“There is no excuse for you to be anything other than the maddest form of your own self expression”: Sophie Koko Gate takes on Rick and Morty

Take a dip into the weird and wonderful imagination of Sophie Koko Gate and her latest (and most gnarly) animation creations.

Date
17 March 2020
Reading Time
3 minutes

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So here we are INT reader friends, somewhere that doesn’t seem quite real but extremely uncertain. These are strange and scary times, but hopefully these mighty doses of mind-boggling creativity can provide some sort of relief. I, for one, am always perked up by the weird and wonderful works (and words) of Sophie Koko Gate. She’s no stranger to us over here, famous for causing that spine-tingling sensation through a number of rather gnarly animations like Love for instance.

The last time we featured the lovely Sophie, she was living in Berlin and, in her words, “thinking a lot about slug sex” while being “swept up by two beautiful German women who introduced me to their world”. It was the start of a new film titled Slug Life, something that started in Berlin and was finished “in a dungeon in London.” It’s part of a move in Sophie’s career to focus more on making films and animations for TV rather than commercials, perhaps another reason as to why her style has gone “even more inward and gnarly.”

Fundamentally, now she is drawing for her, instead of for other people and what they might want to see. “It’s a relief actually,” she tells It’s Nice That of this creative pivot, “I also discovered that I have shellfish intolerance which is really strange because I’ve always wanted to be allergic to shellfish.” It’s a feat that used to appear in her drawings frequently, as one of her characters is also allergic but can’t seem to stop herself from eating the fruits of the sea, a trait that Sophie always found very funny.

Amongst these very Sophie-esque bits and bobs, she has also been working on a project for the one and only Rick and Morty, a venture she was invited to pitch for by Anca Vlasan at Adult Swim. At the time, Sophie was in New York, “I had fallen in love” she tells us charmingly of her time in the big apple. In turn, she pitched a mini series, of which three episodes were commissioned. Immersed in a hub of “brilliant animators who are without a doubt, from another planet,” Roof Studios came on board to produce the episodes with otherworldly skills, colliding harmoniously with the impact of Sophie’s imagination.

The idea behind the mini series was to explore what Rick and Morty did when “off duty”, waiting for season four to be released. They are contained in a rehab-like resort where doctors keep an eye on them – a scenario that doesn’t seem all too distant from our current climate – except Rick and Morty’s activities are a whole lot more pleasant. They spend their time floating on water, catching butterflies, and brunching of course, but, in true Rick and Morty style “things always get a bit fucked up because the characters can never escape the madness of their own brains.” Sophie adds insightfully on her creation: “A relaxed mind is a dangerous thing for the unhinged – forever haunted by the memories of the last three seasons.”

Describing Adult Swim as “a dream to work with,” the collaboration suited Sophie’s surreal way of working very well. For the animator now based in south east London, the most challenging aspect of the production was the “feeling like there was no limit to what you can do.” She adds, “there is no excuse for you to be anything other than the maddest form of your own self expression,” an attitude which whole heartedly encompasses Sophie’s original artistry. “Sometimes I feel like I need someone to tell me off for me to make anything good. Is that sexy?”

GallerySophie Koko Gate

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Ricky and Morty

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Ricky and Morty

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Slug Life

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Slug Life

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Slug Life

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Slug Life

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Slug Life

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Sophie Koko Gate: Slug Life

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About the Author

Jyni Ong

Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.

jo@itsnicethat.com

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