Interview: Chris Thompson, Founder of Lumiko
MUSE is very proud of being able to count Chris as one of our members. As an extremely talented and forward-thinking designer, he is now Creative Director of his own business: Lumiko, a company producing motion design works for events, advertising, and projection mapping. We sat down with him recently to try and get inside his highly creative mind…
When did you decide to become a freelance Designer?
I decided to go freelance nearly 10 years ago. It’s certainly a bit daunting at the start but personally it’s helped me gain far greater control over the type of creative projects I now handle.
What’s the story behind your company name – Lumiko?
I started Lumiko as a small studio with my friend Jon Lau. We originally wanted to work in projection mapping as I’d had a lot of experience in that field. We wanted a name that was original, and also sound like it had connotations to illumination and light – thus Lumiko was born.
You have worked for big names such as Hugo Boss, U2 or Lenny Kravitz. What recent project are you most proud of?
I recently went to Mexico City with the British Arts Council and working with local artists and designers to create a VR experience at the Mutek Festival. It’s a rare opportunity to work in such a beautiful place.
I’m trying to steer my work to be more experiential. I love the medium of design and animation but something about using one’s well-honed skillset to sell throwaway products has always jived with me a little, I’ve always felt much better creating design that helps enhance someone’s experience of an event.
Your animations are very detailed and geometric. What are your influences?
There’s definitely something satisfying about well-timed, animated interlocking shapes. I liken it to admiring an intricate pocket watch. When I first got into the design I drew much of my inspiration from animation studios such as Shynola, Buck and Psyop. However, over time I find myself heavily drawn to static works of form and beauty such as the work of Eduardo Paolozzi, Gunta Stölzl, Josef & Anni Albers and modern masters like Hannah Waldron & Siggi Eggertsson. Finding a balance between the flowing kinetic energy of the former and the balanced static compositions of the latter is a constant well of inspiration.
What makes a “good” design?
Design is an extremely transient word so it’s very difficult to answer this. Video game design is totally different to the design of, say, a bank statement. Architectural design doesn’t share a lot in common with sound design. This list goes on. Sometimes it’s the role of design to obfuscate and confuse in order to create mood, tension and payoff – think the narrative design of films, television and more recently interactive media. However, that’s the exact opposite of what I’d want from the design and layout of, for example, user interface design on an email client or a weather app.
You produce both creative animations and unanimated art pieces such as the “Hidden Landscape” or the shape collage series. When did you first start to combine art and technology?
When I was a little kid I would constantly be drawing and painting. Then one Christmas my dad brought home a family computer, an Amiga 500. I remember being stunned by how futuristic it seemed. It came with a copy of Deluxe Paint II, a very crude precursor to Photoshop. From that moment I was hooked. Obviously I would also spend far too many hours playing games. Then one day I got a hold of Klick & Play, a pretty sophisticated yet accessible game engine for its time, that would allow anyone to create their own games, no coding required. I spent hours making my own versions of Pong and Space Invaders.
At MUSE, we strongly believe that inspiration is what keeps the creative juices flowing. Where do you get your daily source of inspiration?
Where, the web, of course.
booooooom.com – Art, lots of art.
butdoesitfloat.com – Straight up stunning imagery.
creativeapplications.net – Cutting edge and damn informative.
icecreamhater.com – Cute animations abound.
motionographer.com – All things motion graphics.
planetaryfolklore.tumblr.com – Sci-Fi curated.
prostheticknowledge.tumblr.com – Future Overload!
blog.presentandcorrect.com – Quaint Stationary shop in London runs a quaint blog.
twitter.com/poem_exe – Evocative AI poems
twitter.com/free_facts – Ramdom facts from mad genius David OReilly.
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