Interview with Animation Artist Artur HilgerTweet
Artur Hilger is a fantastic illustrator from Warsaw, Poland. His illustrations and animations are highly creative and really bring a plus to the design community. Artur is very talented and, as example, let me just tell you that he worked for brands like Sony, Bravia, Vaio, Casio, Dove and more.
When did you start your career as a designer?
My girlfriend pointed out my perfection in wasting time when I was a teenager – designing for fun but no profit and playing video games while living off of my parents’ money. It moved me enough to apply for a few jobs that I’ve found interesting at the time. One day, after the interviews, one of the potential employers called me back and I took the job. Couple of days later I found out that I got all the jobs. One of them was at an advertising agency but I’ve decided to design wallpapers for mobile phones.
What is your educational background?
Dark, shameful and not entirely connected with art. After finishing secondary school the only thing I do regret is wasting an opportunity to finish studying philosophic specialization at Warsaw University. The most inspiring thing ever. But making the first movie was more exciting to an unyielding boy at the time. I said goodbye to Socrates but I have promised myself that I will pray for a second chance one day.
You’ve surely worked on several projects so far. What would be the most relevant ones?
Biggest and most exhausting project for me, so far, was our infamous „Bots” website for Intel (http://intel-bots.com). I performed a role of a designer, 3D sculptor, animator and video director – large amount of after-work hours spent cursing on unreliable hardware. Intel’s top processors received “robo-personalisations” and quite an original world to live in. I can’t precisely tell how much time we’ve spent on creating it all but I’ve surely sharpened my patience for 3D software, and I realized that time management is crucial, and I decided to buy a powerful computer with unbelievable amount of ram memory. Still haven’t.
Also, a big step for me and my agency was our 2008’s „Walkman Komiks” (now available at our online museum at http://chomiki.bbcg.pl). I’ve put a lot of time and health to deliver this hand drawn animated cartoon project in a quite short period of time but we’ve won the love of such a big client as Sony, a few awards and respect. Worth it. I guess.
Can you name 3 designs from your portfolio you like the most?
A personal breakthrough was a cover for my friend’s „SuperExtra” album. The first print design in my portfolio, including my beloved mix of digital painting, 3D and illustration. This is one of my favorites because I had a total creative freedom and the result, not entirely, but it satisfies me.
As I’ve mentioned before Intel’s „Bots” was a really big project. Including original story, world, 3D characters, pre-rendered videos and a platform mini game. I’m happy with the overall effect but the time it took to accept every step, the changes that took much time to approve and apply – well – made it technologically „old” when released despite the fact that we teamed up with programmer Marcin Barciński to deliver something fresh. This shows that not everything you expect to be a success – becomes one.
And the one yet to be released is a series of animated episodes „Krowoloty” (aka „Flying Cow-Men”) for Danone. It’s exciting also as a collaboration with my wife – Olga as a scriptwriter. It’s a funny cartoon, full of absurd and I’m sure people will – maybe not completely understand – but enjoy it.
Our readers would definitely love to know what hardware and software you use when you create your designs?
At home – nothing extraordinary but very reliable due to it’s operating system – iMac 24 inch 2,4 dual core processor, 2 gigabytes of RAM memory. It’s not a powerful pokemon but a very good friend when needed. Really scary Godzilla waits for me at work where 12 gigs of RAM and an i7 processor is a must. The software would also be nothing unusual – Flash, Photoshop and 3D Studio. But the tools are not the most important things in a work flow.
What are the things that inspire you? Can you name a few websites you use for inspiration?
I would never use anything „consciously” for inspiration. I love to watch other people’s portfolios but simply to appreciate their work and see what can be achieved with a talent. Recently I have joined a couple of community websites because I felt a simple need to brag. It’s nice to know someone appreciates your work. There’s also need for some criticism, just to bring me down to earth. Right now i think that Behance.net is the website where most professionals reside. Coolvibe.com, cghub.com and lookslikegooddesign.com are recently also my favorites.
When you began your journey as a designer you probably had a few role models, would you name two of your favorite artists?
I have never really cared for the names. But as I recall – the only meaningful artist of my childhood is Simon Bisley with his stunning and raw art style. I’ve always loved his freedom in paying attention to detail with the most important characters or props in the scene – leaving other as sketches. I never could draw that way – I’m a perfectionist. If I had an idol – Bisley would be the one.
But Phil Tippett and Brad Bird are my personal superstars. For me – they are pioneers in many fields and have always been doing it big – I admire their imagination and professionalism.
Designing has its ups and downs, what is the most difficult problem you ever faced as a designer?
Designing while being really drunk (laugh)! Seriously – deadlines. There is nothing more „design- killing” than a time limit. You can have a great idea, you can have an opportunity to make something big and breathtaking but if there’s this little ticking bomb somewhere in the back of your head – sometimes you can’t concentrate on your job more than on counting these passing hours. And when the time limit is really short – it’s the reason for sleepless nights, drinking two Red Bulls at the time and sometimes approaching a thought that it’s all not worth it. It’s like – sorry, Adriana but we’ve reached deadline – end of interview!
Looking a bit into the future, how do you think people will look at your designs in four years from now?
I just hope people will have a chance to see these designs in four years from now. Something you give all your time and energy being forgotten would be the most depressing thing ever. Honestly, I believe that my future ideas would mean much more, so that people looking at my current portfolio would say that it was a nice start.
I could definitely imagine myself four years from now saying about them: „What a crap. Could’ve done it better. It cannot be in my portfolio”.
What advice would you give to the newbie designers?
Community contains of too many technicians and lacks for artists. Newbies must develop sensitivity to the surrounding world because “without heart there’s no art”. Tools are just a mean. My advice: protect your eyes!
What do you think your greatest achievement is so far?
My greatest achievement so far is not and never will be placed in my portfolio. He’s to be born in the beginning of October and I’m excited to welcome Him to the world. Can’t wait for us to paint some crazy abstract stuff on the walls in His room together but of course, I’ll wait until He grows up enough to wield a brush. I won’t just dip the baby in the paint bucket and let him walk over the walls!
How much free time you have in a week and how do you usually spend that?
I don’t have enough free time, so when – finally – a couple of hours seem to come out of nowhere, I sleep. Ok, it’s not THAT bad but it’s more like social activities with friends and family require me to „arrange” free time. I can’t remember having a comfort of leisure without any sacrifices. Sometimes, when I feel the need to „pause” my devotion to a project – I’m taking my dog for a long, exhausting walk, watch some movies with my wife or play some games. But the truth is, that during free time I keep thinking about new ideas, concepts and designs. I just hope I will never let the most precious things in life slip through my fingers.
What is your favorite PC game and how many hours you spend playing it?
This title originated from Playstation but it’s actually my favourite PC game – the one and only „Final Fantasy 7”. I have always appreciated well polished piece of entertainment but this one tells such a great story that it took me about a month to finish, with breaks for some good night sleep. PC gaming ended years ago with great adventure games like „Full Throttle” and there are not many PC titles in which I am interested in recently. The exception is „Starcraft 2”. I’m digging game consoles these days.
I really liked this design. What was your drive to create it?
It’s actually a screen shot from „Walkman Komiks” website for Sony that I gave birth to at the advertising agency I work as a senior art director for at the moment. The story is about a city of Miastopolis attacked by twisted hamsters stealing sounds and colors. The goal was to achieve a mixture of Frank Miller’s noir atmosphere with funny, cartoon characters. All animated, all interactive.
Check out Artur’s Behance profile here.
Visit Artur Hilger’s website.