The image of its city namesake, Los ángeles is a multifaceted book teaming with angels and gods. It’s where Sylvain Despretz has lived for the past twenty years, behind the scenes and next to the mightiest of the mighty. A renowned artist who works in the shadows, he has helped pen the visions of Ridley Scott, David Fincher, Andrei Konchalovsky, Mike Newell, Tim Burton and Stanley Kubrick, to name a few. Storyboards, concept art, paintings and illustration – his palette of talents has been deployed to bring emblematic (The Fifth Element, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Eyes Wide Shut) and other lesser-known works to fruition.
This book is neither catalogue nor instruction manual – it is both, and yet so much more. Throughout the pages the author reveals his calling – that of an artist and craftsman putting his talent to work on the dream machine that is Hollywood. Peppered with anecdotes, observations and musings on the past two decades, this book is a unique must-have for all those who are interested in cinema, illustration and art in general.
Sylvain Despretz is an independent writer-director who has worked extensively in the USA and in Europe in the fields of storyboarding and illustration. His mentor in the early part of his career was none other than the late Jean “Mœbius” Giraud, the world-renowned artist.
Sylvain took his first steps as an art director in New York at the advertising agency BBDO where, over a number of years, he worked on TV spots for clients like Pepsi, Gillette and General Electric. When he moved to Hollywood, he created storyboards for director David Fincher for Madonna’s Like a Prayer music video, and worked alongside pop star Michael Jackson on video concepts for his Dangerous album. Throughout the 1990s Sylvain also worked for director Ridley Scott and, over two decades, contributed to the development of numerous feature film projects and TV spots.
Sylvain Despretz, Mœbius and Ridley Scott
For two decades his name has been associated with several successful, high-profile films, notably Black Hawk Down,The Planet of the Apes,Harry Potter,Valerian, The Fountainor Alien Resurrection.
“This book is wonderful, it’s as much an essay about cinema (what it was, what it is, what it’s becoming), his cinema (the one he loves), the specifics and duties of a storyboarder, as it is about the special experience of a (talented) French artist in Hollywood, with his dreams, his training, his mentors (including Moebius, as you can see below), his ambition, his ethic, his frustrations too… but it is also a beautiful scenery of an entire “body of work” like the English say. No matter what Sylvain will tell you, it is truly an admirable work which could make ANYONE jealous.
Sylvain is not only a great artist whose art goes way beyond the storyboards, even if that’s what people tend to associate him with, but his writing is also one of the most interesting and alive and sharp that I had the pleasure to read on cinema and the creative process in a long time.” Don’t miss this book’s release!”
“Podcasting Them Softly” is giving us a rich and fascinating interview of Sylvain DESPRETZ about his book à propos de son livre Los ángeles (spoiler alert, he’s talking about us!). It’s beautiful, it’s in English, it’s over here.