Interview with Mink Couteaux



Mink spent his first years mostly eating paint in his father’s studio, then doodling his way through school, drawing NBA players and team logos copied from his trading card collection. After internships with ATTAK Powergestaltung and Nike Europe he graduated and moved straight to Largetosti. Working on projects for clients in the the likes of Nike, W+K, Bits of Freedom, N8 Edits and more! 4 years later in 2013 he started the Merged visible studio.

Mink's work has featured on numerous websites like Behance, Complex, Digital Art Served, idn, Illustration served, a sporting life, whudat and more....



Hi Mink, today MoW selected 5 of your artworks inspired by music from your « Next Gen Rappers » project. Can you tell MoW why you decide to create about these rappers ? What was the music that inspired the artworks ?

 I was in my teens during the golden years of hiphop ( 92 till 98) and I always thought there would never be better hip hop made then in those years. 2000 till 2008 certainly prooved me right with all those lame Dr Dre projects, Like Eminem and 50 cent. The only bright spot being Kanye West. But nowadays there is a whole generation of rappers who used the computer from a young age to make high quality tracks.

"Next Gen Rappers" is my tribute to these incredibly innovative and original rappers. These guys certainly made me love Next-gen Hip Hop.

Why is music important to you and your art?

For me music is important because it can set a particular mood. It can even influence my pace of work while I listen to a high bpm song.

If you had to choose between the artworks presented today, which of your artwork would be your favorite ? And why ?

Because I made them I have a totally different view on them. But if I have to choose one I would choose the Asap rocky one. I really love the effect the scarve gives and I like the shape the total illustration has. But it uselessly takes a while before I  can take a clean look at the total image. I only see details and how I made the illustration.

Can you tell MoW more about the techniques you used. How old is your technique? How did it start? How long does it take you to make an artwork ?

 I use photoshop and a wacom cintiq (It's a tablet with a screen in it). My technique is about 2 years old, I actually graduated as a graphic designer, but was always heavily image focused.

I have always drawn a lot, but totally lost it while I was doing Graphic Design. I decided to purchase a wacom cintiq to draw more and now I am a full time illustrator.

The time it takes to make an illustration depends, the more realistic the illustration the longer it takes. It usually takes around 3 to 8 hours.

Do you listen to music when you’re working ? If so, what kind of music ?

I sometimes listen to music, but most of the time I listen to podcast's. I like to let my mind get distracted while working and podcasts are the best way to do that.

A bad song can really make me annoyed and every album has a bad song or 2. So eventually I  am spending more time selecting songs then working and it really messes with my productivity.

But when I am in the right mood I can listen to music all day long.

What is the song you liked the most lately? What album ? What was the last gig you went to ?

I am really into the atmospheric hip hop the producer Clams Casino created and any artist inspired by Clams Casino. The tracks I listen to the most right now are :

Yung Sherman - "All I'm Gon' Get" 

Haydn - "Say my name" 

For albums it's probably Clams Casino instrumental albums and some of the "Next Gen Rappers" mixtape / albums from Action Bronson and Mac Miller.

I haven't been to a gig in a long time. I can't even remember my last gig. Damn I have to go to a gig soon.

Are you a musician yourself ? If so can you tell MoW more about your music projects ?

I certainly wont categorize myself as a musician. But i love to make music with my 11 year younger brother, Together we form the KNIVEZ BROZ COMMANDOZ.

We just started putting some stuff online. Once every 2 months I  stay over for a night, and we usually made one song. But last time we ramped it up and we made a small EP in a night. It's called The Solarium park EP, I am usually in charge of the sounds and samples and my brother is in charge of the drums and the effects. we have a lot of fun and like to experiment a lot.

Check it out here :