Thursday, 11 November 2010

Brandon Jan Blommaert

Brandon Jan Blommaert is an artist currently living in Montreal, his work encompasses video work, still images and gif loops and is at times reminiscent of vector graphics and early 90's inspired net art, yet a closer look shows off his eye for sensous colour schemes and quality and fluid animation. His short films have been exhibited across Europe and North America and his recent film Black Moon is part of Onedotzero's Adventures in Motion Festival in London 10-14th of this month.

Arranging the time for an interview was a bit more tricky than it usually is, but I ended up talking to Brandon over gmail chat whilst he was on a coach going from Montreal to New York. He had a wi-fi on the bus. What an age we live in.

TLL: What do you do in montreal, do you exist on just your artwork?

No, sometimes, but not all the time. last time we spoke I was working full time as an animation assistant (at the National Film Board of Canada), which was no super creative, but it was still interesting.

Still better than a standard office job just to pay the bills

Yeah, no, it was super fun and I was working for 2 amazing directors. But, still an office job

Did you study art as well?

I studied print making in Calgary, which I wasn't super into. they expect you to buy lots of nice expensive paper which I wasn't into. I spent a lot of time searching for free stuff around the school to print on, backs of posters worked pretty well

Do you think that's why a lot of your work is made on a computer now?

Not entirely, I think digital work is only half of what I do. I still enjoy working with hand made objects. I think of the computer as just another tool, I am not married to it. When I was in school I owned a real shit box of a computer so I barely made any digital art.

I use it a lot now but I rarely create %100 digital work, but I guess I am making more purely digital art lately, mostly because of lack of time

So are you 100% happy with what you make? What would you be making if you had the time?

Well, I am fine with making whatever I can. I am ok with adapting to whatever situation I am in and I think that making quick digital things can be pretty enjoyable and stress free. If I had time and money I would like to make films.

I think a lot of people would say the same thing, you're on your way though, a few of your films have been screened across europe

Yeah, that was part of a touring screening package put together by Hooliganship, they show tons of nice stuff

As much as I want to make films I am in no rush, it is pretty draining. so one part of me wants to make a new movie and another part of me just wants to work a day job and relax.
and eat

Black Moon - Watch it on Vimeo as blogspot is helpfully covering up half of the video

Is there anything that you really want to convey in your work?

Brandon went offline after I asked this question, and I honestly thought I had just pissed him off. Fortuneatly though his internet had just cut off and I stayed online, and for the time inside, due to it being a ridiculously windy day outside. We reconviened a few hours later.

Hey, sorry about that
, it might cut out again, bad timing

Yeah the question was do you feel like there's anything you want to get across with your work aesthetically or mood wise, perhaps

That is a tough one, I think I am still trying to figure that out. I think the things I make always have an other worldly feeling to them. I rarely approach anything with an exact idea as to what I am trying to convey. I have a fairly on the spot way of working. If I think to much about what I am trying to say I get super bogged down and clam up.

But I do think I am trying to capture some kind of psychological state that can not really be described with words.

I suppose the way you have all those gifs looping, the repitition, works well like that

Yeah, I think those can convey something completely different then any film I would make
they are more ethereal in some way

What sets off the creative process for you, inspiration wise,

Usually I start with a tiny nugget of an idea, it is hard to say exactly how something starts, often these things come from a long chain of tiny ideas that eventually turn into something. It is rare that I get a solid pre-conceived idea that I jump into, all of thee things evolve over time

I do a lot of random little things though and eventually they evolve and grow into something bigger, hey, we just pulled into a rest stop, I am going to go grab a sandwich, BRB

Okay I'll go get some food from the shop, also I'll leave you with a question, are there any particular artists or even just one off videos that inspired you?

Just got your question. Well, there are a lot of obvious pop cultural things that I reference in my work, like muppets and smurfs and various things that we all loved (or tolerated) as kids. But since I started animating I have been discovering works of more experimental animators or film makers that I find interesting, so I think I blend these two worlds. I like early digital animations by people like Larry Cuba (who worked on Star Wars) and John Whitney.

A lot of people bring up the Quay brothers when they watch my short films, they where not really much of an influence, but I appreciate them


'An Electric U'

You say you want to make films, but what's your next step

Right now? no idea, I have no strategy planned out. It is impossible to get money to make the moves I want to make, so, I don't know exactly how that will actually work

Could you not fund it through commercial projects

I could try, but I rarely get commercial gigs that pay that kind of money. I know there are a lot of animators who work that way but they have seriously huge clients, like Kleenex.

I don't think I am really at that point, but I would love to make a commercial for Kleenex.

Brandon can be found online at