He’s friendly, he’s French, he draws comics, he loves Bulgarian wine (some people remember it very well…), and he chose Bulgaria for the first spot in his tour of Europe. He firstly hallucinated when I told him I wanted to do an article about him. Many things that made us want to know more about Maxime. We asked him a tone of questions. See his answers about him but also Bulgaria.
Who are you Maxime ? (tell us everything..)
M: I was born in the mid-eighties, and I grew up in a little countryside town in France, near Nantes. I wanted to be a lot of things when I was a kid. I didn’t become any of these things, but I was really into drawing, and so I kind of managed to do something close…
Were you part of a band in France ? Can you tell us more ? (yes, we confess, we scrutinized your Facebook profile..)
M: I had a band, in which I was the lead singer and a guitarist, back in France. It was called Astoria Dogs and it was a pretty cool experience for me. Unfortunately, as all the good things must end (must they, really ?… oh shit), we split last year. For the music itself, you should check us on the internet, if you like. But stop stalking people on Facebook, that’s creepy (smile)!
So, now you draw, right ?
M: Like I said, I’ve always been into drawing. Like every kid I guess, but let’s say I’ve never really stopped. When I had to choose a path in school, I decided to go towards something like that. I’ve studied graphic design, which has almost nothing to do with proper drawing… but I’ve since managed to work on many illustrations project, so I now consider that my job is illustrator. Way better than graphic design, according to me.
So, do you still work during your trip ?
M: I do. I just can’t travel without any income. And plus, I have to be socially balanced when I travel, and it’s a thing I can’t seem do if I don’t work.
We know you have also a blog. What do you share on it ?
M: I need to work, and I kinda like my job sometimes, but honestly, I’m not really moved by it. The thing I love to do, is drawing comics, or more personal things. Things that I actually decide to draw. So that’s what I do on my blog (brugnon.wordpress.com). I draw about what I do and what I see while travelling.
How did you start it, in Bulgaria ?
M: Last year, I went to visit a friend in China, with an other friend. We spent one whole month there, travelling across the country. I had decided to write and draw everything that I could, so I filled many little drawing books with travel memories. It was really interesting, so when I returned to France, I continued to do it. Writing and drawing everything I could, every day. Kind of a personal diary. When I came to Bulgaria, I decided to take some of the things I write down every day and put it on a blog. I didn’t find a lot of travel blogs in a comic form, so why not, it’s not like everybody was doing it.
“Writing and drawing everything I could, every day. Kind of a personal diary.”
What does inspire you in Bulgaria ?
M: Actually, everything ! When you live in a foreign country, many things are so different that you can talk about almost anything ! (it also compensates a certain lack of creativity : nothing to imagine, everything to relate). I particularly like to tell about the “bad” things that happen to me. I usually find it more entertaining.
Would you have expected, at the end of your journey, to release a comic with the illustrations on your trip ? Can you tell us more ?
M: Why not, it could be nice to have a printed book with what I’d have written ! But maybe not a classic comic book. Something like a mix between a travel diary and a comic. Well, actually, what I do on the blog.
Apparently, people will have the chance to see your drawings displayed in Sofia before you go ?
M: Absolutely ! I’m having a little exhibition, to show some drawings and talk about them. It’ll be the 19th of october, from 7:30pm in Soho. Come say hi !
Yes, and in Madame Bulgaria we are so excited to co-host the event and are in a hurry to be there (hihihi!). So, we know that you don’t travel alone, you travel with a certain Clemence ? (Clemence just joined us) Why/when did you decide to do an European tour ?
C: I grew up in Germany with my parents and we were moving a lot. I just can’t stay still. I’ve been working freelance for 4 years and I felt it was the right time. I wish to focus on Europe because it’s vast and vibrant. I don’t feel the need to go further for now. (except on vacations !!)
M: It was Clemence who had the idea of moving in the first place. Her plan was to continue working as she does in France, but while travelling around in Europe. I found the idea very interesting, and although I always wanted to live in foreign countries, I also always been kinda scared of doing it. So she gave me the proper motivation to go, and she’s someone with who I can share all my thoughts about the trip on the same level. It’s very precious, I think.
Why did you start your Tour of Europe in Bulgaria ?
C: Simply because one of my best friends lives here. I met her 10 years ago in Germany and since ten, we do whatever it takes to see each other at least once a year. It seemed logic to start the trip by going to Bulgaria, and to take some time to get to know better her culture, her county and her language (I’m hopeful !!).
M: It’s a good thing to start with a place where you know someone, in case you need someone. Plus, for me, it was the first time in Bulgaria, and as the country was totally unknown to me, I found it even more interesting to go there.
What do you think about Bulgaria ? What are the places that you visited here ? Have you preferred a location ?
C: It’s not my first visit in Bulgaria. I like a lot the people’s relaxed attitude. They usually are very friendly and with just little effort to talk and understand their language, they are even lovelier ! I didn’t see the whole country yet, but we visited Sozopol, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Veliko Tarnovo, and many little towns. Up to now, my favorite location is Sofia, but I also loved Veliko Tarnovo. I also went to the southern coast of the Black Sea, and more recently, I went to the Rhodopes, the Pirin et the Rila with my mother, who loved the beauty of the landscapes and the kindness of the inhabitants.
M: Bulgaria is a great place. People are, for most of them, very nice and very easy going. Sofia is such a nice city to live in : it’s not that big, really green and “open”. So many things to see here !
“Life is so… peaceful here. People rarely seem in a hurry, you can eat good food (and drink good wine !) without ruining yourself, the parks are opened 24/7 for you to chill in whenever you want… That is very enjoyable.”
What is your best memory here ?
M: One of the best ones is when we went to Emen’s falls with Clemence and two german guys we were driving to Sofia. That was quite cool. I’ll tell it on my blog later… stay in touch to read the full story !
What have impressed you the most ?
M: I guess that would be the Buzludja. This thing is so huge, absurd and situated in such a weird location ! I really loved it.
Why could you want to stay in Bulgaria ?
C: I feel good in Sofia, it’s a human-sized capital , with many parks. In less than a hour drive, we can go to the mountains and really breathe. I like to go from the posh neighborhood of Oborishte, to a Ska concert in Borisova Gradina to then get to one of the “savagely-built” districts near the Paradise Mall !
M: Life is so… peaceful here. People rarely seem in a hurry, you can eat good food (and drink good wine !) without ruining yourself, the parks are opened 24/7 for you to chill in whenever you want… That is very enjoyable.
What other European cities did you plan to visit ?
M: Our next stop is Budapest, at the end of the month. After that, I don’t know, it’s wide open. I’d like to see Poland, Germany, Scandinavia.
C: I’m currently spending a week in Athens. (No, these are not vacations, I’m actually working !!) After Budapest, I’d like to go to Germany and stay there until Christmas. Next year, I don’t know yet, who knows what I’ll want…
Thank you very much Clemence & Maxime !
EVENT – Book your date : The Exhibition of Maxime’s drawings will take place the 19th October, 2016, in Soho, 4 Iskar Street, Sofia 1000 (near Serdika metro station) from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. The event will be announced in more detail very soon on the Facebook page of Madame Bulgaria. We are waiting for you !