Those that know me will not be surprised that I am again posting about incredibly quirky yet creative animation. Having grown up on a diet of Jan Svankmajer and Ren & Stimpy, it dosn’t take much for me to wax lyrical over a visual non sequitur.
Treat Studios have all of this and more. They are a collective of 6 animators (Danny Boyle, Robin Bushell, William Crook, Matt Layzell, Julia Pott, Alex Robinson) living, collaborating and creating in London.
They met at Kingston, decided to work together, got commissioned to do the titles for the Skins series and from there have been growing in reputation and creativity.
I first encountered them giving a talk at See No Evil in Shoreditch. What struck me was not only the extremely funny and ‘hand drawn’ feel of many of their offerings but also the very amusing way which Matt Layzell led the talk in an extremely loud 1980‘s style shirt and the way that the light shining on the stage was aimed too low to hit his face – so it seemed as if the shirt itself was giving the talk…
To give you an example of recent work look at this slightly manic treatment for the band Crystal Antlers’ single “Two Way Mirror”. (above) I love the mixture of the naievete of the kids going into a science exhibit – The mirror into the universe – mixing up weighty issues like the meaning of time, space and our place in the universe with a lot of other surreal madness- not to mention the fact that it is animated to make a perfect loop.
Director- Matt Layzell, Design- Paul Layzell, Animators- Jonathan Harris, Joe Sparrow, Robin Bushell, Sound- Danny Boyle, Colouring in- Michael Gendi
I realise that these next spots are a bit out of date – but there’s no way I could write a post on Treat and not include some of last year’s E4 Christmas idents. Conceived by Matt Layzell as a sort of kick up the arse to Christmas, they feature various combinations of evil robot santas. Matt himself puts it like this: “The general idea was to surprise people with something really anti-christmas, and transform something boring into something amazing. It was a lot of hard work for a relatively short time but they were really fun to do and much merriment was had by all.” He also told me that a lot of the work is hand drawn, which I think gives it a great quality and real character.
Christmas Trees: Client- E4, Director- Matt Layzell, Animators- Bishoy Gendi, Michael Gendi, Jonathan Harris, Sound- Daniel Boyle
Finally here are some visuals animated for “Bat For Lashes” live shows featuring ‘Siren Song’
Robin and Julia directed these visuals for Natasha Khan. This is a short edit of around 20 mins of footage produced. They were projected behind her singing with a string quartet.
I am happy to say that they are also one of the studios working on the new animated biography of Python’s Graham Chapman in 3D – (the mind boggles at what these guys will do in 3D…) Matt also confided in me that they would love to make an animated series – and I for one think that their ‘hand drawn’ aesthetic, and zany sense of humour would make a fantastic show – just got to find the right script, I guess….
Check out their vimeo page for more hi-jinx…