Ones to Watch 2017: director Nicos Livesey
It’s Nice That’s Ones to Watch is our chance to showcase 12 creatives who we think will be making an impact in 2017. The people featured have been whittled down from a global pool of creative talent and have been chosen for their ability to consistently produce inspiring and engaging work. Each one practices across a diverse range of disciplines and continually pushes the boundaries of their creative output. Ones to Watch 2017 is supported by Uniqlo.
We caught up with each of our Ones to Watch, to talk about their work so far and their hopes for the year to come.
We first encountered London-based animation director Nicos Livesey back when he was freelancing at creative agency Mother London’s in-house production arm Bosh. But it was in 2014 when he made Tharsis Sleeps, a mesmerising stop motion music video for metal band Throne that Nicos’ unrivalled eye for detail emerged.
Not content with being Throne’s singer and guitar player, Nicos became the band’s official director-cum-seamstress. Using an anxiety-inducing 45 million stitches, he sewed over three thousand A5-sized frames, a process which took Nicos the best part of eight months. The resulting music video, animated in tandem with Tom Bunker and aired as part of Channel 4’s Random Acts, told the story of the band making an epic voyage to Mars to drop a nuclear bomb into a volcano.
Next, Nicos directed and produced the intensely psychedelic Glore for American punk band Radkey with the ongoing support of Channel 4’s Random Acts. Again, the video was labour intensive to the point of masochism. With the help of a nearly 20 friends-turned-model makers, inspired by Beavis and Butthead, Nicos moulded all three band members to make up his characteristically bonkers claymation. The two-minute film took ten weeks to craft and used over 435 blocks of clay weighing over 217,000 grams.
A hard act to follow maybe, until Nicos, who recently signed to production heavyweight Blink Ink, rose to the challenge with a commercial project, an equally trippy “juicy intermission” commercial for sweet company Maynards Bassetts. “It was a nice little 20 second spot for Maynards Bassetts’ new sweet Juicy Chews, which It’s Nice That featured,” Nicos tells us of the project. “I was given totally free reign – within reason – as long as the film represented ‘juicy’. It was a stop motion shot entirely in camera and completely made out of icing and jelly. Everything was edible. Wizards, spaceships, goofy characters, all free flowing in a stream of consciousness. I worked with a core team from my Radkey music video and got to further explore working with a multiplane and automated DMX lighting. It was a smooth running project with good vibes and I look back at it now and dig it. It helped me realise I don’t have to nearly kill myself to make something good, and having good vibes with a crew is key to that.”
His off-kilter world is inspired by “Bruce Bickford, Heavy Metal, The Simpsons, Cactus Jack, Woodworkers, Welders, glass blowers and Ray Mears,” he says. “Exploring new things and environments and letting that seep into my work unconsciously is what inspires me really.” As for 2017, Nicos tells us: “I’m excited to move forward and settle into a few new environments: a little workshop-type space allowing me to explore tangible processes. Sculpt, paint, sew, stain glass, wood burn. Take these things into new directions. As well as pushing forward a few ideas for some short form cartoons and series. Make some music videos and make some music. Collaborate.” He’s also hoping to put on an exhibition and, of course, continue to develop his now signature style. “There are a few things in the burner that, if they fall into place, could spawn some epic stop motion.”