Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The Pictoplasma Report...

We sent our Senior Producer Melissa Venet to Berlin to explore Pictoplasma and report back...

PPWhat is Pictoplasma for those who don't know?
MV: Pictoplasma is all about Character design and innovation. They hold conferences in New York and Berlin. It's where some of the best character designers and animators get together to show their work and talk about their creative process. Picasso has had our directors and artists involved over the years, showcasing their designs and presenting their work. They also hold character exhibitions, taking over galleries allowing us to get up close and personal with the work and it's an opportunity to present their Academy graduates. It's always good to be on the look out for new and upcoming talent!

PP: So what does a day at the conference involve?
MV: I find a nice cafe with wifi for breakfast to see what talks were on that day and go through the programme and plan my 'character walk' around that; visiting the galleries and exhibitions along the way. It was a full day of animation and design which was great. The theme of this year's conference was 'Character Upload' so there was a real focus on VR and digital technology in animation which I find really interesting.

PP: What did you take away from the conference?
MV: I found it to be really beneficial learning more about different creative processes and I think that it would be really informative to young directors and designers who are looking to expand on their creative process. Inspiration seemed like a huge focus for all of the talks, where people have come from, the journeys they have made, their personal backgrounds and their random thoughts. What I took from this was that you have to run with yourself sometimes and see where it takes you. We all have to pay the bills of course but try to use your own time to create your own things. You can make amazing creative discoveries which would interest and inspire others and that's the goal... 

PP: Can the inspiration from Pictoplasma be applied to our day to day work in Commercials?
MV: Interestingly in the conference talks by directors, they were all pushing themselves from both a style and technological approach which helped to enhance their work. One director said that he found commercials really difficult at the beginning of his career because of the constraints brought to him through selling a product, but then decided to approach it as a method to try new things stylistically and question his creative process...once he'd accepted that, he was happier creating for a client and found a new alternative voice for commissioned work. This was really interesting for me as I know how frustrating it is for some directors who have to find a balance between their creative vision in a commercial world. This particular director felt that he has evolved as an artist by having outsiders question him and in doing so questioned himself, which took him down lots of different paths creatively.
We are so often tied to computers and the majority of our production work is computer based but take yourself away from that, get your hands dirty now and then and different creative juices will get flowing.We usually get around a week to put a treatment together but if you have a bank of ideas and creations that you have found whilst playing around you can already be one step ahead.

PP: What was the highlight of the festival for you?
MV: Catching up with our Directors is always fun, especially out of production time when the pressure is off. Also seeing all the great exhibitions, it was amazing to see Anna's personal project 'Goats of Quiet Disappointment'. Her work was really thought provoking and experimental and so different in style from the commercials that we produce with her. I was so proud that she'd create this artistic space for us to visit and share.

Also, going secret bar drinking with Jens in Friedrichshain and having a proper catch up was great - yes, we inevitably starting talking about crew and software, but there were lots of laughs in between!

All in all I came back feeling inspired - I think it's great for producers to immerse themselves in creative circles. We are surrounded by so much artistic talent every day it's important not to get lost in spreadsheets and crew coordination and remind ourselves why we chose a path in animation production; to be part of something pushing boundaries and presenting craft through innovation. Just because we're selling something doesn't mean it can't be with style and creativity.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Introducing...Caroline Attia

Picasso Pictures is delighted to announce the signing of an incredibly talent designer, illustrator and animation director Caroline Attia. Fresh from the centre of Paris where she lives and works, we met up for un tasse de thé and caught up with all things Caroline...

PP: Hi Caroline, we are really happy to have you join our roster, so where are you based currently?
CA: Thanks! I am based in Paris but I travel to London a lot.

PP: You have such a distinctive style, how did that come about?
CA: I started drawing heavily at the age of 6. I knew then this was my thing and it’s always been very hard to imagine myself doing anything else than that for a living. When I was 12,  I saw an ad in a magazine for Disney, they were hiring animators for their brand new studio in Montreuil (where I live now!). That’s how I first discovered people were actually making a living creating and animating characters, from that moment I knew I wanted to get into animation and I kept going in that direction with my studies.

PP: Is there one specific project that you feel best sums up your style?
CA:  I guess my 'Monsieur Martin' trailer. Firstly because 'Monsieur Martin' is my first book as both a writer and an illustrator, and secondly because I had a lot of fun doing it, it does really represent my style at the moment.

