We have a great interview from Karni & Saul, a couple who has found a way to keep it fun and exciting in a high pressure creative industry. In this installment of Motionweeknight blurbs, we learn about their style and endless passion for their work.
MW: How did you start in the industry?
Karni & Saul: We both studied at art school ….and came to London as animator-saul and photographer-Karni.
After some good luck being exposed to Nick Knight online fashion magazine “Showstudio”, we made our first joint films all done on stills camera.
The films got noticed by Virgin Records and we went on to making music videos with mixed media animation and live action…then rolled onto commercials , represented by various production companies and settling at Aardman most recently. We also made two short films for BBC and Film4 (“Turning” That was Bafta nominated and “Flytopia” based on story by Will Self both can be seen online now) and we have also started developing a feature with Warp and Film4.
MW: What best describes your unique style and how you both apply this to stop-motion?
Karni & Saul: We like to call it “casual fantasy”. A mix of beautiful strong photography or cinematography Together with some sort of fantasy which is created with animation…..this can be cgi, stop frame, 2d or anything else. We just like making magic and keeping the viewer entertained and guessing.
We like to create visual treats, things that give u pleasure or at least create some reaction or effect.
We also like to have beautiful mistakes and some handmade real feel….we believe u can’t relate to perfect things .as human beings we have perfect imperfections as should our films.
MW: What was your first job and project in the industry?
Karni & Saul: Well the Nick Knight films from stills were officially the first moving image we made together. They are still up on the Showstudio website….they were made with acrobats and a stills camera on a phone. Nothing else.
But our first music video was a melancholy but delicate piece for a song AM by Mike Fellows (you can watch it at sulkybunny.com). We still like its raw feel….we knew nothing when we made it and it came with a naive freedom. That’s hard to repeat. Also beneath the rose was one of our first music videos for Micah P Hinson….a film made only with snails from garden. 😉
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MW: What software and/or hardware have been instrumental in your growth as an artist?
Karni & Saul: All of them and none… Saul is a self-taught cgi artist on 3d Max and Maya. I work with Photoshop and a stills camera is always in my hand, but we believe u can and should use anything to create your vision. What’s important is your eye…a point of view and passion. The rest can be learnt along the way.
MW: Is there a particular piece of work that you are really proud of? Any quirky or funny or horror stories to share?
Karni & Saul: We are very proud of 99 percent of our work… We always try and do the jobs with passion and created our own body of work from scratch, choosing projects for creativity not money as much as we can. It’s the only thing we own really, as u need to sacrifice a lot along the way for art and film. But no one can take the films away from us and that’s always comforting. As for horror and funny stories… Our best one was probably going all the way to China to shoot a commercial and our main talent getting swine flu and being put in confinement… we completely freaked out…. but in the end the job got done and we survived the ordeal. It wasn’t so much fun then…. but still an adventure and a good story. The other story was finding out we were nominated for a BAFTA while being homeless as our rental house had flooded and we were living in an apartment hotel. That was a bitter sweet time.
MW: Describe your collaboration process and how it makes everything more awesome.
Any advice for freelance motion graphic artists?
Karni & Saul: Everything is awesome!!:)
It’s a relationship and we are a couple with kids in life too… which is complicated but fun too.
We have learnt over the years to collaborate and listen and work through the glitches and tough things.
A work relationship is like a marriage in that way. You need to work at it and then it pays off.
It’s hard to find good partners to work with but it feels like a strong unit to work in a duo….we can take anything and we always have each other as a first audience.
To be honest we don’t know any other way, so for us it’s the best.
MW: Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
Karni & Saul: On a beach writing our second feature… while shooting music videos and commercials.
Our kids helping out as part of the crew.
MW: Thank you both for sharing your with us work and more importantly your passion.
Big thanks to Julie Yaffa for all her help with this interview.