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Creative Review - Animators to Watch
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Production Company Of The Year - 2012
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Andrew Thomas Huang creates fantastical worlds that draw on his background as a fine artist to marry hyperreal, craft driven visuals with an unrestrained visceral energy. Andrew's aesthetic is an amalgamation of intricately constructed in-camera art direction and impeccably executed CG that results in a hybrid form uniquely his own. His breathtaking short Solipsist caused an online stir, earning a place in the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors Showcase as well as carving Andrew a spot on Creativity’s Top 25 Directors to Watch list.
Andrew continued his creative growth with a powerful promo for Bjork’s 'Mutual Core', which premiered at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) and was released online via MOCAtv. The piece is a staggering visual tour de force that channels raw natural power and eye melting visuals to bring the alternately reflective and explosive song to life.
Andrew's work has also been showcased at the Hammer Museum, MOCA Taipei, ZKM Media Museum, ASVOFF at the Centre Pompidou, and publications including Interview Magazine and Dazed & Confused.
Becky & Joe, dubbed animation 'super-duo' by It's Nice That, are Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling. They are directors on a mission to make the world more fun, armed with an adventurous hand-made approach to animation and an absurdist sense of dark humour.
The duo developed their idiosyncratic style as part of multidisciplinary wonder-collective THIS IS IT, and individually, Becky and Joe have lent their talents to a diverse list of clients including Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Channel 4, BBC and Selfridges, as well as directing sequences in the new feature-length Graham Chapman biopic 'A Liar's Autobiography'. Together, they aim to create work with an original new voice, bringing their colourful imaginations to life through experimental craft-focused techniques and tactile materials such as plasticine and felt.
Becky & Joe's fresh and playful style enjoys a cult following worldwide. Their immensely popular short film 'Don't Hug Me I'm Scared', which has screened at an impressive list of festivals worldwide including Sundance, Los Angeles Film Festival and SXSW, where it picked up the Midnight Shorts Best Film award in 2012. Offering a humorous and frankly disturbing view on the elusive secret of creativity, the film takes the conventions of children's television into new and nightmarish territory, starting out innocently and descending into mind-bending chaos.
Their video for Tame Impala's 'Feels Like We Only Go Backwards' extraordinary visual trip through a psychedelic microcosm, animated with over 1000 hand-made plasticine collages.
Carl Burgess is a director and designer based in London, known for his darkly humorous and hypnotising video work. His style is infused with his unique take on the everyday. A former art director at digital agency Hi-Res! he is a technical whizzkid, often performing editing and post-production duties himself.
Carl has created videos for clients as diverse as Slayer, Jon Hopkins and Nike, and amongst his most successful work was his hilariously subversive video for Ratatat’s song ‘Drugs’, which was nominated for Best Special Effects at the 2010 MVAs.
He has also shot a video in a supersonic windtunnel for Skream’s ‘Where You Should Be’ and built on the innovative take on Getty Images he created for Ratatat with his extraordinary video for Kap Bambino.
Carl is also signed to BlinkArt and Colonel Blimp, and his characteristically dark design work has been highly praised, appearing in Creative Review and Blueprint magazines. You can visit his website here:
David Wilson is a director who has created a visual style wholly of his own. Always staying true to his roots as a first class illustrator David always works with a keen sense of visual design. He first gained recognition in the video world for his masterful promo for Moray McLaren’s ‘We Got Time’, in which he achieved live in-camera animation via his use of a Victorian animation device called a praxinoscope. He’s since been responsible for some of the most enchanting and intriguing commercials and music videos around.
David has created acclaimed videos for artists such as We Have Band, Little Boots, The Maccabees and Japanese Popstars, which earned him Best New Director and Best Budget Video at the 2009 UK Music Video Awards. His video for Metronomy’s 'The Bay' was selected for In Book inclusion at the 2012 D&AD awards and was named Best Music Video at the 2012 Bornshorts Festival.
