Kijek/Adamski continues to “break new ground” with its experimental approach to animation
Creative duo Kasia Kijek and Przemek Adamski are always up for a challenge, whether that’s combining 2D animation with stop motion or working solely with paper.
- Ayla Angelos
- 23 August 2021
Much can change in the space of eight years, especially if you’re creative duo Kasia Kijek and Przemek Adamski – of aptly named Kijek/Adamski. When we ask what’s changed in their world since we last featured the duo, they respond: “it’s not easy to summarise, because a lot has happened.” The first milestone is that they got signed with Strange Beast a few years ago, which opened many new and exciting doors in terms of pitching for new projects. This includes a rebrand ID of BBC Two, in which the duo hand cut 1,400 sheets of paper, and various other paper excursions such as Summer and Winter, as part of the self-promotion series, Haphazard Project.
What hasn’t changed, though, is that they’re still based in Poland. “There aren’t many opportunities to work with animation here due to the character of the local market,” says Kasia, “so sometimes we challenge ourselves to work on large-scale live shoots.” This can be seen in the commercial created with Anja Rubik for Samsung and Orange, as well as a film for Panattoni featuring young athletes and “a precisely measured set full of optical illustrations.” We’ve come to learn of the duo as being masters of animation, and not too much has changed in that department either. But one thing to note is that they like to “break new ground”, and get excited about experimenting in a new medium or two. “Especially when the project seemingly does not fit with our portfolio but is still built around a problem we can solve using our experience,” Przemek tells It’s Nice That.
When taking on a brief, Kijek/Adamski will make sure to approach it in the best way possible. Sometimes, they’ll onboard a team of freelancers to assist with larger and more time sensitive projects, and the team will always aim to “reach out to different people depending on the character of the challenge we have ahead of us,” says Kasia. They’re clearly adaptable, not to mention eager to take on new and exciting challenges. Even if they do refer to themselves as “control freaks”, it’s the hard work and collaboration with talented people they enjoy the most. “Receiving bits of subcontracted work is like opening birthday presents,” adds Kasia. “We are aware of our restraints, so we love to collaborate with people who are better than us in certain areas.”
Putting this ethos into practice, a recent piece encompasses their drive for collaboration entirely: that being an episode of Headspace Guide To Sleep – a Netflix series looking at the science behind a good night’s sleep, with tips on how to get it. Kijek/Adamski worked to a “very strict schedule” and, with the timeline in mind, the pair decided to steer away from their signature handcrafted approach. Approaching things slightly different, and making sure not to lose the charm of tactility, they pitched a 3D modelled background instead, “which gave everyone involved a better chance to comment on the designs throughout the process,” says Przemek. With eight 3D animators and clean-up artists at their side, the team succeeded in delivering a wonderfully dynamic animated piece on deadline, where textiles and colour are used to reference the more analogous process they’ve become so well known for. “It was tempting to use this opportunity to animate crazy transitions and dynamic sequences,” adds Kasia, “but since the series concerns sleep and the brief specifically said the object of this was to soothe the viewer to slumber, we avoided the quick pace of the narrative.”
Comparatively, and with a more relaxed schedule, the duo worked on the film Brothers and Sisters Kombucha, wherein they combined stop motion 2D and 3D techniques as a “hint” to the three main ingredients of the fermented drink. By toying with juxtaposition, each style has a purpose as the softer background shapes contrast with the sharp line drawings of the characters – the latter are skateboarding about, watering the plants and meeting for a drink. Following an open brief, Przemek adds: “We only had to reflect the content of the text in our narrative and possibly incorporate the character design from the brand’s logo made by Ola Niepsuj. Obviously, the most rewarding part of the process was preparing the physical objects and this work infused our interest in working more with character design.”
In the near future, the duo plan to finish up a self-initiative project – a nine-minute animated film that’s been in the making for three years. Named Slow Light, they refer to this one as their most “ambitious take on storytelling to date”, but equally it’s the “epitome of our technique-driven approach to narrative,” says Kasia. Featuring a marriage of 2D and stop motion techniques, the film will follow the story of a man who’s stuck in the past, and unable to live in the present. Look out for more to be released very soon!
Kijek/Adamski: Tylko Truck (Copyright © Kijek/Adamski, 2021)
About the Author
Ayla is a London-based freelance writer, editor and consultant specialising in art, photography, design and culture. After joining It’s Nice That in 2017 as editorial assistant, she became online editor in 2022 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. She has written for i-D, Dazed, AnOther, WePresent, Port, Elephant and more, and she is also the managing editor of design magazine Anima.