Interview with Gideon Baws (RIP 2008) from Shynola

Old interview (2004) with Gideon Baws for vacuum! magazine. Gideon was one of 4 persons that started Shynola. Shynola is a UK based creative collective. Unfortunately, Gideon passed away in 2008, but he leaves a number of very fine creations behind.

Hello Gideon! Please enlighten us. Who are you and what is your purpose on this planet?
Gideon: If I knew that, I would be more successful. I make videos, and so far it looks like that is what I am good for. Though I can cook ok too…

What’s a Shynola?
Gideon: A four headed contrary video excreting mammal.

Shynola is a foursome, consisting out of 4 close friends? Isn’t it difficult to work together with friends? Or do you all complement each other?
Gideon: Good and bad. I think we all benefit from this way of working, otherwise we would not have put up with the downside, which is having a 4-way marriage of opinionated blokes.

You worked together with David Shrigley for a Blur movie? By the looks of his site, he has done the drawing? What was Shynola’s part in this? I must say it’s a very emotional, and both funny movie…
Gideon: David is a genius, whose work is somewhere between art, cartoon, and napkin sketch. We wanted to work with him, as we are big fans. Essentially, he thought of the video, and we made it move.

What was the first movie you ever did, except the school projects…?
Gideon: Some short tv moving backgrounds (interstitials if you want to be fancy) for an animation show on Channel 4.

Clients can sometimes be a pain. Have you ever met clients you wish they never asked you do a job for them?
Gideon: Clients are ALWAYS a pain, to a greater or lesser extent. One day we will work out a way to eliminate them from the picture, and live happily ever after….

The least I can say about the style used for your website, is that it’s amusing. Did you all do it yourself, or is someone else responsible for the webdesign?
Gideon: Who would be able to charge for the nonsense on our website? For some reason, we find it important to be hands on, a real cottage industry. Sometimes it is a pain in the ass.

The movie-clip for Junior Senior is just marvellous. Who’s idea was it to make it like that? The band’s idea? The label’s? Or yours?
Gideon: We pitched that pixellated idea to loads of artists over the years. Jnr Snr were the first ones to say yes.

What software do you use for creating such movies?
Gideon: A mix of all kinds, from top of the line Maya, to weird old Deluxe Paint.

Deluxe Paint? I actually never heard about that program. Do you have to animate everything scene by scene like in cartoon movies?
Gideon: Yes and no, we cut soe corners, but essentially you have to draw each pixel on each frame. It was the first piece of computer art software anyone of us used. We bonded over it, you might say.

Do you mostly have full responsibilty on the design? Or do clients come at you and say how they want something to look like?
Gideon: We control the design fully. Clients have right of approval, of course, but we never take on a job where there are limitations like that.

The list of awards you received seems a real motivator. Can you tell us something about the award you’re most proud of?
Gideon: The first awards were exciting, because it seemed “showbiz”. Now we know better, and go for the booze…

Which of all clients, is the best to work with?
Gideon: Radiohead were our dream band, so talented, and so open to ideas. Hopefully we can work with them again one day.

You also have personal tshirts for sale. Can you tell us something about them? Will there be more merchandising in the future?
Gideon: We look at it as just having fun. we always wanted to try lots of different things, and we are all big tshirt collectors, so why not? I don’t know how much of a business decision it was. Rather than merchandising in the obvious sense, we will try to do other things that are fun, but which might make people sit up and notice us.

You four met at Kent Institure of Art and Design, how’s this school like? Was it the perfect step for professionalism, or did you learn everything by yourself and was the education just a guideline?
Gideon: We didn’t respect it at all. We had a tutor we loved, and who taught us good ways to criticise work. This really helped us to work as a creative team. but other than that, we feel pretty much self taught.

What’s your biggest dream, the goal you want to achieve?
Gideon: We all really want to make a film. You can’t make music videos forever.

I’m afraid that’s it. Thanks a lot for the chance to ask some questions, and good luck with Shynola!

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