Exhibit . A is the brainchild of Luke Saunders, design director at Pixel (a Melbourne based animation and production studio). Aimed at connecting local motion folk by offering an excuse to create, Exhibit . A is at its core a curated online gallery space for designers and animators, where a select group respond to a theme with motion pieces no longer than 15 seconds. Meant to be pretty casual, fun and a bit left of centre, we can’t wait for it to amaze our eyeballs (coming soon in late Feb!).
Ozanimate: Hi Luke! Tell us a little bit about yourself, How did you get into Animation?
Luke Saunders: I’m a designer and animator who, after living in Melbourne for 9 years, still has never been to an AFL match. I studied Visual Communication back in Sydney (the fancy-pants name for graphic design), and I remember having a fondness for movie title sequences. Motion graphics seemed like a new thing at the time and I think I was drawn to being part of something innovative. Since then, I’ve re-ignited my childhood love for drawing, which has pushed me back into cel animation territory.
OZ: How did the idea of Exhibit . A come about?
LS: I truly believe that best work is created as a result of collaboration, and that letting others in to your creative zone so to speak will always produce better results than hoarding your ideas away in a dark corner. I was lying awake one night and came to the realisation that perhaps revealing my ideas, processes, mistakes and triumphs was something I needed to do more. Moreover, perhaps it was something I should encourage in others within the design and animation community. I guess I’d like to see Exhibit . A become a tangible means of communication between designers and animators, where they could not only share their best work but also feel unafraid to take risks and push their style. I’ve always been inspired by the great work that’s come out of collaborative projects (Daniel Savage’s Yule log and 9 squares spring to mind), and Exhibit . A, like them, seemed like a great way to offer local talents an excuse to create.
OZ: What are some of the challenges with getting something like Exhibit . A off the ground?
LS: It’s a little tricky to know where to begin with new projects. You might have a grand purpose behind your concept, but it’s only once it’s in the hands of the users/contributors/viewers that it finds it’s true meaning. At this stage it’s exciting for me to see what people, both designers and audience, take away from this first exhibit, but it’s a little unnerving knowing that the direction it may take is largely beyond my control. Also, it can be challenging promoting an exhibition before the work is up, so you have to drum up a level of excitement for it with relatively minimal content. I’ve also been forced to learn how to use email folders. That changed my life.
OZ: How important is it for creatives and animators to get involved with these kind of passion projects?
LS: Any excuse to make something outside the bounds of normal client work is exciting. It offers a reason to take risks, be bold or express something about yourself for no other reason than to simply create. Putting your work up against other talented creatives can be a little intimidating, but letting them see what you’ve been working on can drive you to push your ideas just that little further.
OZ: What do you look for when curating for this type of exhibitions?
LS: Originality and a sense of personality to me are very important factors to look for. A certain level of expertise in animation and design are pretty necessary, whether it’s a great feel for timing or a knack for choosing the right colours, but I think Exhibit . A is about showcasing animators that challenge the current trends a bit. Of course, sometimes you can’t go past something that just looks beautiful.
OZ: Why the square format limitation?
LS: Good question. I always liked the way Instagram used to force users to show work within a square. I think it really made you consider the frame. Thanks to GIFS (and the internet in general) the square format has become a totally a valid aspect ratio. The square also lends itself to the casual and temporal nature of Exhibit . A, inviting the creative to use it like a canvas for expressing their thoughts and ideas. Lastly, I like the idea of making all the videos consistent when viewed as a collection.
OZ: Our readers will totally be interested in contributing, what’s the best way for them to get involved?
LS: There’s still a couple of spots left for this first exhibit! The best way is to send a copy of your site/folio/reel to firstname.lastname@example.org.
OZ: Melbourne has become quite the “Hub” for Animation with regular events like MIAF, Node Fest, LoopdeLoop and Pause Fest to name a few. Why do you think that is and how’s the Melbourne Animation scene like in your eyes?
LS: Melbourne has such a rich and vibrant art scene. It’s no wonder there are so many amazing animators here making great work. I think all these events help bolster Melbourne’s name within the international motion design and animation arena, and initiating more will only help to unveil the work of relatively untapped local talents to the world. Every day I seem to be discovering another amazing designer, illustrator or animator in Melbourne, which makes me genuinely buzzed for what the future holds for our local animation scene.