Instagram: @raphaelvangelis
Twitter: @RaphaelVangelis
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rafael.mayrhofer.5
Vimeo: www.vimeo.com/raphaelvangelis
Website: www.raphaelvangelis.com

 

1. What’s your story? Where are you from?

I am a filmmaker, designer and craftsman. Since starting to play with Lego as a kid I never really wanted to stop doing that; So I didn’t. I really am just trying to make my job as similar to playing with toys as possible. Never grow up! My life journey started in Greece, continued with an education in Austria and some work experience in New York. Since University in Austria is essentially free I studied for way too long and ended up with a Masters Degree in Digital Arts. Finally I ended up working in London as Director because the United Kingdom responds very well to my quirky style and I am actually able to make a living off it here. Who knows where life takes me next though! I am really interested in the US West Coast and Japan. They also got weird and awesome toys over there!

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2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

My aesthetic changed quite a lot through the years and hopefully will do so in upcoming years as well. I started out doing some very dark, sinister and dystopian animation films. Recently I lightened up a bit and it’s all becoming more playful and imperfect. There still is a layer of darkness in everything I do but it’s way more subdued and only forms a subtle contrast to make my films not just being naive. I definitely think my technique has gotten more refined over the years and I am at a point where I start caring about technique less and spend more time on ideas. Which I think is a very good development as I was obsessing over technique too much.

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

Filmmaking; Animation definitely and Stop Motion Animation probably.
I really love how in Animation there is no boundaries to imagination. You can create your own worlds from scratch. Daydreaming is probably my favourite activity and the way I approach Animation it is just a hyper-obsessive form of daydreaming. I do like having a connection to the real world in my work though and that’s what I love about stopmotion over any other form of animation. It is tangible in the creation process and the handmade quality is still palpable on screen.

4. What is your artistic process like?

What interests me is seeing ordinary things from an unusual perspective. This principle is scalable and applicable to my personal and commercial work. I am definitely a brainperson and a perfectionist. I like to plan my projects out meticulously and throughout the process throw everything away and reinvent the project. This means my personal projects usually take quite a long time but I don’t mind that. I was way more bothered by this when I was younger and didn’t know if I can ever be happy with the result of a project. Now that I’ve gone through this process multiple times though I know that I eventually end up at a point where I feel a film or project works and is right.

5. Who and/or what inspires your work?

I am a big sucker for simple but conceptual graphic design. Content on Designblogs is something I consume as much as I can on a daily basis. The same goes for short and feature films. A lot of my inspiration comes from digital screens which I now in itself try to make fun of in my work.

6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?

That depends highly on what ones interpretation of Art ist. High Art plays almost no role in my life. Creators of all kinds are what I am surrounded by all my life though; therefore I think there is almost nothing besides Art in my life. Art as a way of expression through creation and communicating ideas/stories is probably all I think about.

7. Where did you study?

I got a degree in Digital Arts from the University of Applied Sciences in Hagenberg, a small school in Austria. I consider that a time where I was just free to explore though. How to apply what I like doing in the real world is something that I learned by working in a variety of animation studios. Buck NYC, Hornet NYC and Glassworks London.

8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?

What? NO! I have no aspirations to work in an agency whatsoever. If I can still do the same thing I am doing now: working as a freelance Director and have my personal projects on the side I’d be very happy. I do have plans to work on films that are a bit longer as the projects I am currently working on. Doing more fine arts projects also intrigues me. I do take it one project at a time though and try to keep an open mind.

9. What about in ten?

Feature film. At least trying to do one. I am ok if that fails and having to go back to smaller projects as well though. Honestly I am pretty happy doing what I am doing right now.

10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?

Very selfish but I am really just trying to keep as much of the awesome things about my childhood alive as possible. Creating imagined worlds, playing with colours, shapes and light; inventing things, combining things, destroying things. All that stuff never got old for me and I want to do that until I can’t anymore. There is no higher plan about lecturing anybody, taking a moral or intellectual high ground though.

11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?

Pho, Bun, Pad Thai, Salmon Teriyaki … I should really move to Asia.

12. Favourite book?

Momo by Michael Ende; I’ve read some interesting Japanese novels by Haruki Murakami recently which I am currently ecstatic about. Momo and also Siddharta by Herman Hesse are books that had a long lasting impact on me though so I have to name those.

13. Favourite genre of music?

Electronica, Glitch Hop, Hip Hop. I am one of those awkward white nerds that can stand in front of an electronic musician like Nosaj Thing for two hours with his eyes closed just nodding along. Actually even worse: I also love Wu-Tang Clan and Kendrick Lamar. Secretly I desire to be a musician in the Hip Hop industry.

14. What are your hobbies?

Daydreaming is probably number 1. As an artist my work consumes me on so many levels that there is almost no time or need for hobbies. I do like to play a good computer game from time to time and try to hike, walk or cycle as much as possible. Austria is such a beautiful country and I only realized this when I moved abroad so now most of the time when I am home is spent in nature.

15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

An unemployed artist. 😉 I almost studied law but I would’ve sucked at it and I would have never been able to get any satisfaction out of that life.