So Pictoplasma's The Character Compendium arrived the other day! And though we already mentioned what the book was ( a collection of different character-oriented artists' work) we wanted to share a couple of photos of our copy (and our illustrations within).

The selection of our work included in the book are all watercolor and ink illustrations, a few Dreamers, some panels from the MoonHare origin story and our old Alpaca Dream watercolor. The printing is very nice, the colors are great and sharp.
There is a huge representation of different artists and designers in this book and their various character work. I will be spending a lot of time losing myself in this book. Hopefully others do the same!

以前ここでお知らせしたPictoplasmaのキャラクター辞典、The Character Compendiumがベルリンから届きました。

本書では見開き2ページにわたって、水彩をベースにしたイラストレーションが紹介されています。アルパカドリーム、 そしてDreamersMoonHareのシリーズから数点ずつ掲載されています。

Pictoplasma Character Compendium!

The second character encyclopedia from Pictoplasma, The Character Compendium, is out now (since 5/4) and some of our work is included! We are still waiting on a copy so our photos and impressions will come at a later date, but we did want to mention the book's existence. If it is anything like the first encyclopedia though, it is sure to be amazing.
The work of ours that is in the book is from the Moon Hare series (some of which was recently in Pictoplasma's La Gâité Lyrique show, Post Digital Monsters last winter) and the Dreamers series.

More on this soon, but if you are fan of characters and creatures this is certainly something to take a look at!

ベルリンが拠点のキャラクターデザインプロジェクト、ピクトプラズマが5/4に出版したキャラクター辞典の第2弾、Pictoplasma - The Character Compendiumに作品が収録されています。
(第1弾:The Character Encyclopaedia

今までに、BLESSBryum and Kapokの上映、パリ&ベルリンでのポスト・デジタル・モンスターズでの作品展示などありましたが今回は本への作品掲載です。

Pictoplasma Paris
NYC Tabi(PictoplasmaのNYCカンファレンスを訪れた時のものです)

100 Video Artists In Our Hands

The 100 Japanese video artist book we mentioned arrived yesterday and sure enough!  We are in there as well.
It is a beautiful book (though a little pricey at 3800 yen) and would be a great resource for someone looking for video artists to contract.  There doesn't seem to be anyone in this book who isn't incredibly talented in some aspect of video production.  Some folks are technically savvy while others, like Onnacodomo, use simple techniques for playful and colorful results.
Every artist represented has a two page spread with stills of past work, a short bio in Japanese and English and contact information.

以前にここでお知らせした4/25発売の本「映像作家100人 2011」ビ−・エヌ・エヌ新社 / 3,800円) 
とてもきれいな本で、二人の知らない沢山の作家の方の絵柄などを眺める事ができて、楽しんでいます 日本語/英語で全ての文章が読めるのもいいです


There is a book coming out April 25th in Japan called, JAPANESE MOTION GRAPHIC CREATORS 2011.  It lists the top 100 video artists in Japan with information and some stills from each artist's body of work.
Overture was selected as one of these top 100!
I'm not completely sure what the qualifying merits of the 100 are, but it is put together by a company called BNN, a publishing company in Japan and it looks like they have put this book together for a number of years.  They publish, for example, the magazine Quotation that had a write up about us last year.
Needless to say, we are extremely honored!
We will write more on this when our copy arrives!

4月25日発売の「映像作家 100人 2011」(BNN新社)に、Overtureが掲載されます。




FrizziFrizzi Interview

Recently, we were interviewed for the Italian online magazine, FrizziFrizzi.  The interview, conducted by Ludag (Bruno Colajanni) was published today and though it's in Italian, it is still a beautiful site to just look around on.

Animation by the woods: Aya e Jason e la loro Overture nel bosco

Below is the English version of the interview, in case you are interested:


Animation by the woods: Aya e Jason e la loro Overture nel bosco

インタヴュアーは、ベルリン在住のイタリア人、Ludag名義で活動するBruno Colajannです。

1.Hello Aya and Jason! Where are you right now?

     Right now we're living in Western Massachusetts in the U.S.  Lot's of old hills and forests!

2. In the August 2004 you founded your project, Overture.  What do you remember of that  summer day? Where did you meet for the first time?

   Yes, we remember that day very well!  It wasn't the first time we met, we had known each other through mutual friends for a few years at that time, but it was the first time we ever really talked.  We went on a camping trip with a group of friends to Okutama, a beautiful mountainous area with deep, narrow ravines, not far from Tokyo.  After dinner we found ourselves together and began talking about our interests and found our ideas and thoughts to be amazingly aligned.  Everyone was gathering in a cabin but we went to an empty one and began drawing together.  Talking and drawing we stayed up all night and knew that we had to continue together, something had been sparked. 

