Founder and Creative Director Mike Moloney studied Graphic Design at Camberwell College of Art, London, where he made films as part of the course, and began to make music videos for friends in bands. His first job was with web design agency Deepend, where he was thrown into animation. Others in the Art & Graft team studied animation, including at Kingston University and France’s Supinfocom. They have taught themselves software, but otherwise learn on the job and through personal creative projects.
Art & Graft make short films, television commercials, channel branding and promos. They consider themselves to be primarily a design studio rather than pure animation specialists. The majority of their work is UK based, although they work with an Australian agency and do some work in Europe. The majority of the work is delivered with the in-house team, but they like to bring in other creatives to work with them where they can.
They are currently working on three self-initiated short films and their ongoing series, the Art & Graft ‘Intros’, 10” opportunities to experiment with new ideas. Other projects include 24 Hour Pavey Ark, a time lapse piece collaborating with a photographer and a composer, and Island/Universe, made at at the European Northern Observatory in La Palma, with Blackpool based art agency Supercollider.
A series of films made with the a charity Spectrum, about the experiences of people living with autism, was screened at the Saatchi Gallery, and is held in the BFI National Archive.
To date, the studio hasn’t applied for funding and personal work has been self-financed. They are keen to develop bigger ideas, and modest funding would give space for more focused development work on a number of film ideas.
STATE OF PLAY
Technology is changing rapidly, with software and rendering speeds improving all of the time. Software is becoming more and more accessible.
It’s so much easier to get your work out there through sites such as Vimeo, and to get feedback and new ideas for your work. There are ever more animation festivals, and different screens and platforms on which to show your animation.
Social media has been a great way to get the company “manifesto” out there – to show what they’ve been trying to achieve understandable to clients and the wider public.
These are really exciting times for animation.
“With the animators that we are trying to attract to work with us at Art & Graft, we are always trying to strike a balance between technical knowledge (software etc) and the more traditional skills of storytelling, narrative structure and creating emotion. Sometimes you get animators who are technically amazing, who know all of the tricks, but their work lacks soul and charm. Conversely, there are others who can tell stories well, but their work is let down when technical skills aren’t up to scratch.”
“Stay true to what you want to do. Don’t be blinded by the technical too much. Remember your core skill of storytelling and message – then add a bit of soul into that too!”
Images: © Art & Graft