Ahead of the launch of Maxim Zhestkov’s first digital edition on Sedition, Elements, this October 2017, we interviewed the visual and motion graphic artist from his studio in Russia to discuss his surreal animations, his approach to his own work and its subsequent reception.
For those who are not familiar with your work, can you tell me a little about your background and practice?
From my early childhood I loved to draw and create digital illustrations. My passion, later, brought me to university where I studied fine art and architecture. In first year, I started playing with 3D software and realized that animation has the deepest connection with me. From 2004 I’ve been working in the indie design/animation field. I love to explore boundaries between animation, design, storytelling, sound, physics and art.
Can you tell me how your interest in the physicality of space and the white cube came into your work?
I studied architecture and developed some preferences concerning minimalism and a white aesthetic. Because I’m working with animation and moving elements in three dimensions, I suppose a white room is the representation of the frame for my art pieces. I think of white rooms as mental connectors which help viewers step inside my art pieces.
Many of your pieces explore the physics of nature, particles governed by tensions and their collective behaviour but the result is something that is not possible within the ‘real world’. Do you see these works as ‘otherworldly’ or existing in an alternate reality? What freedoms does the digital medium allow you to explore possibilities?
For me there is no such thing as art or design as a pure medium. I’m not interested in plain images. I love conceptual collaborations between different fields: science and art is the perfect example. Nature has its mathematical laws and playing with them is the best thing which could be possible in this universe. This is something like learning the visual language of nature and physics, not by formulas but with intuition and artistic perception – cracking some fundamental laws of perception and movement.
I love the art of animation and the boundaries which this medium has. I think mixing Disney animation principles with physics, sound, architecture and cinematography is the best possible thing in the universe.
How much creative play is involved when you are constructing works? Or do you envisage the finished piece prior to creation?
I have tried different types of work methods and for me the best one is when you have 50/50. I always start with the research and writing my ideas as a short script. Then start to play with 2D images and only then move into 3D. 3D graphics are not a magical thing which could create something for you, they are only a great tool. I have to tunnel my artistic vision every time I work and prepare for the next exploration and only then – start it.
Sometimes it’s great to re-arrange your edit and create a new cut which could surprise you and show you a different meaning of your work. Those moments are the best because you could create something like a inner dialogue and find some new visual horizons.
Could you tell us a bit about the process of creating your works? Do you use film or are they completely computer generated?
I work on my animation only on my computers. But I love to start projects with a regular pen and paper. When I’m far away from computers my brain works in a different manner – without CG/tools boundaries. I use this isolation as a creative break to refresh my perception.
Do you collaborate with others on your work?
Yes I think it’s really refreshing experience to collaborate with someone on a project… but I love to create my art films by myself.
And lastly, what are you working on now? What projects do you have coming up next?
At the moment I’m working on my next art film, Distant Lights, and doing a couple of commercial projects for major technological brands and one for a famous Russian musician.
To celebrate the launch we are giving away one free digital edition of Elements. For you chance to win, head through to the Sedition Instagram page and simply ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on todays post about the Artist.