3. Do you share a desk or do each of you have your own desk? Can you describe it?

     Our main workspace at the moment is a long counter made of plywood and sawhorses where we have our computers and lightboards lined up.  We recently moved to a cozy second floor studio/apartment overlooking a river and dam, just a kilometer from the camping spot where we thought up the animation we are currently working on.  The river carries the inspiration to us!  We have high ceilings and many books in our apartment, most of them belonging to the owner of the house.  Plus we have a small room for painting and other messy activities.  We used to work facing each other but this new setup seems to be working well!

4. Overture is an "Opera House" where you both sometimes let other people take part in your projects as well. Can you describe how a day goes by for Overture? 
We may be picking up help in the near future but for the most part it is just the two of us working on projects!  Even when we are working on something like an animation, the musicians involved usually don't live anywhere near us and we typically only communicate through email.  In fact most of our work is like that, we really don't do much locally where we live so everything is through the internet - at least during the creation process.  We were fortunate to tour Japan this Summer, doing small performances and holding a number of exhibitions and during this time we were able to actually interact with other artists and musicians in person and that was really great and a pretty fresh experience for us!

5. Can you tell me about your studies and experiences in your countries? (I guess Aya comes from Japan). When did you decide to become artists?
A: Yes, I am from Japan!  I didn't go to art school but I was an artist's assistant for a while.  I've just always drawn, since I was a child.
I think I decided to become an artist when I was with a real artist, working as an assistant or participating in a project.
J: I also didn't go to art school but have always just been making things.  I did puppet shows when I was little and wrote stories.  I don't think I've ever had a moment where I thought I wanted to be an artist, just a never ending drive to create.

6. In another world what would Jason Malcom and Aya eventually  be?

A: I think I would be an animal that could do little detailed things, like a raccoon or squirrel.
J: a taveler on the Silk Road.

7. It seems music plays an important role on Your creation. Does Aya or Jason play music too?

A: We both play a bit of music, though less recently than a year or so ago.  
J: I grew up playing a few instruments and singing in school through highschool.  When I came to Japan I played in a number of bands and when we moved to the U.S. the two of us would meet with local friends and play music almost once a week.  Especially when we are working on an animation, music is an excellent exploration tool and can be a freeing, spiritual release.

8.You did wonderful videos for indie musicians such Haushka, KiraKira and Mùm.  Are there other artists you would like to work for too?

    Yes, there are many artists we would like to work with!  We are constantly looking to expand what kind of music we work with, looking to possibly do more rhythmically oriented pieces or possibly some kind of noise-related animation - although it really depends on what we come upon and who we meet and what the moment holds.
We are also interested in doing more performance based animation and would love to work with people like Cirque du Soleil or Royal de Luxe.
We would also like to work with live film directors for creating short pieces in films or possibly opening/closing animations.  Although we are also looking to create our own feature length films in the future - animation and possibly live action as well.

9. First time I saw your creations I found your style unique and in the same time very related to Japan and North Europe imaginary. Maybe because when I was a child I used to watch cartoons as "Tanoshii Moomin Ikka"  (from the lovely swedish comics series Moomin by Tove Jansson) or "Tongari Boushi no Memoru", both of them with the character design by Yasuhiro Nakura for Key Animation. Can You tell us in which way the the place where you have lived influenced your imaginary?

A: I'm not sure how much influence it had on my style, but I was born in Beppu, a city famous for its onsen (hot springs) and this certainly has been a big influence on my creations.  I read a lot of books, both Japanese and foreign, as a child and over time this has become nutrition for my style.
J: I grew up in the area we live in now, spending a lot of time in the winding woods around my house and also sometimes visiting the labyrinthine hydroelectric stations my father worked at.  I spent a lot of time playing by myself.

10. What about your favorite artists?

There are so many great artists who we love and who have influenced our work!  We typically find ourselves drawn more to artist writers and folks with stories and ideas than visual artists, but here is a mix of some of our favorites:
Jan Svankmejer, Susan Pitt, Rene Laloux, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Tezuka Osamu, Michael Ende, Tove Jansson

11. If you could do a remake of a movie, fairytale, book, which ones would You choose?

Hmmm...we would definitely like to do an animated version of Michael Ende's Momo... we would also like to do some simpler fairytale stories, like the Billy Goats Gruff, and possibly something a bit more heavy and recent, like Nakagami Kenji's, The Immortal.

12. On "Bless", the video for the icelandic musician "Kirakira", there are  a lot elements about religion, nature, fate and destiny. On the end you can see the Parcae (the Fates), that in Greek mythology were Cloto (the Youth), Làchesi (the Fertility) and Atropo (the  Oldness), that can decide when it's time for you to die. Each time I see your animations I feel a deep feeling about nature, religion and mystery as something we should not be scared of. Can animation be a sort of antidote against sadness? 

