Who are three contemporaries that you admire?
Ariel Costa aka BlinkMyBrain has always put out amazing work, really unique, they’ve definitely cornered that style of work. I’ve also always loved the work of Nol Honig, their work is so rich and beautifully put together. Tom Kan makes incredible work, his graphic style is unmistakable.
Please share 3-4 pieces of work that exemplify great animation direction.
The Endless Scare titles by Nol Honig; this piece has always been a favourite of mine, the subtle nuances in the textures and the gentle animation work brilliantly together.
Watching that piece of work go from the seed of a concept of to a full grown piece is such a great process.
The video for Aphex Twin’s Blackbox Life Recorder 21f by Weirdcore is stunning, hypnotic, ethereal and very emotive, it’s a beautiful piece of work. I first saw Tom Kan’s work in the cinema and it was beautifully harrowing and disturbing.
Above: The Ernie Ball Slinky Story by Ariel Costa.
What do you like most about the work that you do?
Being trusted to run with an idea is a real thrill. Watching that piece of work go from the seed of a concept of to a full grown piece is such a great process. Putting something you love and that you’re happy with into the world is a great feeling.
What was your journey to becoming an Animation Director?
It started as a teen in the late nineties music videos and wondering how they were made. The rest is history really.
Above: The Endless Scare titles by Nol Honig.
You have a very multifaceted career as Motion Designer, Animation Director, Art Director and Graphic Designer! How does each skill connect with the other?
For me, they’re all linked. I’ve never pursued one of these things exclusively. They feed into each other I think with design being the driving force. It all boils down to making something look nice!
Above: Enter the Void Title Credit Sequence by Tom Kan.
What is the most valuable skill you’ve learned in your career?
Don’t get too attached - invariably your first ideas are just stepping stones to the final thing.
What is one thing all Animation Directors need?
A workspace that inspires them.
Above: Kevill-Davies' workspace.
Who was the greatest Animation Director of all time?
Probably HayHayao Miyazaki. His films are phenomenal.
Watch everything, read everything, listen to everything, experience as much as you can.
Did you have a mentor? Who was it?
I’ve never had a mentor as such but I’ve worked with some incredible people along the way.
Above: Still from Spirited Away directed by HayHayao Miyazaki.
What advice would you give to an Animation Director trying to develop their own style and voice?
Watch everything, read everything, listen to everything, experience as much as you can. Your response to and interpretation of these experiences will give you a unique pool from which to draw ideas from.
What’s changing in the industry that all Animation Directors need to keep up with?
For me it's the breadth of tools. There are so many exciting ways to animate, create and design now.