Forgetting, for a moment, about clients and strictly making work for yourself was the theme of PopUpF5 at the PromaxBDA Conference 2018 in New York on Tuesday. At he inaugural mini-conference within the conference, designers, creators and consultants came together to talk about their passion projects as well as their approaches to work and to the world.
“Don’t wait for someone to hire you to make work,” said Gmunk, also known as Bradley G. Munkowitz, opening the morning session.
Part of that is the willingness to take risks and try something new.
“Failure is a part of it. You learn the most from failure,” he said, riffing off of the famous Winston Churchill quote that says “success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”
“My career has been a series of lucky, very fortunate events,” GMunk told the crowd before showing some reels he created while working with San Francisco-based robotics firm Bot & Dolly, which fuses 3D animation with industrial automation and has worked on such films as Gravity.
The below film, “The Box,” is a technical demonstration of Bot & Dolly’s ability to execute motion design in the real world. All of the video effects took place in real time and were captured in camera.
Gmunk also showed off this video created for the Day for Night Festival in Houston in which he and VT Pro Creative Director Michael Fullman played with light in new and technological ways
The video was created in a darkened chamber called the Telestron where robotic and light-projection technology were deployed. The result was an experience of turning day into night and back again.
Berlin-based Extraweg is all about shaking viewers up by creating uncomfortable sensations that take people out of their comfort zones.
Oliver Latta and Bruno Leon believe society has become visually distracted by consuming images at an unsustainable rate, so instead the creative duo create disturbing human animations, often inspired by pop culture, that play with emotion.
For instance, the #MeToo movement inspired this video where the female represents all women, and men are portrayed as balloons.
Another video showcases the power of one person to act as a magnet that influences others, and aims to encourage people to think for themselves.
The result of Extraweg’s work, Latta and Leon said, is to provoke, confuse and connect people.
An SVP Global Group Creative Director at Edelman, NY, Rodrigo Moran is the leader of the Pirate Team—a collective group of creatives, NGOs and partners from all over the world who make make great ideas that solve social injustices happen.
Moran’s curiosity and determination to seek inspiration outside his comfort zone have earned him a place among the world’s top-ten creative directors.
One such campaign was The Refuge Nation, which united the refugee team competing at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games by giving them a flag to march behind and an anthem to be played in their honor.
The initiative led to partnerships that helped create jobs for refugees, and the flag is now part of a the permanent collection at the MoMa and Victoria & Albert Museum.
An art director and motion graphics designer at Elastic, Tzuo’s work on television and film includes X-Men Apocalypse, Star Trek Beyond, American Horror Story, Altered Carbon, and more.
“Our job is to create beautiful connections between the audience and the narrative,” she said.
Tzuo is particularly inspired by the research that goes into a project, such as the main title sequence for Discovery’s Manhunt: Unabomber.
She dug into archival footage about Ted Kaczynski, taking viewers through the timeline of events and the crime scenes as he mailed bombs to universities and airlines between 1978 and 1995, killing three people and injuring 23, before he was arrested in 1996 and sentenced to life in prison.
She explored his belongings when they were put on auction, and the credits in the main titles were typed on the same kind of typewriter that Kaczynski used to write letters that he sent with the bombs.
She was also intrigued by an exhibition featuring the house where he lived a secluded life, and Tzuo ended the sequence by enclosing him in there.
“It feels like he’s being trapped in his own plot, in way,” she said.
Originally from Haiti, Eugene is a freelance visual artist who started his career in 2012. He believes in always challenging himself by pushing the boundaries of what he’s capable of.
“Craftsmanship should be a core principle of an artist when it comes to their work,” he said. “The work you do today prepares you for the job you want tomorrow. Treat it as such.”
And Eugene practices what he preaches. He had one client assignment where he was asked to put human teeth on a shark in a very crude way. It’s a task that easily could have been accomplished in Photoshop, but instead he attempted character rigging for the first time.
In July 2017, he contributed to the prequel sequence in Black Panther, animating five interlocking hands that symbolized the five tribes of the fictional African nation Wakanda.
“If I would have coasted through that shark-teeth assignment, I would not have had the expertise for this shot,” he said.
Dvein is all about experimentation, as Teo Guillem and Carlos Pardo push the limits of live action and storytelling.
Their work ranges from food and objects, to animals, to people, their work runs the gamut from serene, to surreal, to strange.
For Dvein’s contribution to This is NOW, an exhibition in Oslo that showcased international talents in poster art and motion graphics, the duo created “Chorus,” a disturbing video where mouthlike characters produce weird noises meant to fuse with the buzz of visitors at the exhibit.
Dvein also worked collaboratively when designing the opening titles for F5’s conference in 2009 by asking all the speakers to give them the names of five objects that inspired them. From microscopes, to a lamb rib cage to a french bulldog, they combined the elements for a spot that spoke to the soul of the event.
They also explored “directing plants,” and although they’ve vowed to never again work with such unpredictable subjects—describing it as “the worst experience”—Dvien’s video for skincare company Shiseido harnesses the power of natural botanical ingredients by combining nature and technology to create art.