Certainly!  Although, we don't necessarily intend anything in the creation of the animation.  We do think up the stories and characters and guide the narrative, but we also try to let ideas and themes arise from our unconscious - this was especially true in Bless.  Our animation reflects in many ways our lives at the time of creation, our thoughts, outlooks, activities.

13. What made you scared when you were a child? To be alone in the dark? What was your antidote?
A: I was frightened by the expanse of universe and time, especially the idea of existing in the vast space after death.  I didn't have an antidote, although these feelings have dulled as I've gotten older.
J: I was afraid of the void and dangerous potential in the shadows.  I have had night terrors (sleep paralysis/ kanashibari) since I was little and often thought I was being attacked or punished with electricity by monsters or the Christian God.  I had a theory that whenever I thought of nice things before I fell asleep I would have bad dreams so I would force myself to consider scary thoughts in the dark of my room to hopefully have a reverse effect.

14. The style of Overture is special also because that beautiful watercolor texture You use. It's hand made or do You use special software for that?

All the watercolor technique you see in the videos are done by hand.  Figuring out how to do that on a computer is a bit over our heads.

15. How long does it take to realize a video such as " Rhubarbidoo"?

Rhubarbidoo was our first kind of music video and we were still figuring out a process.  I think we spent the early part of the Summer '07 on it.  Generally though we plan animations to go one month for one minute.  This changes depending on the type of animation, the amount of time we have to devote to the animation, and other factors.

16. What's the hardest side of your job? 

Well, we only work on projects we feel match our own goals and this usually means there isn't much money involved.  Having to live off very little or having to work for some kind of supplementary income is extremely taxing and drains a lot of energy we could be focusing on our work.  In a similar sense marketing our work is also a side that is very trying for us.
And then balancing a normal life, eating, exercising, spending time with friends, etc. while also spending every free moment on a project is nearly impossible and really wears on our minds and emotions.
Making things, while some aspects are monotonous or difficult to get into, etc. is really a joy compared to these other elements.  And while we sometimes butt heads over certain details, working together is one of the driving factors of our artwork and we love this as well.

17. What about your next projects? Will it be possible in the future to see your video and drawings all together on a book?

We have a number of projects we are currently working on and also planning on for the future!  We are currently working on a new short animation, the reason for our current location (for research and inspiration), which we are hoping to wrap up by the Spring. 
We are also putting together a dance/music/animation performance with KiraKira, while starting work on some book ideas using the water and ink technique we have been honing for the past while.
And then there is a feature length animation we have slowly been planning over the past few years and are currently hunting for funding while fine tuning its proposal package.
We are always looking to work on new animation projects and also want to get more involved in books.  We will have a small artbook/zine released from a record label in Japan and we will see where that goes - but we would love to also put together a book collecting stills from our animations and various illustrations!  We are also considering a DVD animation collection.

© Bruno Colajanni (www.ludag.com)

Books & Prints, Bits & Pieces

Some bits and pieces here.
We never mentioned this here, but during the Summer we were in an IdN book, The New Twenties, a collaboration between IdN and Society6, where we have some of our work up.  There are a lot of really amazing folks in the book and we were fortunate enough to be invited to the party.
Here's our "Creators" page on the IdN.

今年の夏に発売された、香港発の デジタルデザインマガジン「IdN」と、デザイナー&イラストレーターのショーケース「Society6」 のコラボで作られた本、”The New Twenties”にイラストレーションが掲載されています。


Also, on the topic of Society6, we recently made some the work we did for our Summer exhibitions in Japan available as prints on the site.  These are ink and watercolor portraits of the Dreamers, the researchers who study the movements and messages of the MoonHare.





Yo Gabba Gabba! just released a new DVD, "Clubhouse", collecting four episodes from across their three seasons. One of these episodes is the "Animals" episode which includes the animation "Animal Sounds" we created!
Pretty exciting!
The DVD is available for purchase right now on Amazon for $16.99 ($12.99?) as well as at other retailers both online and physical.

つい先日リリースされたばかりのYo Gabba Gabba!の新しいDVD "Clubhouse"。今までの3シーズンの放送の全エピソードの中から選ばれた、4つのエピソードが収録されています。
その中の1つに、なんと私達の制作したアニメーション"Animal Sounds"が入っている "Animals"が仲間入りしています!

只今DVDは Amazonで16.99ドル (12.99ドル?) で手に入るようです。

CG Magazine!

CG Magazine
A month late on this, but our copy just arrived:
There's an interview with us in the latest issue (#92) of the Chinese magazine, CG Magazine and includes Bryum & Kapok on the attached DVD.
The DVD is filled with a lot of great animations including Parallelostory by impactist, Moray McLaren's music video, We Got Time by David Wilson Creative and some work from the Mixtape Club...among a number of other really great pieces.