David has also completed a commission for Guinness with Saatchi & Saatchi, designing and curating a twelve foot, two ton sculpted wood plinth depicting the history of Guinness in the round. His IKEA 'Bright Shiny Colours' commercial won a silver award for Best UK TV series at the 2013 British Arrow Awards.
He regularly VJs with his home-made visuals at clubs, performing shows with 2ManyDjs and at festivals including Glastonbury and Latitude.
David is represented by Colonel Blimp for music videos and BlinkArt for illustration. You can visit his website, which he regularly updates with new examples of self-initiated artwork and personal projects, here:
Elliot Dear is a young and extravagantly talented director, illustrator and animator. The son of a carpenter and an animal nurse, Elliot's upbringing has led to a very unique approach to filmmaking: hands-on and human, while entirely unique and contemporary.
Elliot graduated from the UWE with a first in illustration, and his skills in that department mean that every piece he creates has his fingerprints on it from the outset.
His first forays into the world of commercial filmmaking culminated in the charming and innovative Music Matters series where he told the stories of the rise to fame of Jay Z, Kate Bush and John Martyn mastering a dazzling array of styles and techniques.
Elliot's approach to film making never rests at the easy option. His smash hit ‘Bubble’ by Jon Hopkins and King Creosote, saw Elliot himself building miniature sets and shooting, alone, for 5 days in a basement. The result is a mixed-media masterpiece.
Elliot has gone on to shoot a sci-fi tinted live action music video for Francois & the Atlas Mountains and a video for 'Third Swan' by King Creosote and Jon Hopkins, his unique take on a magical mini disaster movie.
Award winning director Gabe Askew has been touted as the most powerful man in the universe. Fortunately for us, he uses his powers to create an array of visually stunning films that tickle the senses and motivate the masses. To say Gabe has one particular style would underscore his abilities, and even hurt his feelings a little.
Gabe first hit the industry with an animated music video for Grizzly Bear’s Two Weeks. After its release, he took a well-deserved sabbatical in the Falkland Islands to rest and regenerate essential bodily functions.
When he returned, he found his email inbox full of head-expanding praise. Some people said that he had changed they way they thought about cardboard, whilst others said his use of coffee drinking rabbits put society’s morals on trial.
With the shock of such fame behind him, he took on many more projects, including an intricately designed PSA for the Columbia Water Center outlining the global water problem at hand.
Guilherme was born in São Paulo, Brazil, where he spent much of his time drawing in front of the TV. Somewhere along the line, all of this stimulation made him grow up a bit, and (by a miscalculation) he ended up in Architecture school. Trying to correct this error, he started working as an illustrator whilst still in college. A friend soon invited him to join his new animation company, Lobo, now a well-known and respected studio.
After a move to the US and a yearlong stint at Motion Theory, Guilherme signed on with Hornet. Since then, he’s directed various noteworthy pieces for brands like British Gas and Google. He’s also won the SXSW Audience Award for Excellence in Title Design for his Bunraku title sequence.
Currently, the mixed media director is developing a short film called The Master’s Voice.
BAFTA-nominated directors Jonny & Will have developed an impressive range of skills that span the whole film making process, from designing and building puppet characters and the worlds they inhabit to writing and performing original music for their films. Their unique take on storytelling has charmed audiences and won widespread acclaim, earning them a nomination at the BAFTA Children's Awards for their medieval-themed original series of comedic shorts for Cartoon Network, 'The Grumpy King'.
Encompassing a wide range of commercials, TV shows, music videos and feature films, Jonny & Will's work bears an inimitable yet versatile visual style. Their series of films for Radox, featuring songs written and performed by the pair in a range of spot-on musical genres, showcased their diverse talents and made a considerable impact online.
'Get It While You Can', their tongue-in-cheek live action film for Diesel and Vice in anticipation of the apocalypse was watched over a million times within a month of its debut. A lighthearted reminder to seize the moment, the film is a voyeuristic sketch featuring inanimate objects in compromising positions.
