“I enjoy the challenge of figuring it out,” says Eamonn Freel a multimedia artist based in London who works across animation, 3D, motion graphics and sound design. Like a moth to a bright light, Eamonn has always been drawn towards unchartered territories and new experimental media. He first mastered his practice after shunning the camera during his Fine Art Photography degree – a time when he “got hooked” on Arduino boards and coding. It was also a time when he created his final project – a piece of code displayed on a monitor that, when running, “‘would eat’ itself and eventually die.
“As a broke post-graduate I would basically say yes to any job that came along, even if I didn’t have the knowledge to complete it,” he tells It’s Nice That. “I knew photography but little else, so when I was asked to do a video or 3D work I would just spend hours watching YouTube tutorials until I figured out how to look competent.” Eamonn recalls a time when he was editing an advertising job in After Effects, whereby five clients were watching over his shoulder as he was faced with a difficult task. “I had to run to the toilet to watch a video on how to flip a video,” he says, “so as not to look like a complete amateur.”
But it’s this level of hard work and self-initiated know-how that’s enabled the artist to get to where he is today. He’s photographed fashion campaigns replete with strange props, created a unnerving yet hilarious GCSE vlog where a girl named Millie tells all about her life at school, has animated and edited a music video for Chinatown Slalom and shot a campaign for Nike TNs featuring music by Slowthai.
The creative process starts for Eamonn when he turns on some pop hits in the morning and drinks as much coffee as humanely possible. Then, he burrows through his archive – filled with gifs, memes and images that he’s built over the years. “I have a famously terrible memory so it helps me remember who I am creatively,” he says. Recently, Eamonn completed a project with make-up artist Athena Padginton – named Cosmetic Tag Tournament, the outcome is a medley of his 3D work mixed with Athena’s painting skills. “I wanted to give a narrative to the characters as if they were from a game like Tekken,” says Eamonn. A wrecked car and unfinished render aesthetic gives the graphics a somewhat dystopian feel, with the face designs achieved through real-life painting and then scanned in for texture. “The modelling was done in Fuse and the final renders in Cinema 4D. I then passed everything through a circuit bent analog mixer to give it a more lo-fi saturated feel.”
Another recent project of Eamonn’s is that of an AI fashion brand, in collaboration with artist Max Siendentopf. After Max was asked to guest edit the annual design issue of Volkskrant magazine, he called to Eamonn to devise a series of AI generated models. For one of the articles, Max birthed the idea of using AI in order to generate an entire fashion brand – everything from the slogans to the typefaces. “So with this in mind, I got to work on making a cookbook to visualise the garments on the models,” he explains. “I wanted to build characters that were as weird as the slogans, so I set about 3D modelling in DAZ with the intent of giving them all interesting characteristics and features that look real but slightly over the top.”
All in all, Eamonn has his hands clutched firmly around all aspects the digital world. Yet, although working in abundance within the field, he’s actually rather cautious about it all becoming “too digital”. “I really love blurring the lines between analogue and digital, either with photography, video or 3D. AI is definitely the king right now; I love what is becoming possible,” he says. “In the future though, I can see digital becoming a thing of the past and biological hardware bringing back some of the experimental parts that the digital world has kept so rigid.”