Frank Nitty 3000 has developed a sizable following in the art world and on social media through his surreal and imaginative animations. Faces come together and multiply as disembodied limbs in the finest footwear dance across the screen. Nitty 3000 imbues his images with a simple elegance that betrays the intense, idiosyncratic process that his personal style requires. A close look at his videos reveals multifaceted textures, dazzling colors and amusing insinuations that could only come from a frenetically innovative mind. High-profile campaigns with Burberry and Gucci brought his work to expanded audiences. Cultured met with Frank Nitty 3000 to discuss his creative process, social media and upcoming projects.
How did you get started as art director?
After I graduated from the Design Academy in The Netherlands I actually still had to figure out what I really wanted to do and what I was good at. I just started experimenting with loads of different things, ventured out a bit in fashion, did a lot of post production for video and film and also directed quite a bunch of stuff myself and with other people. In the mean time I have always been perfecting and polishing my software skills. ‘Art director’ is actually quite an interesting career title, since it has a different meaning in different fields of work. I kind of like that. It’s a bit vague and mysterious, but, at the end of the day, I mostly create motion graphics.
How do you come up with new ideas? Can you tell us about your creative process?
I do quite a lot of commercial work. So I’m always confronted with imagery from the luxury and beauty industry. I try to re-imagine or re-shuffle basically. Sometimes it’s about adding humour. Sometimes it’s about taking things totally out of context. In the advertising world the human body is usually the canvas to sell a dream. I’m try to sell a nightmare, or comedy. My main thing is to show alternatives. It’s also about surprising myself so I always try to push a little bit over the edge of what I felt comfortable with yesterday.
How have you noticed your artwork changing since the advent of social media?
Yes, each social media platform has it’s own ‘rules’ and limitations. So that kind of defines the boundaries. It’s not just total freedom, which in my case might be good. I dwell too much on things. I still see myself more as an ‘art director’ than an ‘artist’ at this point, so I need some limitations to be forced on me. It works well for me, but that will probably change as my ideas evolve over time.
You have worked with so many fashion brands. What has been the highlight of your career?
Definitely the work I did with Gucci for their Ace sneakers was a highlight. It was great because the people there were really cool. They didn’t really try to force anything on me other than saying they think my work is ‘funny’ and that was something they’d love to see. I really respect what they do and the awesome thing was that work didn’t come from some agency or ad company. That was directly from the people over at the brand finding artists they like to collaborate with. I’m quite proud they recognize my work.
When creating your moving image do you begin by deconstructing it or seeing the image as a whole?
It’s a lot about staring at stuff. I think I spend more time staring at photos then I do executing. I’m quite good at the technical stuff so I feel comfortable with that and wrap it up quite quickly once I see the idea. Sometimes I need to take an image and just cut it into pieces and i do a little bit of a sketch. Occasionally, I have a very ‘technical’ idea which has less to do with aesthetic or story telling. In that case I spend a lot of time being a computer nerd more than being a ‘designer’.
What’s on your horizon? Any future projects you can share with us?
It’s funny because people tend to call me an artist. But up to this point I see my work more as experimentation. I’m still in that phase. But this year I will definitely be focusing more on story telling. I personally think story telling is important if you really want to call yourself an ‘artist.’ I’m working on a project now with Indian models—trying to combine the aesthetic of archetypal Hindu characters with contemporary fashion. There might be a good story there. I still enjoy commercial work though. I see billboards as gallery space. There’s always an opportunity for art there.
Would you say you work best on deadline?
Deadlines are generally bad for my physical well being but maybe better for my mental state. Sometimes I just need to wrap things up.