Bak 17 Is Online!
'Face', 17th issue of Bak Magazine, is now online! Sit back, relax and enjoy!


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Interviews in Bak | 17
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Tom Kan
Graphic Designer { }
Tom Kan

What does your workspace look like?

I'm working at home. I'm living in the suburb of Paris, France. I used to rent a very big office in Paris with Seb Janiak a friend of mine who is also a talented photographer. Please check his website : Now I prefer to work at home as a good "workaholic". You can test or "work" anytime. I have a garden. It's a pleasure to work with the door opened and listening to my daughter who is playing outside. I'm working on Mac. a Big customized G5, a Epson printer and a Macbook pro for the meetings. I have the chance to rent a big space for working. I paint, shoot, and have fun in the middle of my living room. I have a lot of books: photography, graphic design, modern art, vehicles... Books gives me "creative rush". Sometimes, I let some books on a furniture, opened on a image, just to keep it in my mind. My living room also look like a garage. I have motorcycles inside! Some pictures of bikes are shots in my living room.

The most suitable word for your impressive artwork is "exciting". Perfectly designed cars, famous soccer players, beautiful women, nightlife and more! Maybe the most exciting and sexiest things in our lives. Do you enjoy your works like we do? Which photoshoot, graphic design work or film excited you most in your career up to now?

The selection is exciting but like everyone else I also did some horrible jobs. Now, I really choose my jobs because it's really important to be involved in a personal creative process. You can't work on something you don't like (Now, I'm sure about that!). You need to find a personal interest to do the job. You will have pressure on your job, sometimes the timing is bad, you need to still enjoy the subject.

I'm excited to shoot a film with a big crew, I'm also excited when I'm doing a picture alone in a city that I don't know, with my camera in a plastic bag. I'm addicted to "click".
I used to be a graffiti artist in the early 90's... So, walking at night in a subway tunnel is still a good memory. I like the adrenaline during the shoot of a film or a picture because the instant is really important. You only have this opportunity to make a great image. You will never have the same situation again. The preparation & the production must be done properly but trying to make an image on the set is really exciting. To me the most interesting thing is to share the energy with the people who are working with you. You communicate your idea, your vision and together we try to go in the same direction. I enjoy to meet people, sometimes you discover really good persons.

I have the chance to travel and shoot some interesting people or things but sometimes the "behind the scene" is less glamour, sometimes it's painful. There is a big difference between the "raw" shoot and the final image. All the images are prepared and directed to communicate excitement. I'm happy if you feel the excitment.

From Cadillac to Lamborghini, Corvette to Aston Martin, you took very beautiful shots of great cars. We know that it's more fun to work on an issue that we are really interested in. Do you like driving?

I like cars because of their design. I like the different shapes of vehicles. I'm still a child... I respect the work of designers, design is really interesting. A functional sculpture. Motorcycles, two wheels, a motor, a frame, 4 wheels for a car... The rules are always the same but the results are totally different. A good exercise. They also communicate by the design. A huge 4X4 must have a solid shape and look undestructible, a sport car must look fast... It's also a complex communication.

As a graphic designer, I'm interested by lines and textures, as a photographer I like to play with lights on the shape of a car. The 3 dimensional object needs to be perfect because you can observe it from every angles. One of these days, I hope to be involved in this process.

I'm fond of vehicles, it's exciting to drive. I have bikes since I'm fourteen years old. I use to have motorcycles. I had some good crashes but I'm still driving... On my website I shot my two last bikes, a Buell & a Triumph. I also have an old Honda Dax from 1973... And of course, I have a car...

You are working for big clients like Bmw, Coca Cola, Smirnoff, Peugeot, Lacoste and more... If Tom Kan becomes a corporate identity, which brand will its character look like?

If I become a brand?... You need to catch everything from my website to have an idea! I only kept the works I like. My website is a good representation. I'm versatile. I like a lot of things. It's really difficult to choose only one.

