandon, Nike and many others.
How did you become an illustrator?
I started graffiti 14 years ago, and I guess everything started here for me. I first learned drawing letters by myself when I was doing graffiti, but it was quite unreadable for people who don’t make graffiti. I spent 4 years in art school after my Baccalauréat, and I started to be interested in old typographer and I learnt to draw letters like they used to do before we had computers.
How do you define your signature style?
Today, I try to mix my two backgrounds -- the dynamic I had in graffiti, and the rigor I learned thanks to these old typographers. So I guess my signature could be this mix between typography and graffiti, but it’s always hard to define one’s own style.
What are your inspirations ?
I’m inspired by everything I can see around me, because typography is everywhere. I live in such a rich city like Paris, so I can be inspired by signs on an old boutique, on the metro, on brasseries, and on architecture too. I also love American culture, so I’m also inspired by old US logos, in sports or stores. I also love tattoo aesthetics, and everything that is made with typography.
What is a favorite project you’ve worked on?
My favorite piece of work is not the most complicated work I’ve ever done. It’s the visual Ici C’est Paname I made for the Parisian brand Bleu de Paname. It represents a lot to me. Paname is the familiar way to say Paris. So this sentence is a real slogan for the love of our city.
I’ve been influenced by old typography, like the ones you can see in old French restaurants or brasseries. It’s an interesting contrast between the modernity of the slogan and the retro style.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve just finished an ad campaign with Nike. The one for the launch of the French soccer jersey. I’m really proud of this one, first because it’s a great client, and then because for a French guy like me, working for the French jersey is a big honor. I’m also very proud because I was able to do typography with spray cans on this campaign. A lot of agencies or clients use graffiti on advertising but most of the time it looks so cliché. And I’m really proud to be able to show that we can use it on a campaign, keeping it authentic.