...The link we had for the magazine is not working right now - once that works itself out we'll update this post with the magazine's site.
In the meantime I've temporarily uploaded a pdf (15MB) of the interview on our site for Chinese readers - check it out here.

発売日からは一ヶ月ほど遅れましたが、中国の雑誌「CG Magazine 92号」の特集記事、”麻雀工作室生存秘籍”にて、作品とインタビューが掲載されています。

誌面だけでなく、この雑誌についてくる付録のDVD「Rush!」には「Bryum & Kapok」3部作が収録されています。
他にも、 impactist制作のParallelostory、 Moray McLarenのPV、 David Wilson Creative制作のWe Got Time。そして Mixtape Clubからもいくつかの作品が寄せられています。

今現在、CG Magazineのサイトが何らかの理由で見られないようになっているようです。(メール送って教えたんだけど「そうなんだよねー」みたいな感じで…全然平気な所がすごい!)復旧の確認が出来しだい、ここでまたお知らせするつもりです。


CG Magazine
CG Magazine

AtmosphereーGas as interface

GAS as Interface just wrote a bit about our work on their blog, Atmosphere. Mostly focusing on Bryum & Kapok they also included Rhubarbidoo.
Publishing the Gasbooks and running Calm & Punk Gallery among other things like representing artists and producing various projects, these are some very fine folks we hope to be talking about again in the future!


GASBOOKの出版や、CALM & PUNK GALLERYの運営などで数多くのアーティストとプロジェクトを手がけてきた会社、GAS AS INTERFACE(ガスアズインターフェイス)のオフィシャルページ「Atomosphere」にて、新作アニメーション「Bryum & Kapok」の事やOvertureの事など紹介して頂きました。






It's been out for a bit but we just got our copy yesterday: Afterhours issue #25!
This time looking at Baltimore, London and of course, some Iceland, there's even a lengthy interview with us inside, featuring some of the highest quality color images of our past work ever printed!
And as usual there's music too: two cds and a dvd of music videos (Beach House, Dan Deacon, HIM and Gaspar Claus and Pedro Soler).

音楽雑誌「After hours #25」にて、Overtureのインタヴューと作品が掲載されています!
昨年の12月に発売されていましたが、先日、待ちに待ったコピーがAfter hoursのオフィスから届きました。


KASINO A4 #8 Arrived!

The latest and raciest Kasino A4 arrived yesterday! "The Best Sex Issue" it is indeed, with photos, illustrations, stories, tips and tricks all focused around the carnal delights. We did some portraits of spammers as you can sort of see below (or run over to our flickr account to see each portrait individually).

Kasino A4の最新号、#8 "The Best Sex Issue"が家に届きました。

今回、私達が描いたのはスパマー(スパムメールを送りつける業者)達の肖像画。 この記事を書いたライターがもらった実在のスパムメールのタイトルだけを元に、スパマー達の人生を予想した記事で、描いててかなり面白かったです。



Playful Type


One week to finish the second piece of the Bryum & Kapok triptych!... Lack of sleep and anxiety notwithstanding everything is moving smoothly and we are looking forward to the completion of this part of the story.

In our studio today, wading among our papers and monitors and pencils and tissues we did notice a package had arrived without our knowing.
And to our surprise and wonder what should it be but the Playful Type book published by Gestalten we wrote about a while back!

It is quite a book! Thick and beautiful and many amazing artists - we are very happy and grateful and to be included in this collection.
And I've always wanted to be in a book too heavy for me to hold up and read.



それでもこうしてブログに浮かんできたのは、ゲシュタルテンから作品掲載分の新書「Playful Type」が届いたからです。
私達の作品は、KASINO A4 Nature issueに掲載されたフォントを象ったイラストレーションでした。こうやって本で届くととっても嬉しいですね…他の作品もどれも面白いです。


Out of Gestalten: Playful Type


This is turning out to be the biggest month of the year for Overture! We've got the internet premiere of the first Hauschka animation coming up, the Yo Gabba Gabba! animation airing next week and now a contribution in a design book on illustrative typography!
The book is Playful Type: Ephemeral Lettering and Illustrative Fonts, coming out this month from the publishing house Gestalten. It looks to be a lot of fun! Not quite sure what exactly of our work is being included, but it's either our illustrated type for KASINO A4 from last year or the power numbers we created for Veli magazine. Or both.
We are still waiting for our copy - but we'll be sure to post some photos of our pages when it arrives!

Yo Gabba Gabba!のプレミア放送は来週の25日!

ゲシュタルテンより今月発売のPlayful Type: Ephemeral Lettering and Illustrative Fontsに、Overtureのフォント作品が収録されています。
KASINO A4 に掲載されたイラストフォントか、Veli magazineの数字のデザインフォントのどちらか、もしくはどっちもという事になりそうです。