Interview: Amarildo Topalis

Artist filmmaker and director Andrew Thomas Huang lives and works in Los Angeles. He studied Fine Art and Animation at the University of Southern California, graduating in 2007. Huang’s film and video work have exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA in NYC and many other art places such as museums or galleries of London, Los Angeles e.t.c

Huang has been the director of the video clips “MUTUAL CORE”, “STONEMILKER”, “BLACK LAKE” of Bjork, a very well-known artist from Iceland, among others

Best New director at UK music awards in 2013, what was it that gave you this prize?

My music video for Thom Yorke’s band Atoms for Peace – “Before Your Very Eyes”

You worked with Bjork on “MUTUAL CORE”, “STONEMILKER”, “BLACK LAKE” and VULNICURA MOVING ALBUM COVER – “FAMILY”, why did she choose you and will there be any cooperation in the future?

Bjork reached out to me in 2012 when she saw a short film I made called Solipsist:

She wanted to make a video for Mutual Core from Biophilia and I think my film resonated with her at the time.  It felt like a right fit for both of us at the time.  After creating the video for Mutual Core we reconnected as she was writing Vulnicura and we were both eager to make something new together and she brought me along on her journey in creating the heartbreak-healing story for that album.

She and I are still chatting about her future aims for virtual reality so yes there is potentially new collaboration in the works.

Experience and review of the exhibition with Bjork at MOMA?

Bjork’s exhibition at MoMA was an epic journey and a very complex merging of multiple industries.  It’s very difficult to do a retrospective on an artist who is as sophisticated as Bjork who has pioneered so many rich contributions to so many fields in music, technology, film, fashion, etc.  The reviews I felt were a bit harsh and unfair.  But again, to do an exhibition that rivals the scope of Bjork’s legacy and future-facing vision is ambitious indeed. Ultimately I am proud of the film that Bjork and I made together “Black Lake” commissioned by MoMA.  It is the most authentic, vulnerable and honest performance we have seen from Bjork to date in my opinion, and I am honored to have created this piece with her as well as with my whole crew.

Who is the next artist who would like to work with?

Still trying to figure that out but there are so many talented young artists out there that I am excited to work with.  I hope to do a new music video soon.

Andrew Thomas Huang gia site 6 (1)

Solipist, a very nice video! Do you really believe that that there is nothing outside of our thought?

Solipsism is very old philosophical concept that has been theoretically disproven.  But the idea of solipsism bothered me as a child and no, I don’t really believe that nothing exists beyond our own experience.  I guess the film came more out of of a rhetorical question of how much can I truly connect with someone else – what is true empathy?  Perhaps it’s less of a philosophical question and more of an interpersonal one.

Is 3D Animation the art of tomorrow? Is there any space for innovation in the existing environment, do you have something in mind?

The history of 3D animation is quite rich and many decades old now.  As it becomes more democratized with free software like Blender, and as 3D printing becomes more popular, I think more people are using it as an everyday creative tool.  It’s admittedly a bit trendy right now, you see a lot of young kids riffing off of the 3D meshes and CG aesthetics that they grew up watching in the 90s and 2000s.  It will undoubtedly continue to be an integral part of our visual language in the coming years.  I’m most inspired by artists like Zeitguised, Vince McKelvie or Nate Boyce who I feel are making some incredible exciting work.

What would you choose for your future course, cinema, advertising or fashion?

All of the above.  I’m most excited to make a feature length film though.

I believe that the fashion house Alexander McQueen would perfectly match you, artistically speaking. What is your opinion?

McQueen has such an amazing legacy I would definitely be honored to work together.  I’m also excited about contemporary designers like CHROMAT, Eckhaus Latta and Telfar.

Andrew Thomas Huang gia site 7 (1)

Surreal creatures and plants in a familiar and alien environment in your projects. Does this stream have a name?

Inspiration from Mother Nature?

With your current exhibition “Interstice” at Milk Gallery in New York what do you want to hear from the public?

I just hope people can go see it!  It’s been a passion project of mine for 2 years now and it’s one of the most personal pieces I’ve made yet.  Those of you in NYC please check it out, as there’s only about 10 more days left to see it.   A nice review by Chris Thomas on the exhibition here:

The last one is not a question; say anything, a wish, an idea, a thought, a secret…

To quote Mr. Jung, “the greatest sin is unconsciousness.”  Boom shaka lakkaaa.