“I never thought I’d be doing this as a job. I’m so happy that I am,” Hackney-based video artist-director Natalia Stuyk tells me of her career making mind-bendingly disorientating visuals. After studying animation at university, Natalia was working in advertising when she began making music videos for friends of friends. “Then, over a glass of wine, a good friend of mine convinced me to take a chance and quit my job and give it a go full-time. It’s just got better and better ever since!”
So far, she has made music videos, fashion films, shorts and GIFs for musicians and DJs including How To Dress Well, Trim + James Blake, Crystal Fighters, Basement Jaxx and Annie Mac, brands such as Kenzo, MAC, Henry Holland, Topman and publications including Vogue and iD. A die-hard Arsenal fan, she has also made a short film for Nike’s Risk Everything campaign featuring neon-hued VHS footage of Ian Wright spliced with commentary by Arsene Wenger.
But when making visual loops that extend into infinity, where do you begin? “My process is a weird one,’ Natalia admits, “because with every project I try and learn something new. So I am always challenging myself. I generally start off with music or an audio loop and certain sounds will look a certain way to me and the video will start to take shape. It’s mostly problem-solving to create whatever is in my head.”
This summer, Natalia has been working on a series of 3D video collages based on photographs she took at the Barbican conservatory. In tropically-tinged “Touch”, oblong shapes coated in exotic pink-flowered palms interlock on a mustard-coloured background to form ever-changing grid shapes. Another just-released video titled “Ž” takes the viewer on an intergalactic trip through a web of multicoloured, palm-patterned light beams. In a third animation, “Bloom”, a stargazer lily rotates, morphs and flickers its way between abstract shapes.
“I’ve been working on a lot of projects for beauty campaigns recently,” Natalia says, “which is a welcome change from music videos. I think I’ve retired from them now. I’m working until the end of November but hopefully I’ll get some time to finish a series of 360° audiovisual loops that are a kind of tongue-in-cheek look at mindfulness. And hopefully next year I’ll be doing more events-based IRL work — I’m getting tired of staring at a screen all day!” We’re as captivated as ever.
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