Jonny & Will honed their skills through collaborations with some of the industry's best respected directors including Dougal Wilson, Ben Wheatley, David Wilson, Corin Hardy and Peter Serafinowicz, bagging themselves a British Arrow Craft Award nomination for their model making work on Simon Willows' Cadbury Fingers ‘World Party'.
The prolific duo are constantly developing new ideas for TV shows, videos and books, and are currently working on another feature film project.
Joseph Mann is a charming filmmaker with a remarkable range of talents.
Joseph graduated from the Glasgow School Of Art in 2009, where he developed his meticulous skills as a model-maker and animator. His talent soon caught the eye of BlinkInk directors David Wilson and Simon Willows, and he has since worked with them on a number of projects, including directing mind-bending sequences for Skream’s ‘Listenin’ to the Records on My Wall’, intricate animation for the feature film ‘Africa United’ and animating psychedelic leg art for the ‘Freedom’ promo for Nokia. His first solo project for Blinkink was a charming animated short film 'This is T.I.E.' for The International Exchange.
Following the success of T.I.E, he was asked by Keaton Henson to create a video for the single 'Small Hands', which was Joseph's first foray into directing music videos. Working with Blinkink puppeteering duo Jonny & Will, he crafted a forest world and its inhabitants entirely by hand to tell a beautiful and heartbreaking story of love, loss and loneliness. 'Small Hands' was named Best Music Video at the 2012 Rushed Soho Shorts Festival.
Joseph’s mature yet simple designs require a perfectionist approach, and he consequently spends a lot of time making sure everything is just right. Appropriately enough, Joseph also extends the same perfectionism to his snappy sartorial style.
An animator of the extraordinary, Julia’s distinct sensitivity may well have been pried from the still beating heart of a magical rainbow or cleaved off the back of a mighty wooly mammoth. No one working today can drink even a fraction of the milkshakes she can and still have room left for root beer.
Equal parts English and American, Julia was raised in London and now resides in New York City after earning a Master of Animation at the Royal College of Art in London. Since graduating, Julia has worked for clients such as Bat for Lashes, Etsy, The Decemberists, J.Crew, Malibu, Skins and Toyota.
Julia's short films 'My First Crush', 'Howard' and 'Belly' have screened at too many international festivals to name, including Sundance, SXSW, San Francisco and AFI, where 'Belly' took home the Special Jury Award for Animation.
In 2012, Julia was named one of the '25 New Faces of Independent Film' by Filmmaker Magazine and one of Indiewire's '37 Indie Film Breakouts', as well as earning the right to add the title of 'ADC Young Gun' to her name.
Kristofer Strom is an amazing character designer and director with a hyperactive imagination.
His homemade video for minimalist Swedish techno duo Minilogue has clocked up over 5 million views on YouTube alone, garnered a smorgasbord of creative press coverage worldwide and won Best Budget Video at the UK Music Video Awards. Kristofer was even named ‘Face of YouTube’ in Sweden.
Since joining BlinkInk, Kristofer has firmly established himself as a prolific creative force in the world of commercials, his work constantly imbued with his unique sense of humour. Commercial success soon followed his first video, including a 360 degree re-branding of the UK’s largest mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse across TV, print, digital, and in-store, and commercials for brands spanning Sony Ericsson, Zonnatura, and Telco.
Music videos continue to provide a fertile environment for Kristofer’s imagination to wander, as seen in his second Minilogue collaboration “Animals”, the insane “Baltimore Clap” video for dubstep pioneer Benga and his immensely popular video for 16-Bit "Dinosaurs". His equally trippy video for Delta Heavy's "Hold Me" was shortlisted for the 2012 Rushes Soho Shorts Festival.
Kristofer has also created a singalong video for the amazing American kids TV phenomenon “Yo Gabba Gabba”. Alongside all this doodling and directing Kristofer has continued to perform and release music through his solo project Ljubilden & Piloten, produce a multitude of limited editions prints and posters and even sustain a long-running popular blog of his daily commute’s iphone drawings:
The Layzell Bros. are responsible for an outlandish series of idents on E4, which explored the topic of Christmas with mildly disturbing, chaotic and darkly humorous results. They have continued to produce work for E4, including title sequences and animated idents for the shows ‘Skins' and ‘Slacker's Club'.
