A. How do you live? Did you decorate your home in vivid colours? I’d love to see how you tackled the task of home decoration.
I love the bright colours you use in your art and films and would love to see if these colours recur in your home.
We live in a mainly white apartment (white floors / white walls), with colourful objects from the space age era and some DDR 7O’s furniture mixed with Alf, Anpanman, E.T’s and German Sherpherd figures.
Art books, cinema books, couple of novels, travel guides, artworks from friends and some of ours of course : couple of sculptures and paintings on the walls.
B. Then I have a lot of technical questions. I.e. if someone is good in illustrating characters and wants to make ficticious worlds like you do where would they start?
This person should start to take the decisions that lead to their goal and eliminate what distracts themselves too much.
It’s the most difficult thing to do nowadays, when everybody wants a piece of your attention, one needs to focus to create something valuable for you and others.
Sometimes it means making sacrifices, living far from your family, not seeing your friends so often… finding the right balance.
That being said, this person would also need a tremendously big imagination and be able use it and to let it go!
Ok so, I would say that works for creation in general, now in term of creating worlds it’s even more important to be able to focus and escape what surrounds you because you need to immerse in this new world you are creating.
You want to be there with your characters, next to them, to be able to look at them closely while they breathe, talk, interact with each other, feel the wind in the trees, smell the air, once you get to this state then you don’t feel the paper your drawing on or the keyboard you’re typing on.
Things you you would naturally do with friends or family members.
What school do you recommend or can selftaught artists start to create their worlds in 3D?
We wouldn’t recommend one school in particular, it’s a combination of different studies that will get you ready and mature enough to have your own speech.
J: Central St-Martins in London, I had the best time ever!
What software do you recommend to start with animation?
Learn how to use a pencil, watercolors, acrylic, ink… and then I would say After effects because it’s at the crossroad of most disciplines.
C. Do you have children?
Yes, two girls.
Only the one we have created, so… stuffed animals & puppets
Do you teach?
Ben used to teach in Paris for couple of years, but then he stopped to focus on our work.
Recently we’ve given a workshop in Sweden in Hyper Island School, it was great to get back at it at this particular point of our career and to work with extremely motivated people.
It seems you have a vivid memory of more naive ways of seeing the world. This makes it seem as though you would get along well with kids. Also the love for your characters make it probable that you would be super-loving parents or pet-keepers. On the other hand you probably don’t have time for family life?!
Ah ah, yes we love our kids that’s for certain and we still find the time to work on our projects between two baby bottles, we decided to think like it’s no problem.
I guess it will enhance our work as we have a direct access to an audience
D. At the beginning of the 20th century there was a writer’s genre called Phantastische Literatur. A few years ago Max Fraser (author of the London Design Guide) established the term Escapism to name a part of today’s design world that is more interested in narration then in functionalism.
How do you explain the big interest in (your) parallel worlds and characters? Do you think it is because of a strong fear of the future (as about 100 years ago in the case of Phantastische Literatur)? Or do you think it is because of our fast-paced, more consumerist internet age in which kids and adults surf the web but spend less time “hands on” making art and crafts and creation is somehow a lost luxury that people are beginning to rediscover.
Mmm, it’s a little bit of all the things you just said, I guess.
We feel responsible for what we create so we try to avoid pure materialism.
At the same time it’s hard to avoid the materialization of your speech if you are not musician.
Our aim is to create high emotions in people’s heart / mind by using a combination of different medias.
It’s quite demanding to the audience, because basically they do the work in their mind.
By overlaying layers of different techniques, such as an illustrated character, talking with a 3D animated one, integrated in a live action environment, mixed with some models or puppet, you create new reality, it’s up to the audience to accept it or not but when they do, that means they have overcome a lot of preconceived ideas and the chemical reaction that happens in their mind, this mental imagery that what we seek.
It’s not really important that people understand what we want to say but mostly that it means to them and how they can relate to this art piece.
E. The eyes of Kaluk and some of the other characters look so real. Then there’s the really large Namaruk,… All these things seems to take ages to make. Do you cooperate a lot with experts to help you build these large “sculptures”?
We have some friends who help us, Julia’s mother did help us also with Namaruk for example but we manage to do most of the things ourselves, we’ve have learned a lot from our mistakes and each project is a bit more simple and easy to create.
F. Kaluk has many lives. Now you are at Kaluk’s world again. Which life/episode are you currently constructing and where and how can your audience expect to see the results? Did you do the spoons and stuff for his world yet?
We are developing the second life of Kaluk and working on making a film out of it.
Our last exhibition in Berlin was an introduction « The 2nd Life of Kaluk: Hypothesis » to it, presenting some of the most important characters of the story.
And now we are writing the script, designing the characters, it’s a long term project but we try to focus on it as much as we can.
I. I love the pink tongue for the blue Diesel underwear. Can I embed the Diesel video and some of your pics with the interview? Any thoughts about the tongue?
Please do so.
Not particularly, in this case the agency came up with crazy installation concept and we provided the designs / Art direction and Direction.
J. Is the colour blue symbol for sexual connotation in your art or is it a coincidence that sometimes this colour is used when it comes to the more “obscene” scenes/scenes related to end of childhood? Any other symbolic meanings/colours/shapes in your art? If so, are they coincidental? Where do you think they stem from?
We wanted to make art films, so in the end you can find some Cocteau references in there, a little bit of Matthew Barney’s Cremaster and also to play with the sexyness of the Diesel brand so… no, it’s no coincidence.
Then, how we use colors and their meanings, it’s a very important matter in our work, I suggest we make another interview just on that topic
K. Childhood: do you have traumatic or rather great memories of your childhoods? Is there a biographical incident for either of you to make you so attracted to childhood themes?
We do have great memories of our childhoods and there is a great nostalgia attached to it.
Nostalgia is fabulous playground to create and draw inspiration from.
As a kid, you are lower to the ground, everything looks more impressive and better in a way.
Imagine if dogs were twice bigger and you could ride on their back…
Your body seems to be elastic, you can fall on the ground and jump back up immediately.
Last time I fell, damn… it was painful and long before I stood up.
L. Anuses, farts, sausages and death. A kind of new pop art? What’s your inspiration?
Yes, and also because it’s fun, it’s comedy.
Death because nobody knows what it is and we have couple of idea we like to share.
M. What professional dreams do you have? Who would you love to work for? What more would you love to create?
What we want to achieve is the first Kaluk movie, that’s pretty much it for now.
I would have loads more qu’s that come to my mind. But I’ll leave it for now.
Image credits: http://www.benandjulia.com