The 22 Magazine: You are originally from Sao Paulo correct? Tell me a little about how you ended up in New York?
Guilhermes Marcondes: I came to NY by way of L.A. A few years ago in São Paulo, I met the owner of a company called Motion Theory who ended up inviting me to work with them. I left after a year and signed with Hornet as an independent director. I moved to NY a year later.
22: I’m wondering if there’s anything in Brazil that might inspire you as a motion or film? In NY or London for that matter?
GM: Brazil doesn’t have a long tradition in animation, motion design etc. It also doesn’t have an established industry for those things. The few artists that jump into that medium are sort of lone rangers with no past. It’s a very romantic thing and it’s made for a handful of wild and talented people. Unfortunately, in the longer term, it is hard to absorb this kind of work within the Brazilian market, both in the fine arts and commercial circles. A lot of people leave for NY or London. Things are definitely changing and I write these lines from Brazil because I’m here for a couple of weeks to work on a few different projects that I’m trying to get going here.
22: Golden Showers was a really fun film and makes me wonder if you have a history playing with video games or if that just happened to be the band’s choice?
GM: The band is actually my friend’s (and co-worker at the time). We both grew up playing Atari, just like every other kids growing up in the 80’s. One day I showed up at work with a DIY, super geeky, t-shirt with a large image of the main character of “Pitfall.” It’s that one with the dude jumping over an alligator. This friend saw my shirt and asked, “Wanna do a music video together?
22: I saw that you got a degree in architecture as well. Tell me about the decision?
GM: I never really wanted to be an architect but I also didn’t know what else I would be. I just wanted it to do something related to drawing. I applied for a specific school that is well-known for having a broad approach to Architecture teaching, including several art, design and sociology classes. In fact, most students in that school end up not working in architecture and turn out to be artists or designers. I thought it was a good crowd to be mixed into and maybe, who knows, I would even find out I wanted to be an architect. Of course, that never happened, but I got two important things from that school: one was the fascination with the built environment around us and the second was a bunch of very talented friends who helped me find my way into animation and film.
22: You’ve worked at a lot of great places. Tell me how you ended up being represented by Hornet and what you find really works for you as a creator through them.
GM: Hornet acts mostly as my commercial agent. I like the flexibility of working that way as opposed to the traditional animation studio where you are a regular employee. That leaves more room for me to manage my time between commercial projects and self-initiated ones.
22: If you look at the set up for some of these 2-3 minutes films, they are shockingly elaborate and it’s great to get a peek at how much work goes into the pieces. What are some of the most fun projects you’ve worked on and why? Likewise what was one of the most difficult projects technically to create?
GM: The personal projects are more fun for the simple fact they don’t have clients. The most fun so far was Tyger because it was such a wild ride to come up with that strange film and motivate people to be a part of it. It was a very personal film. Technically, the promo for BBC2 was the hardest to accomplish because the double-mirror prop I came up with didn’t work exactly the way I wanted. The final result doesn’t show how much work was behind it and the huge mirror box looked so much better in person than through the camera. I still like that spot, but you should have seen that box live…
22: One of the other obvious elements I see in a lot of the work you (and others) do is a real love for collage and layering, particularly the Coffin Joe piece was gorgeous. Do you feel collage also plays a role in a lot of your work or is it just a means to an end? Were there any artists or illustrators that inspire you in that sense?
GM: It started as a means to an end and ended up as a style I identify with. I always liked the idea of mixing different realities in one single image, but “collage” in the sense of juxtaposed cut-outs is only one way of achieving that. It happens that I started my career as an After Effects guy and that software is very much a digital collage studio where you can overlay all sorts of images. That practice definitely influenced my later taste.
22: I absolutely love Tyger, not only for its interpretation of Blake but for the elements of puppetry you use. It was great to see the active puppeteers in the film, instead of digitally altering them out. Tell me a little bit about your use of puppetry and stop motion in film. I see also it’s used in the commissioned Hornet piece, Bunraku and the sense of creating movement and structures with simple body motion is also great in The Decemberists piece. Is puppetry and physical movement as opposed to digitally created movement something you are interested in and why the aesthetic choices to show the puppeteers or to use puppetry in the when you could have created animations?
GM: You are right. There is something about the body movement that can’t be replicated in animation. Another important thing for me is how uncanny the human body looks in the context of an animated, highly stylized world. That feeling of slight unease, almost a psychedelic thing, is something I love to work with. In the case of Tyger there was also a symbolic level of interpretation of the poem. The most curious line for me is “Did he who made the Lamb make thee?” which leaves open for interpretation who the creator of the monumental force of that mythical beast that represents pure power was. Was it God? Was it man? The dark silhouettes controlling the puppet seemed like a fitting image.
22: The Master’s Voice was a film that immediately made my eyes bug out a little. Tell me a little about the conception of this project and where it is going? When can we expect to see the movie finished and any plans to screen or release it anywhere?
GM: That project is still evolving. I’m currently looking for financers to help me produce a longer piece. I wrote a 10 minute script that may be shot in NY, maybe in São Paulo. I am obviously inspired by ruined locations, be it a run down subway in NY or a graffiti covered abandoned mansion in downtown São Paulo. I want to create these mythical beings that represent the invisible forces that haunt those places, those cities.