Brothers Matt and Paul have also made a splash in the world of music videos and have developed a continuing collaboration with Mazes, including the much celebrated music video for ‘Most Days’, which tells the story of a group of skater kids getting rowdy in a bubblegum cartoon world. Their video for Adam Buxton's 'Livin in the Sunlight, Lovin in the Moonlight was named Best In Book at the 2013 Creative Review Annual Awards.
They have also collaborated with Adam Buxton for his series on Sky Atlantic HD, directing a psychedelic animated music video to accompany his cover of Tiny Tim's 'Livin In The Sunlight, Lovin In The Moonlight'. They are currently developing a show for Cartoon Network and working on a film for Fox's new late night animation slot, Friends Night.
The Layzell Bros. love to work across a wide range of platforms, incorporating illustration, animation, sculpture, t-shirt printing, publishing and live visuals. Their work is fresh, colourful and vital, making them a perfect fit for the multidisciplinary world of BlinkInk and BlinkArt.
Lernert Engleberts and Sander Plug are two highly talented Dutch gentlemen based in Amsterdam. They combine a keen sense of aesthetics and concept with a strong design background, all driven by their subtly dry sense of humour and enormously attractive self-confidence.
Having begun as individual art directors, the pair decided that it would be more fun working together and started collaborating on art projects. Since their first video 'Chocolate Bunny' they've been busy creating commercials, high-concept art films and installations, while living in a unique world that encapsulates contemporary art, film-making and simple but stunning art direction.
They’ve created eye-catching installations for the windows at Selfridges, where they transformed large household objects into ladies' shoes.
They have also produced remarkable editorial films for Fantastic Man and Nowness, the quirky music video ‘Elektrotechnique’, and their own personal projects, such as the ingenious documentary ‘How To Explain It To My Parents’.
Their film “Natural Beauty”, commissioned by Nowness, became an international phenomenon, racking up almost 1.5 million hits on YouTube and being blogged by luminaries as unexpected as Perez Hilton and Oprah Winfrey.
Whether working for clients or on their own video art, Lernert & Sander push simplicity to its most aesthetically powerful limits. Their work has been shown at international festivals in New York, Rio de Janeiro and Oberhausen.
For more information, visit their website:
Major Briggs are a directing duo comprising the collective talents of Daniel A Söllscher and Yulian Sanchez Ojanen, two handsome young Swedes based in the heart of Stockholm.
Since graduating at the dawn of the millennium with degrees in animation and music production, the duo have spent the best part of a decade building up formidable experience within the Scandanavian commercials and animation industries where they've finessed their skills across of a wide variety of film-making techniques including CGI, stop frame and live action.
Alongside producing commercials for clients such as Seat, Absolut and Hyundai, they've also done a load of a music videos, live visuals and record designs for various bands and records labels.
Daniel & Yulian share a passion for creative experimentation and an impeccable sense of design that makes them perfectly suited to Blinkink.
After healing the sprained ankle of a unicorn, Mikey Please was granted one wish. He wished to be the greatest animation director, EVER. Alas, unicorns aren't magicians. Though, it did tell him that if he worked really, really hard forever, then maybe one day he'd be kind of ok.
So he went off to do a Masters at London's Royal College of Art, funding it with commissions from a range of clients including Virgin, Rough Trade, Ninja Tune and Universal Records. There he made a short film called The Eagleman Stag, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, won a BAFTA Award and over twenty other awards from places such as AFI, SXSW and International Film Festivals in Seattle, LA and Chicago.
Mikey then continued his commercial work with a short film for Nike and a music video for the Brooklyn-based band TV On The Radio. In early 2012, he was awarded a 3-month fellowship in Tokyo by the Japanese Center for Cultural Affairs. During this time, he developed the script for a new short film, Marilyn Myller. He is also working on a feature film with Film Four and Warp Films.
