Welcome to the second installment of the “Eye on Design” series where I’ll highlight amazing artists that you need to keep an eye on! For this month I’ll be highlighting one of the most well known and respected GIF artists, Gustavo Torres (AKA KidMograph). Gustavo is on the cutting edge of experimental motion graphics, making killer visuals 3 loopable seconds at a time! His aesthetic is a mixture of 80’s & sci-fi design with a surreal spin. Let’s get to know more about the man behind Kidmograph!
I’m pretty sure most of the Internet knows KidMograph but for those out there who live under a rock, can you tell us a little bit about the man behind KidMograph?
I’m a middle aged guy living and working from Argentina. Me and my wife Clara (@render_fruit) work together in our studio and have an amazing almost 11 years old daughter 🙂
Your work has a totally tubular 80s vibe to them. What inspired you to get into design and what artists/styles influence your artwork?
Yes. I used my 80’s growing childhood and remixed some of the concepts that were so great in that decade. Always really moved me is that way to look at the future in a nostalgic and literal manner. It’s very descriptive. It resumes very well what you want to say, and how. It’s concrete. Also, the technologic limited resources of that time, and the mixture between traditional art. All mixed with the beginning of the home computer. Because that was happening to me in the process of trying to be an illustrator. Always been caught by the amazing video game posters and publicity. Comics. The advertising art that is not relevant but takes concepts from surrealism and mix them with futuristic concepts. The 80’s has that feeling of an endless happiness trip, and at the same time I think it worked really well with people. Even more than then newest technologies of today. The lack of resources is always a good resource. Sometimes a bit cheesy and shallow, but beautiful, nostalgic and literal. It is fantasy, but based on reality. My most important task making art is trying to leave an impression on the viewer, and the end of 80’s, early 90’s has this impact on me. I can really relate to that age with the works of Hajime Sorayama and Patrick Nagel to name a few.
You’re very well known for your GIFs on Tumblr. How did you get into the GIF game and what do you enjoy most about the medium?
I remember around the end of 2011, where I finished a big stage on my work making tons of paid work doing music videos, that I felt the need of making side projects. Projects that I really wanted to do without anyone telling me about notes and changes and styles. It was a very hard time for me in the emotional and economic fields, and decided to start making simple things almost everyday (in a non orthodox way). Some days I was doing 3 GIFs in a row, others just thinking about scenes. But the thought was giving all my ideas a shape. That’s where I thought a blog could help me to achieve it, and Tumblr came into my life. Over 4 years, I have uploaded more than 1000 GIFs there. After all this time, I’m part of the Tumblr Creators initiative, which different artists can link with brands around the globe for online campaigns. I only can say I love them.
You’re quite the Renaissance man designing for multiple mediums; You’re making GIFs, concert visuals, now you’re experimenting with 3D tracking. You mentioned you want to get into VR. Can you talk to the benefits of trying out all these different outlets?
Yes. Only through diversity do you acquire and refine your taste. Adding diversity into your work is a very healthy way to get better at what you do. It’s like eating, you might have 3-4 favorite meals, but you need to taste several to see what you like most. Combinations are almost endless. Art is not much different on that regard. One day I feel the need to do an endless/timeless loop about a certain idea. Others, I dive deep into longer scenes. Everything gives you new feelings & experiences that you can learn from.
Staying on the subject of those different mediums, what was the most challenging and which did you enjoy the most?
Well, music videos can be very challenging. You have to combine several techniques in 3-4 minutes without losing the subject, and without losing the people attention. Tons of things involved. Footage/compositing/fx/audio-video sync…3 minutes looks like nothing to the spectator. But for you can be endless. Passing from the angry to the joy to deception. B ut I’ve learnt a lot like in no other field.
But for sure what I enjoy the most is making live visual packages for DJs and musicians. I’m at a point that I’ve transformed all my personal works and motive into my actual work, and people reference my current work/style as examples of the types of projects they want me to create for them. And that’s priceless. I’m very grateful.
What’s one of your favorite pieces of artwork you’ve done and why?
I have so many animations that represent me and my work, but this one in particular does it very well.
Done 2 years ago, and in about half hour. It has all I need for a GIF. Speed, the lo-fi feeling, the travelings. City landscapes in a retro-future highway. Sometimes it’s the shorter amount of time you spend creating images that the more accurate and powerful it gets. Keep the mind focused, and don’t waste time.
Did you start out as a 2D designer before you got into 3D and if so, what was the most difficult thing for you jumping into 3D?
Yes, like i guess the majority who has my age did. First of all, I’m an illustrator/painter. Did my Bachelor in beauty arts from 13 to 19 years old and you can imagine the most advanced thing was taking photocopies. When I started working in After Effects in 2003 i thought that was it. It was a really key moment in my pairing career. But always felt the flatter work (or 2.5D) like a limit. That’s where I’ve discovered Cinema 4D and boom, my brain changed the way to create and understood that the limits were only in my mind. It enhanced my perspective 1000X. But it wasn’t easy. Even today I have lots of things to learn and trying to use both 2D/3D in a way they can coexists nicely. Pipelines can be hard, but you must search for a method that works for you regardless which software you use.
What’s the one thing in C4D you couldn’t live without?
Cloner Object and the Displacement Deformer are two of my main tools. I use them everyday.
Tell us more about the music videos you made for The Strokes.
Those projects were pretty much straight forward. They loved all the GIF animation I have been doing and asked me to make 2 lyric videos and a few presentations that appeared in the streets in form of loop-able videos. The lo-fi and nostalgic feeling of this pieces, plus their amazing sounds and lyrics were joined and we think they accomplished their objective. Plus, lots of people in my country who don’t know me were able to find my work 🙂
More of KidMograph’s work: