The-Artery’s project, “The Euro-Vision”, intertwines music and technological themes. While the music connection is obvious, the infiltration of technology aesthetics is a wink to the location of this year’s contest, Israel, which was dubbed by many as a “startup nation.” Visual artists from Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom brought their passion and visual flair to the project. Among them are Mihran Stepanyan, Founder of One Man Studio, and Award-Winning VFX Supervisor, Alex (Sasha) Djordjevic.
Ranging from 3D animation to stop-motion, the artists were invited to visualize what it means for humans and machines to operate as one. The project further highlights The-Artery’s artistry and their mission to foster creative collaborations by bringing together 18 amazing animators, designers, and illustrators.
We spoke to Vico Sharabani, Co-Founder and COO of The-Artery and Liron Ashkenazi the creative director.
FXG: How did The-Artery get involved in the project?
VS: Since Israel was the location of this year’s competition, and as both our Design Director Liron Ashkenazi and I were both originally from Israel, the topic was close to our hearts. The previous year’s win for Israel was a big deal and was really exciting. We were inspired by the name “Euro – Vision” and wanted to make our own visual collaboration to honor the competition and to celebrate with Israel as it’s hosting this year’s event. It was super important to pick a theme that was not only revolving around music, but also togetherness, collaboration, and inspiration, and most importantly something that can correspond to Israel – so we decided to incorporate Human & Machine as our core concept, adding to all the above. Bringing artists together is a goal that we set out for ourselves at The-Artery, we’re trying to find every reason to collaborate with the creative community and facilitate those types of projects. When we come together, we create great things, and this project is proof of that.
FXG: Were all the visuals created at The-Artery?
VS: No, each 5-10 second clip was created by a different artist in a different country. The-Artery Produced five, 10-second animations to accompany the ones produced by our collaborators.
FXG: How long was the process?
VS: The artists were given a week to come up with an idea and a storyboard/animatic for a 5-10 second animation. After that, they had little under 3 weeks to finalize the piece. They shared “work in progress” style frames and animations along the way. After that, we handed the edited reel to our sound collaborators “The-Soundary” and they created the sound design and soundtrack with our creative supervision. The whole project from start to finish was approximately a month and a half.
FXG: What was the pipeline?
LA: The-Artery created a conceptual and visual guideline that consisted of a written statement, reference and a single “match frame” circle shape. In order to create the fluidity between the different pieces, which are very unique in style, we came up with the idea of the “match frame” so that every artist will have to start with a circle shape of a particular size, and will end their animation with the circle as well.
FXG: I assume the artists were working remotely?
LA: Yes, they were.
FXG: Did the artist work to the audio or was the audio developed after the visual (ie. temp track then final)?
LA: The audio was developed after all the visuals were edited into one reel. The sound was written to the piece, not the other way around.
FXG: How did the process work with approvals and design development?
VS: It was a delicate role, producing and directing this collaboration while protecting the individual voices and styles.
It is tempting and natural to define a narrative, critic work, or manage artists like a traditional production. We intentionally and repeatedly had to remind ourselves that we were there to structure and empower the artists as opposed to leading the creative process in the conventional way. This process mirrored the citation at the Eurovision Song Contest and felt like the only way such an homage could be created.
We made sure not to restrict the artists and only gave them our creative thoughts along the way, never ordering them to change anything. This was a pure collaboration, The-Artery chose to facilitate it, but we made sure each artist created their own unique point-of-view without intervening. (Though many artists did ask us to approve and give creative critique on their work, which we did, and they have changed it accordingly).
FXG: Was there any one part that was particularly challenging?
LA: Producing the piece, finding the artists and the constant communication with 20+ people in a short period of time was probably the hardest part. It required our creative director’s full attention for almost a month. It was important to us, to keep the artists connected and informed on where we were in the process and how it was moving along at all times. We’ve sent progress and inspiration emails every couple of days to keep them on track, inspired and check back with us.
Agency, Production, and Post: The-Artery
Aleksandar Sasha Djordjevic
ECD: Vico Sharabani
CD: Liron Ashkenazi-Eldar
Music: The Soundery
Sound Design: Patrick Henchman
Color: Aline Sinquin