Experience the City of Love Transformed through Triangles

Artist and illustrator Mat Szulik fell in love with Paris six years ago when he visited – and it quickly became his new obsession. He described Paris as enchanting, moody, inspiring, and full of glamour. It was out of this fascination for the city of love, he created a new project series called World in Facets: PARIS.


With the project in the works for two years, Mat delighted his network of followers on Behance and Instagram. Mat’s goal was to capture a fresh feeling of Paris’s atmosphere using a design technique that makes shapes out of multiple triangles. His vibrant colours and realistic dimensions create the perception of another world – it is Paris through his eyes.

In these illustrations, expect to see different moods and emotions captured through fashion, weather and colours, as Mat explains more behind his inspiration for the project.

THE PLUS: You mentioned how Paris is an “enchanting, moody, glamour and inspiring” place. How do you go about capturing those adjectives in an illustration?
Mat Szulik:
Yes it is! And these adjectives are actually supported by every element in the image. All the works feature a woman, who is the main hero of the series. This adds some glamour thanks to her pose, the way she walks, looks, by the clothes she wears and how they behave on the wind. Also the colour grade, the atmosphere, lighting (I tried to use the most interesting weather conditions like mornings, golden hour and rainy evenings – they say Paris is the most beautiful in the rain), beautiful French architecture – all these elements together create that moody and enchanting feeling of Paris.


TP: Many of your art pieces have wealthy or luxurious items/fashion pieces, why is that?
Well there were few reasons for that. I tried to make these scenes feel more grounded, like actual photos taken on the street or advertising images. Like photos you can find on Instagram. It was important for me to incorporate some iconic Parisian brands and symbols that are tightly connected to its life and also define what “Paris” means for me. Also, when I need to show a bag it’s better to be a great looking bag!

TP: How did you get the inspiration to make the fashion we see in your illustrations?
Well that wasn’t hard! I started getting into fashion recently and was observing what the biggest Parisian brands are up to. But also observed what the Parisian street style looks like – again Instagram was just perfect for that.


TP: Your illustrations are very detailed! Can you tell us about your process?
Yeah, after a while I think some are too detailed. This is the disadvantage of working on something for such a long time. The process depends on the object mostly. Some models were created in low poly already, some objects were created as high-poly models first, then automatically processed to look like low-poly and then refined by hand. And some, like clothes for example, had to be “sewed” first, simulated on the body, turned into facets and then refined. So the amount of work was very diverse.


TP: Some illustrations include vivid and lively colours while others are darker. How does using colour come into play when trying to set a mood?
I tried to capture few different times of day. My favourite one is the golden hour, which creates a romantic atmosphere. Warm colors, low sun angle, long shadows – these are some elements creating that feeling. Rainy scenes feature mainly cold colors, but I tried to warm the image up by vivid, warm reflections in all the wet surfaces.

TP: Have you been back to Paris since your last mentioned visit six years ago?
No, and I miss it a lot! I visited few other beautiful European capitals since then, but Paris has something that’s hard to describe. Something that gives an artist the power to create. A place that is full of inspiration.


TP: You mentioned this is just the start of your new World in Facets project! Can you tell us more about what these will look like? Or what we can expect to see from you in the future?
Yes! So, there will be definitely new places illustrated. You can expect more fashion, more architecture. I plan to make every image to feature a woman, like she is travelling the world and showing us all the beautiful places (you can already see this in the Paris series). I am definitely going to try to simplify things and improve that art style even more. One of my goals is to use as simple forms as possible. Abu Dhabi is already in the making. I’ve got also about 20 unfinished Paris illustrations, so there will be a second part of the Paris series. But, it’s not going to be only illustrations. I’m planning also to focus on design and fashion – but it’s too early to talk about this in detail.


TP: What is the most challenging part of creating these illustrations?
Well, time is! This whole project was done in my free time, so it was very hard sometimes and lots of working at night. Second difficult thing was getting “that feel” for the first time. But after I completed the first image and said “yes, this is what I was looking for” everything started to be much, much easier. A technical challenge was not to use any textures. Every surface is “flat” and defined only by color, roughness, specular and tessellation.

TP: When you’re not illustrating, what do you do with your free time?
I am a father of three – I think this answers that question! So, I spend that time with my family, especially travelling.