Your glamour style gives us the rich feeling of Hollywood movies in some cases. And we know that you are working on a feature film nowadays. Can you please give us some clues about that work? And as a viewer, which one do you prefer, Hollywood movies or European cinema?

Thank you for your comment. I'm working on feature film directed by a french director: Mathieu Kassovitz.

By contract, it's confidential, I'm sorry. I'm in charge of the opening title and some visuals material. You will see something in few months...

As a viewer I don't have a preference for a country... A good film is a good story. From the US, Europe or Asia, South America or South Africa there are a lot of good stories. A good director is a good story-teller. A bad film is a boring story. It's not a question of budget.

What do you think about digital imaging technologies? While working with both photography and videos, do you prefer using negatives or digital equipment?

I'm using the right tool for what I need. I'm using both worlds. Old 8mm, 16, super 35mm or HD, DV I'm OK with it. If you don't have enough money to shoot in 35mm with a whole crew, take a video camera! You can make great thing with simple tools and you can make a big awful thing with the last technologic camera.

Technology only makes things more comfortable. It gives you more tools to express something. It can make things possible. It's up to you to use it. The tool must match with what you want to do. I used to shoot with a 6x7 film photo camera to have a big negative. One day I needed to shoot with the same quality but 5 to 8 frames by second. it was impossible with a classic camera. So I use a digital High-definition camera with a high speed card. Now I'm using a digital camera because you can work really fast, you don't need to wait for your films in a lab at night... I still make picture with a professional polaroid and an old stock of pola films, the result is amazing...

What kind of music do you prefer listening while working? Does it change your soul or affect your creativity?

Music is a great thing. I'm always working with music. Sometimes loud, sometimes really low to let me think. Music gives me emotions. It's like perfume, it's attached to a memory. I'm listening different kind of music. It depends on the mood. When it comes disturbing I stop for few minutes. I like "urban" music, i have some djs among my friends. I used to work for music label & companies. Making a music video is still a big pleasure because it's a mix of two major senses.

Famous Turkish fashion designer Cemil Ipekci says "Fashion is fascism". What do you think about this statement?

I probably understand what he wanted to say but this statement itself is fashion! It looks like a streetwear brand statement! Well done.

He probably wants to speak about thousands of people who are wearing clothes because they need to embrace a concept. What's new? Thousands years ago, it was the same. People needs to create tribes, to believe in their image or in a projection. Now Fashion is a new religion with few big brands. Models became priests. People needs to dream to "feel good". It's a basic need. It's a well-being problem. The marketing understood that and make big money by selling pieces of dream. If you have a conscious image of yourself, you wear what is close to your feeling. You need to find out who you are. It's important to know why you act like this. The terrible thing is to waste too much money in a marketing built product. I still don't understand why people can spend the money they don't have. It's the problem. Fashion is not the only "fascism".

Nowadays, people are talking about unfair wars, terrorist attacks, global warming and numerous bad things like that. Some scientists say that end of our world has only 15 years to come. How do you evaluate the future of the world?

I hope we will have more time. We must have a better attitude and think about our responsabilities for the future (ecological & politic commitments). We don't need to be cheated by one guy overseas. I'm fascinated by the paranoid system, by the medias, by all these manipulations. We must keep eyes and mind wide open. We are treated like sheeps, feed with problems, blind by TV. It's important to disconnect and travel. It gives you a different point of view.

Theme of our current issue is "Dream". What does this word mean to you? Does Tom Kan have dreams for the future?

I like to make dreams. I'm talking about real dreams. The dream is the cheapest travel. The dream is strange and powerful. Sometimes I found solutions during my sleep. Interesting. Yes, I have wishes for the future. I believe in a better world, I wish a good future to all your readers, I hope they will enjoy their career as I'm enjoying mine. I want to keep working on exciting projects and meet some interesting people.

"A good director is a good story-teller. A bad film is a boring story. It's not a question of budget."

- Tom Kan / Bak 07
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