Meet Karl Dupéré-Richer, the Artist Behind the Unique Bédélys Award Trophies


Meet Karl Dupéré-Richer, the Artist Behind the Unique Bédélys Award Trophies

This year marks the 25th annual Bédélys Awards, marking a quarter century of celebrating and recognizing comics in Quebec. Created in 1999 by the Promo 9e art organization, the Bédélys awards have been managed by the Montreal Comic Arts Festival since 2019.

For the 15th year in a row, the Bédélys Award’s one-of-a-kind trophies have been designed and created by Montreal artist Karl Dupéré-Richer.

Karl Dupéré-Richer is a singular artist with his own way of exploring forms. His art, which ranges from illustration to sculptural compositions, is rich in texture and color. His unusual, decomposed and recycled creatures explore the fantastic reaches of the imagination, plunging viewers into reinterpreted worlds.

Following his university studies in graphic design at UQAM, Karl has since his mark on the Montreal scene as a sculptor, illustrator, cartoonist and video game designer. Among his many other projects, he has created 75 unique, hand-crafted trophies for the Bédélys Awards since 2009.

MCAF: What’s your connection with comics?

Karl: When I was at Collège Ahuntsic, I took part in comics workshops led by none other than comics creator Réal Godbout.
During my university studies, I produced three self-published comic books, a science-fiction story entitled
Phax & Walton. Later, I contributed to the two now-defunct fanzines Mensuhell and Le Bob, in which I published numerous Bowling & Putter comic strips  and other collaborations. I liked working with collective zines, as it allowed me to concentrate solely on the creative aspect, without having to deal with the distribution and circulation aspects.
Later, put everything I’d done in comics on the Internet, so that it would be available to anyone who might be interested.

MCAF: How did you start creating the trophies for the Bédélys awards?

Karl: The first year I designed the trophies for the Bédélys Awards, the Promo 9e Art team approached me to decorate boxes that were to contain chocolate medals for the 11th Bédélys awards. As my sketches progressed, I suggested not simply decorating the boxes, but making sculptures out of them. At first, the team wasn’t totally convinced by the idea. After submitting a few sketches, they were persuaded and the tradition got started!
(MCAF note: from 1999 to 2018, the Bédélys Awards were managed and presented by Promo 9e Art, before being taken over by MCAF in 2019). 

MCAF: How do you approach the creation of trophies for the Bédélys Awards?

Karl: When I create the trophies, I first look at what’s in my inventory of objects gleaned here and there, and then make a few preparatory sketches based on the established constraints. Once I’ve come up with a concept, I proceed to assemble it, with all the many manufacturing steps that entails.

MCAF: What are some of your recent favorite comics?

Karl: I’ve always had a deep admiration for the work of Fred (Frédéric Othon Théodore Aristidès), for his eclectic, surrealist and absurdist style. More recently, I’ve particularly enjoyed Boum’s work on her series Boumeries. Having worked in strip format, I know just how much more complex it is than it seems. It looks easy and yet it’s just the opposite.