After almost a year I can feel the word ‘recent’ slowly removing itself from ‘Yes, I am a recent graduate’. The sentence I say maybe a little too often.
The thought of the working world seemed extremely exciting, but it also helped to create a knot in my stomach. It’s that moment that society seems to take oh so seriously. What will become of you? Will you succeed?
As a fresh graduate it seemed like a prime opportunity to find out what other graduates, from years before, were doing and what they’d made of their life after university. One chap whom I began to speak to was, Gary Roberts, surprisingly through Twitter (got to love it for connecting right?). Gary graduated from Winchester School of Art a few years ago, having studied within Illustration and Graphic Design but his career path has certainly taken a change in his working world…
Nicola Manuel: Having studied Illustration and Graphic Design at university, your work now shows a new element of creativity through the means of film. What was the point that really made you venture into the world of moving image away from the still?
Gary Roberts: I’ve always dabbled with animation in a very primitive format of stop-motion animation, and looped animations whilst at college and uni. The first real venture into film was a music video for good friends Felix Fables. They needed a music video doing and asked me if I was up for doing it. The process was a steep learning curve, but an enjoyable experience and it just seemed like a natural progression to move into that realm. At the time Illustration had been getting stale for me, and to visualise what I see in my head in a 3D format / real world setting, has been a great experience over the past year or so.
NM: Miaoux miaoux – Better for now is a really beautiful song, with a rather stunning video produced and directed by yourself. How do you go about the idea part of a project when you are approached with the initial plan?
GR: Firstly, thank you! There has to be trust when trying to represent anybody visually, and I’ve been very lucky that the artists I have worked with already know my work. And they have been very keen for me to just run wild with the idea. The usual process to find the idea is to listen to the song on repeat. Then write loads, draw small bits of imagery – anything that gets me to what I feel is the core of the song. Then it’s on to writing the treatment.
NM: What has been your favourite commercial project to date and do you have a dream goal to get to for a commission in the future?
GR: My favourite, was probably the ‘Warrior’ video for The Adamski Kid. There was something very chaotic about what we were trying to do, especially for the budget, and seeing yellow and blue people casually walk around as well as seeing Adam (the artist) walking around with a gold head was a lot of fun.
A dream goal, well, to be represented would be lovely, then I’d love to work with Bjork or Tom Waits.
NM: You’ve worked with some really amazing clients, such as Dazed & Confused, Coca Cola and King’s College. How did you come about working with such big names and which work have you really found challenging?
GR: Part luck and part great friendship. Every music video has been a challenge of sorts, and I will work all hours to make sure I get my vision made even with the most shoestring of budgets.
Collaboration and the ability to talk and critique about your own and other’s work around you.
NM: From working on commission, do you still find time to create personal work?
GR: At the moment it’s a big struggle, I have lots on, but I’ve just worked on a friend’s short film called “Bad Day At The Office” which was great fun and will be doing the rounds this summer. I’m always working on little things, I have a mini-sci-fi-epic music video in the pipeline, so the next couple of months are booked up with fun outlets of that nature. I might find the time in the summer to relax somewhere and produce some personal bits and bats.
NM: What is the one aspect of university that you have taken with you into your designing career?
GR: Collaboration and the ability to talk and critique about your own and other’s work around you.
NM: What do you want your work to say about you?
GR: That I try to stay true to my vision and I never want to lose the curiosity and passion for what I do.
NM: If you weren’t designing and creating, what practician of work would you currently be working in?
GR: Tough one, I don’t think I’ve thought outside of this bubble I’m in for a while, job wise. It would have to be something with my hands, as I’m sure I’d still get itchy fingers (a term coined for when not having that creative outlet scratched.), so something in woodcarving or carpentry? Does that count? If not, I always wanted to be Indiana Jones as a kid.
NM: What has been your greatest achievement to date?
GR: Personally, I think it’s just sticking with it. It’s not always easy and you have to keep your head down and focus on where you want to get too.
Quick round questions…
Moving or still image? Moving image
London or Winchester? London
Illustration or design? Design
Biscuits or cake? Biscuits
Your favourite word? Idiosyncrasy
The move from London to Winchester clearly did benefit Gary, but this could waylay itself to any place within the world. You create the around you but bear in mind that everyday your career goal will alter itself, ever so slightly. What is most important is that you do what you feel is important to you.
“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” Henry Ford