How did you get involved with the Ikea ad? We received a pitch from Mother that roughly described the story and characters. They came to us because they were hoping to achieve a NeverEnding Story vibe. I developed the story and the look for about a week, then sent that back to them. It was up their alley and I was hired.
How collaborative was the process? We were given a lot of freedom to craft the world, characters and story. We did go through several rounds of approval with Mother and Ikea, but they were looking for something original from me. They were adamant that the story be told clearly and in an appealing way.
How did you make the ad? It started with a lot of writing and storyboarding. Design of the characters and world came next. Then we set about building the costumes and sets. We shot the costumed actors on green screen and combined that footage with painted backgrounds on the computer. Altogether, this took about three months.
How did you become part of Encyclopedia Pictura? Isaiah Saxon and Sean Hellfritsch had been making beautiful and unusual films for a couple of years. After seeing my photo artwork online, Isaiah invited me to join Encyclopedia Pictura. We’ve worked under that umbrella for about eight years.
You’ve worked on music videos for Björk and Metronomy. What was that like? The musicians basically left it up to us to do what we wanted to do. All the music videos had a very hands-on approach, very limited means and tiny budgets, as is the case with most music videos.
What are you working on now? A short film called The Tale Of Hillbelly is being released early this year. It’s about a young man seeking enlightenment in the wilderness through extreme forms of yoga. It’s a live-action cartoon, with lots of prosthetics and puppetry. I’m interested in moving towards longer narrative work – such as a stop-motion biopic about André the Giant.
What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of your work? Before a film project is made, there is a lot of anxiety that comes from wondering whether the project will actually happen. But then you get to put something in the world that didn’t exist before. Being able to recreate what used to be in the imagination is a magical feeling.