Karim Charlebois-Zariffa

[Ed note: Print will be
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Type from (left) made from rattan and a wooden slipcase (right) in collaboration with craftsmen in Bali and inspired by Stefan Sagmeister’s Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far.
Title: Designer 
From: Montreal
Lives in: Montreal
Age: 26
Accomplished in multiple formats and technologies, Karim Charlebois-Zariffa has the spirit of a jazz improviser: By the time he becomes recognized for a particular signa- ture, he’s already ripping it up to start again. “My favorite thing is experimenting,” says the 26-year-old, Montreal-based designer, who has produced openers for Canadian television shows such as La Liste, and titles for film directors like Philippe Falardeau. “I like to say that I don’t have any style.” 
But there’s one sense that remains at the center of Zariffa’s work: touch. Weary of laboring over computer screens, the 2006 graduate of Universite du Quebec a Montreal leapt headlong into stop-motion animation, which requires hours of painstaking, hands-on effort. “I had so much fun,” he says. “With stop-motion, you can do ‘impossible’ stuff.” 
A 30-second spot for Montreal’s public transport system, for instance, uses multicolored paper cut into shapes that emulate transit maps in motion. The lines morph into plant-like stems that run into playschool cutouts of human figures. There, they become floral arteries and blossom into a V-shaped heart. “I shot it at 20 frames-per-second instead of 12, so it’s a lot smoother,” he says. “And I found a technique of elevating the paper so there’s a small shadow. It’s not 2-D. You feel more that it is tactile.” 
For a poster announcing a contest for Grafika, Zariffa designed an installation around a Native-American feather headdress and typeset the copy, “Qui Sera le Chef?” (“Who Will Be the Chief?”), entirely in beads. The idea evolved from his experiences as an intern and, later, employee of Stefan Sagmeister during a six-month stint in Bali. In addition to collaborating on his mentor’s documentary, The Happy Film, Zariffa got to know some of the local craftsmen and helped build a series of Sagmeister’s epigrams in carved wood and threaded bamboo. “The pieces are on the walls in my office,” he says. “I get a lot of inspiration from them.”
 
Installation for a Grafika design contest.

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