Bak 17 Is Online!
'Face', 17th issue of Bak Magazine, is now online! Sit back, relax and enjoy!


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Interviews in Bak | 16
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Till Nowak
3D Artist { }
Till Nowak

- After living and working in Mainz for a long time, you moved to Hamburg, second largest city in Germany. How do you like it?

I love it, Hamburg is a beautiful city and the cultural possibilities are endless. Even if it sounds like a klischee answer, I really feel like the people here in the north are especially friendly and open. I am sharing a loft office with a couple of good friends who are also designers. We are renting part of a heritage bath house, have lots of fun together and are surrounded by an unorthodox architectural environment in the heart of the city – the perfect working situation for me.

- With your animated short film 'Delivery', you won more than 30 international awards in many countries from USA to France, Mexico to Belgium. Can you tell us about the story behind the project?

I created “Delivery” as my graduation film from 2005. I produced it pretty much on my own and didn’t have any idea that it would have such an impact on my creative life. When it was finished I entered it to three small film festivals and thought this is it, but after it had won awards at all three of them I started to think a little bigger and entered it to more festivals. It made me travel all over the world and opened many doors. My view on the creative world changed completely and I decided that my goal is in cinema and art, much more than in producing advertising work for commercials and print ads. The story of “Delivery” is relatively simple, I had just tried to create something from some basic ideas, feelings and images that I have inside me.

- Almost 5 years passed since 'Delivery' was released. What will be your upcoming milestone? Do you have any plans for the near future?

Since “Delivery” I did lots of experimental work and interesting commissioned jobs, working for Aardman Animations and others, and I feel that I have developed my visual language much further since then, especially including and resampling camera footage. However, I am planning to produce a new shortfilm soon and I have been thinking about its concept since years. I am struggling, because the success of “Delivery” and the temptation to get distracted by attractive project offers made it difficult for me to finally kick my ass and free some time to start the new independent piece.

- We know that the world famous Swiss artist H. R. Giger has a great influence on you. Can you tell us about how you met Mr. Giger and why you created your amazing work, 'Salad', in which you combined digital vegetable models to create Giger's phenomenal Alien figure?

I have always been absolutely fascinated by the design of Gigers “Alien” because I see it as something that didn’t look like it was made up by somebody. It’s shape is so unquestionable as if it really existed. This elegant long shape of its head, combine simplicity and uniqueness like a product of nature and not like an artists invention. So, it always was in my mind as an example for great design, and then one day suddenly this strange, ridiculous idea just popped up in front of my inner eye: The Alien heads similarity to an Aubergine, an Eggplant. So the idea was born and I created the image within two weeks and put it on my website as an independent, non-commercial artwork.

Two months later I received an e-Mail from Gigers agent Leslie Barany, who had found my “Salad” picture in the internet. He and Giger himself loved “Salad” and invited me to visit them. We became friends and I meet Giger in his house in Zurich from time to time. He is a very kind person and knowing him privately proved his genius and his uniqueness to me even more than just knowing his art. I am also involved in a couple of artistic cooperations with Gigers agent Leslie Barany, for example the image “Blowout at Exit 16A” which I created for Leslies book “Carnivora”.

Recently “Salad” was exhibited as a guest piece in the big Giger exhibition at the Frankfurt Film Museum, which is exactly the museum that I visited a hundred times when I was a child and where a big part of my love for visual effects started – a highlight for me that closed a circle.

- At a young age, you got tens of prestigious awards, you exhibited your works in numerous art shows and your creations are even featured in 3D Studio Max's software package. In the process of your rapidly growing career, how do you evaluate the future of it? What's your greatest aim in life?

The more possibilities open up to me, the more difficult it becomes to choose the right way and to decide in which direction I want to go. At the moment I am struggling with the fact that you can’t do everything at the same time. The danger is, that trying to do all of it splits up your energy too much, preventing you from doing the real big steps. For example, I started to do large scale light installations, but at the same time my dream is to work on big movies. Both directions would require full time attention, so I am struggling to set priorities. In the last ten years since I am working as “frameboX” I still see myself on a search for my way. My aim is to make a big movie one day, but at the same time I want to stay completely free and independent, and I am not sure yet how these things go together… However, so far the feeling of doing something different every year feels quite good.

- You say you reject great job offers from big film studios or big companies, because you love working at your own studio. If money were no object, what kind of workplace would you create for yourself?

I think that you don’t need the really big money to create the perfect workplace. Spending every day with my friends around me and working in a spacious and yet private environment feels already quite good to me. It just never feels really like going to work, more like going to my playground. However, if I had endless money I would bribe my friends to move all together to a place with a longer summer, with a terrace on the water, attach a huge private cinema, have all our families live around us in a kind of funny alternative community.

- If you had one chance to go back in time and visit an artist's studio, who would you like to be with and what would you talk to him/her?

Since I already visited Giger I will have to choose someone else. Let me think… Arcimboldo would be exciting or MC Escher, or how about Oskar Fischinger. He is a German filmmaker and artistic pioneer who invented the “visual music” in the 1920s, something you could call the birth of motion design as we know it today. I would just sit next to him and watch him work for one day. It’s almost unbelievable that he came up with stuff that looks like some of todays flash animations during the time we know from early black and white silent movies.

- We know that you're interested in cinema. What kind of movies and which directors do you find closer to your taste, in terms of visual comprehension?

I am crazy about cinema, it’s the reason why I am doing what I am doing. Art forms like music, photography, drama or painting can create great emotions, but cinema combines them all and so it has the strongest emotional impact on us besides real life itself. I love the feeling when you just watched a good movie, leave the cinema and are in another state of mind that can last for hours, like being lifted up half way into a dream. I was always very fascinated by Charles Chaplin’s big movies, his creativity and genius, also in building crazy designs and sets. I mean not the slapstick comedy shortfilms, more his big films like “Modern times”, “Limelight”, or “The Great Dictator”. I also love Jacques Tati, for example his film “Playtime”. Looking at more recent cinema David Fincher’s “Fight Club” had a big influence on me, and not to forget the films of Michelle Gondry and Jean-Pierre Jeunet (except his “Alien” sequel).

- Theme of the 16th issue of Bak Magazine is 'City'. As an artist who travelled to different countries and cities for sharing your work with art lovers, what does the word 'City' mean to you? In what ways does the urban culture feed you?

I may not think like that forever, but currently I want to live a life of constant progress. “City” is progress – to be in an environment that constantly changes and lives around you. Living in the middle of a big city was my choice because I didn’t want to have to search for life and activity, I want it to be around me wherever I look.

To me it’s definitely something psychological, more than physically necessary, because I could do all the things I do also somewhere in the woods. Thinking about it, for us a city is the most normal thing, because we are used to it, but when you take a step away, try to see it as something abstract, as if you would see a city for the first time, isn’t it the strangest and most extreme kind of an incredible intelligent plant growing on this planet? 

A little tip from me about this topic, because I just recently read about it: Do a little internet search for “Hak Nam” in the 1980s, that’s what “city” can be…

City is progress – to be in an environment that constantly changes and lives around you. Living in the middle of a big city was my choice because I didn’t want to have to search for life and activity, I want it to be around me wherever I look.

- Till Nowak / Bak 16
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