PP: And what were you influences that kept you going from a young age?
CA: I have many influences, it's really hard to narrow it down. I guess Franquin when I was younger was my favorite comic artist and Claire Wendling as well. Of course, my work does not relate to them anymore, but I still think what they do is amazing. I am very fond of Michael Dudock de Witt films, and his feature 'The Red Turtle' did not disappoint me. I also love Saul Bass and it surely has been a great influence in helping me simplify things! In kidlit, I should say, Jon Klassen, Olivier Jeffers, Marc Boutavant, Sasek, among others are people I look up to!

PP: What inspires you?
CA: love walking and taking photos of houses, streets that I think I could use later as an inspiration for one of my projects. 

My husband is a painter, I go to a lot of galleries and look at paintings, photography as well as contemporary drawing and etching. 

Travelling is also a great source of inspiration. Oh yes and a great new source of inspiration for me is baby stuff!  I was asked to design some baby clothes and accessories and really enjoyed that.

PP: Finally, can you tell us something about yourself that people would never know?
CA: Well, I used to do pole dancing and was really into it for a few years. It’s a really great workout, it’s very demanding and it has an element of risk to it so it really helps with self confidence. I had to stop when I got pregnant, and haven’t gotten back yet. For now I am doing Yoga and it’s very soothing.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Introducing... Fauna

At Picasso Pictures we are passionate about nurturing new talent in our division The Pod. So we are delighted to introduce Fauna aka Andrew Brewer, a motion graphics artist and animator who specialises in beautiful minimalist imagery and contrasting textures.

PP: Hi Andrew, welcome to The Pod! So where did the name Fauna come from?
F: I actually chose Fauna as my title to design and direct as a sort of homage to the natural world and all these cool and weird creatures around us, of which we are included - a fact we would do well to remember sometimes! I also really like the juxtaposition of it's organic associations in contrast to the digital work I create.

PP:Where did you grow up? 
F: I grew up in Nottingham which has a great homegrown artist and music scene. I spent my formative years dressed as a punk, shambling around with my sketchbook there. After a foundation degree in Fine Art I left for Teesside Univerity where I studied computer animation and ended up winning an Animex award with a fellow student for a motion graphics effort about the region's industrial history.

PP: Where are you based now?
F: After moving to London (via Manchester and Brighton) and freelancing for a number of years, the few downsides of living in a shipping container with Whiskey the ferret (RIP) were becoming more apparent and I returned to Nottingham where I felt I would better be able to focus on my personal work, save up for a bigger computer and improve technically without the worry about the electricity going.

PPHow did you get into Animation? When did you know it was for you?
F: Actually, I thought I'd be a journalist or a maverick archeologist, but with as many folk of my generation my life changes entirely as a young teen with the release of a game called Final Fantasy VII. Around that time I was also discovering Anime and these vibrant new imports had me captivated. Also when I realised I could avoid sports by lurking in the Art Block, the prospect of a 'life in the arts' seemed quite appealing. So I guess it all started with drawing robots, Manga girls and skipping P.E.

PP: Who /What has been the biggest influence in your career?
F: I love movements like Suprematism, Constructivism and Bauhaus. Then there's early twentieth century experiemental film makers like Oscar Fishinger and computer art pioneer John Whitney who still blows minds. I'm super into generative stuff and especially that kind of stripped back look - geometric shapes and simple colour palette and so on. 

In particular the work of Designer Republic was a big inspiration for me. They were involved in an early series of Playstation games called Wipeout which put this super slick minimalist graphic design and early 2000's British electronic music together, creating an incredible cutting edge effect. That game single handedly shaped what my future self now considers 'cool'. They were also behind a lot of the iconic album artwork for Warp Records, which for me was a really exciting time in the UK for Design.

PP: Is there one specific project you have made that you feel is a bit of a favourite, and if so, why?

F: I think it would have to be my most recent project 'Vulpes, Meles & Lepus Timid' (Fox, Badger, Rabbit).  It was an experiment in breaking down the animal's features into basic geometry and I think I could have got away with even more abstraction but I also wanted them to look really tactile and real-worldly which I think comes across, as I was actually asked if they could be exhibited, but had to explain they were all CGI, which was a massive compliment.

PP: Where do you see the future of Fauna heading?
F: I am really excited about the future! Although there is always so much to learn I feel like I know my tools now, I'm getting to a good place where I can be really creative with them. Right now I have been enjoying a bit of an energy burst with my work, geeking out reading design books again and getting back to drawing and developing new ideas, if I can keep it on a roll then it should be a good year and a lot of fun.

PP: Lastly, tell us a secret about yourself that nobody knows.
F: OK, well I still maintain a crush on Maid Marion from Disney's Robin Hood.

To see more of Fauna's work click here