“We mostly do design animation film for fashion. I think over the last two years all our clients have been fashion clients,” Carl Burgess says. In the two years that Carl and his business partner Tom Darracott have been working together as a motion and design studio under the near-ungoogleable moniker More and More, the aesthetic of fashion advertising has shifted. When they began “animation and 3D and this whole digital world wasn’t really embraced in fashion,” Carl tells me. “It’s just grown massively.”
He’s being modest: take one look at the people behind that “massive” growth and you’ll find More and More leading the way. Whether making work for Nike, Mercedes Benz, Prada, Chanel, H&M, Wallpaper, Moncler or Stella McCartney, the studio’s reputation for making mesmersingly satisfying work precedes them. And, with such a stellar client list, in August More and More did what any incredibly successful studio would do and, er, stopped producing commercial work altogether.
“The project was partially driven by constantly working on client jobs back to back for years and wanting to do something totally different,” Carl explains. “It was also driven by wanting to really challenge ourselves, because I think when you get commercial briefs in all the time and you’re doing them so much, they almost become easy.”
For 50 days between August and September, More and More decided to shut its studio doors and concentrate firmly on their most terrifying brief yet: creating unfiltered creative ideas. “The only brief we had is to make anything whenever we felt like, no matter what it was.” Putting a cool “40 grand or so” into the project, Tom and Carl vowed to spent their time and money on the creation of as many ideas as they muster, a creative catharsis following years of long and increasingly predictable client jobs.
“There was nothing behind it other than acting totally on impulse and letting what was inside come out in a really natural way,” Carl says. “Because I think when you stop and think ‘Is this good?’ then it stops you doing it. In this way, everything came out. There were a lot of unexpected ideas. I thought it would be really hard [to come up with them], but we had more ideas than we could ever make. We couldn’t make them fast enough. Some of the renders in the project took an hour, some of them took a few days. It was just keeping up that pace of just working and working non-stop.” Over the fifty day-long project, the duo produced “hundreds and hundreds” of renders across 25 or 30 ideas.
Among them were a hyper-real sloppy rotating peach, patches of fur animated to look as if they are being blown by a dryer and inflatables slowly pumped full of air. The inflatables were Tom and Carl’s favourites. “It was a technical leap I think,” Carl says, “something I hadn’t seen people do before.” Here, Carl hits straight to the crux of the project: “When you’re doing something that all comes from you with no client in the middle, there are no excuses. What you show is a direct representation of what you’re making, so you have to make it good!”
50 days became more than a creative challenge for More and More: it provided Tom and Carl with insight for the first time into their own dynamic. “We did the whole thing to learn about our creative process. What would you make if you could make anything? What naturally comes out? We learnt absolutely loads about the way we work, how we approach things: our thinking. I think this fundamentally changed how we’re going to work and approach things in the future. The speed with which we worked — going headlong straight into something straightaway without thinking too much, that worked really well. Using your intuition, just going for it, not planning or thinking about it.”
In future, I wonder, will they revisit 50 Days? “I don’t want to do any more client work! I’m just going to be an artist I think,” Carl laughs before pausing to think. “One thing that’s continued from it is that we’ve set up an Instagram. That’s a really easy way to continue the same thing, because we kind of tweak and evolve what we’ve already done. What you put up on there doesn’t really matter because it’s there and gone.”