He recently changed his middle name to Yes.
Noah Harris is an exceptionally skilled and versatile director, who has progressed from running his own design company to creating magnificent, eye-catching video and design work.
Noah made an immediate impact as a filmmaker by winning a D&AD Yellow Pencil in 2008 for his idents rebranding E4. He hasn’t looked back since, creating commercials for Ford, Talk Talk, Brother, Carphone Warehouse and a masterful stop-frame extravaganza for Google Chrome, which exhibit both his talent as a director and his expertise as a designer. He has also followed his lifelong passion for music (and raving) by directing music videos.
Aside from his directing work, Noah lectures in design at Chelsea School of Art, Nottingham and UCA Epsom and writes for Grafik magazine. His short films ‘Anomaly’ and ‘Quietus’ garnered international attention and have led him to speak at events around the world, notably at the Beijing Film Academy, the Bitfilm festival in Hamburg, the Nemo festival in Paris and OnedotZero in London.
You can visit his website here:
Peter Sluszka, winner of various awards and accolades, may be the most calm and patient director in the business. With strong roots in stop motion, it’s easy to understand why. It also helps that he's gleaned a thing or two from his time working alongside the legendary Michel Gondry.
Above all, Peter is a skilled mixed-media director, but he is also a clever designer and a fabrication whiz. It's not uncommon to find him fully immersed in a project getting his hands dirty with set design, fabrication, or even animation.
Having directed animation for original content, commercials, television series, feature films and music videos for Bjork and Regina Spektor, Peter's project bank is quite diverse. Likewise are his stop-motion feats. He’s manipulated everything from traditional foam latex puppets to meat, origami, snow, yarn and tons of clay. In fact, his Land Rover Claynation commercial required the precise moulding of five tons of clay by hand over the course of five meticulous weeks – patient indeed.
Ed Patterson & Will Studd are an award winning directing duo specializing in different forms of animation. Together they are Sumo Science, their aim is to create a fresh mix of styles using elements of stop-motion, puppetry, 2D and live-action.
One of their biggest successes to date is for Nokia with the films 'Dot' and ‘Gulp’. The spots went on to win over 15 major advertising awards as well as claiming Guinness World Records for the smallest stop-motion character in a film and largest animation set respectively.
They became huge successes online with nearly 5 million hits and resulted in Sumo Science winning the coveted Young Director Award in Cannes 2011.
Since then Sumo Science have gone on to direct campaigns that have been featured in Digital Arts, Campaign Magazine, Shots, Creative Review and Shoot magazine for clients including Innocent, Weetabix, Cadburys and P&O.
Yves Geleyn was brought into the world via the love of a German lady and a French man in Reading, England (of all forgotten places). After this unfortunate false start in life and the fact that burning wax crayons and making hand paintings was his most loathed activity, our dear little Yves landed in Paris, the capital of culture. There, this now award-winning director got his start in graphic design, setting the stage for his entrance into the motion arts.
Yves has since then gone on to direct numerous short films and short form content, many of which have earned numerous international awards and accolades. Each of Yves’ projects shows us his sensibility, his delicacy and poetry.
His references are numerous: Japan, nature, animals, paintings and especially birds (which are present in all of his productions).
Yves is used to saying he is not a director but a storyteller; story and characters are the most important things to him. With a love of mixing various styles, Yves has found that the technique is always only there to serve the story. Textures, colours, forms, patterns, illustration, CG, paper cutouts and traditional animation are all in his giant toolbox of techniques.
Here are a selection of films from Blinkink's partner company Hornet.
Based in New York, Hornet is an award-winning mixed media production company that supports agencies and brands through storytelling and design. Surrounded by both established and emerging filmmakers, Hornet creates exceptional work in collaboration with its passionate team of artists and producers. Hornet believes in designing an experience for its clients both through the art it creates and the process in which it's created.