David Knight - 9th Dec 2014

Director and graphic artist Nicolas Ménard's debut music video is for up-and-coming electronic artist Tourist's Illuminate - featuring Olly Alexander of Years & Years on vocals - which presents a story of confusion with a very distinctive and hypnotic graphic sensibility. 

It's a starkly black and white 2D animation which the viewer experiences from the point of view of the main character, moving through different environments, we watch our protagonist open letter after letter, written in a language he cannot understand, to symbolise the chaotic communicative issues that follow a break-up.  

Inspired by Japanese graphic artists such as Yuichi Yokoyama and retro games X and 3D World Runner, this was drawn frame by frame, with Nicolas including edgy graphic characters that represent the artists, alternating the environments - parks, underwater scenes, art galleries - to the tempo, and gradually adding colour to heighten the power of the chorus.

Tourist works with creative director Jake Robinson, who says: "We reset Tourist’s ‘look’ in his previous single Wait by moving to simple black and white design and cinematography. With Illuminate we wanted to be bold, expressive and introduce colour into that world. We felt that Illuminate’s vibrant feel naturally lent itself to animation. I’ve been keen to work with Nicolas for a while. His work, whilst being visually striking, manages to covey a fragile human quality." 

Polydor have released a series of GIFs on Tumblr showcasing Nicolas’ beautiful hand drawn illustrations. 


"It’s been a real blast to direct Tourist’s 'Illuminate' music video. Not only because it’s such a playful, awesome sounding track, but also because Will was keen to jump straight into the weird abstract universe I’d suggested. It’s also been really fun to play with the idea of translating a poem into Korean; a little metaphor for miscommunication in a relationship. I’m looking forward to seeing whether people dig out those cryptic messages..! Everything was animated frame by frame in Photoshop, with some slight compositing in After Effects, and the editing in Premiere"

Watch 'Tourist ft Years & Years 'Illuminate' by Nicolas Ménard' here


DirectorNicolas Ménard
Production CompanyNexus Productions
Executive ProducerLuke Youngman
ProducerBeccy McCray
Production CoordinatorNatalie Henry
EditorNicolas Ménard
AnimatorNicolas Ménard
AnimatorAnne-Louise Erambert
AnimatorJames Hatley
AnimatorIsaac Holland
CommissionerEmily Tedrake
CommissionerJake Robinson
Other creditsWith thanks to: Lara Lee, for translation

David Knight - 9th Dec 2014

Related Content


Youth Lagoon 'Raspberry Cane' by Stephen McNally

In an incredibly vivid world seemingly terrorised by curious monsters, Stephen McNally somehow manages to leave so much to the imagination. Even at over 6:30, you want more. Rarely does such …

Luke Tierney - 30th Aug 2013


Surkin 'Oedo 606' by Sanghon Kim

This outstanding video for DJ/producer Surkin's Oedo 606 is a free-associating riff on a classic short film, by another exciting animation talent out of France, Sanghon …

David Knight - 24th Oct 2013


Quelle Chris 'Super Fuck' by Ewen Farr

Ever wonder what kind of music video Michel Gondry would have made if he were a 13 year old kid in Detroit, hanging out in his bedroom in the projects after school on a scorching hot summer …

Davis Silis - 16th Oct 2013

Latest News