Sophia is a story about heartbreak. Of a mortal man that loved a perfect, unreal ideal of a woman.
I created this film for Chris Burnett, an up and coming artist and musician whose next album revolves around his experience with an obsessive, all-destroying love. When we are in the throes of an overpowering crush, we begin to create idealized versions of our obsessions. They begin to transform in front of our eyes and become beautiful to an unearthly degree. They are gods and goddesses; cold, cruel and unreal.
I knew this concept was the beating heart of the film. It’s painfully, intimately familiar to anyone who’s loved someone passionately, and yet it also feels ancient and timeless. A crush taken to legendary proportions. Armed with this idea, I visualized Chris’ mind as a massive temple made of light and concrete. Within it, he worships a goddess with a face made of flowers. Initially, she appears beautiful, a pure and perfect vision, surrounded by heavenly light. But her mask is removed, her eyes are stark white, lending to an unnerving feeling of otherness, alienness. She is ghostly, unreal, almost imaginary.
Neonates is a loopable, modular series of microfilms created as a talent search campaign for Psyop. It was shared on the production studio's social media channels as part of an effort to grow their legendary design team.
As Psyop's lead designer, I took it upon myself to conceptualize and design the films when I learned the studio was in search of fresh design talent; and directed a small team of animators to bring the campaign to life. Conceptually, they draw from Psyop’s avian obsession, referencing the iconic silhouette of the egg logo as the base of the design. I also used growth, rebirth and ontogeny metaphors, such as a New York pigeon taking flight or a mutant bird embryo evolving within the confines of an eggshell. Mixing these two visual directions produced a purely Psyop result, at once creepy and inspiring, disgusting and beautiful; the perfect avicular metaphor to symbolize the journey of a fledgling Psyop designer.
An explosive visual statement and an homage to homosexuality, GLAMBEAST is a piece I created in 2017 as the final step in my coming out process, meant to be shared on Instagram, with the world.
The film is based on a track called Anymore by Goldfrapp. Despite blunt, simple lyrics, the relentless beat and sexually charged sound convey both an amazing feeling of freedom and a desire to embrace the otherworldly and weird; a perfect soundtrack to GLAMBEAST. I visualized a creature with a face made of diamonds, an entity with a light and dark duality that danced in the void, embracing itself, morphing, distorting; becoming something new.
GLAMBEAST was heavily inspired by the New York City drag community, a bottomless well of innovative visual inspiration. From makeup and styling to an audacious DIY spirit, queens are fearless. They are unfazed by obstacles like small budgets or not knowing how to do something. This raw, lo-fi approach has also birthed its own style; one in which things aren’t always perfect or polished. instead they’re alive and raw. It’s an approach I admire very much and wanted to pay tribute to in the creation of this film.
Pedro Lavin, NYC, 2018