Eric Edwards is a creator. He has created award-winning spots, Superbowl commercials and short films. His work is on display at the Guggenheim and on screens large and small. His latest project, 'Galactic', is part of The New Blank’s Looper Project - an opportunity for creators at the studio to visualise a theme - in this instance, 'Emergence' - to keep the inspiration fires burning.
Ever since Eric was a kid he would seek out beauty in the world where no one else would see it, finding perfection in the mundane and manipulating it in with a vision that was uniquely his. Where many saw a set of stairs behind Davidson High School Eric found a colossal challenge that he was determined to beat, he sat at the foot of those stairs envisioning his hard-flip down the Davidson 6. Beat up, bloody, and hurting everywhere, Eric’s imagination succeeded in turning something mundane into something beautiful. Neither the landscape nor the group of friends around him would ever see that site the same, it had been elevated.
The New Blank spoke with Eric about the Looper Project, his film 'Galactic' and finding beauty and inspiration in what might initially appear ordinary.
Q > Love the story on your bio about seeking out beauty where no-one else can see it - what or who shaped this perspective?
Eric Edwards > I think that came from when I was 14, we moved to a small town where I didn’t know anyone for a long time and had to figure out ways to entertain myself. It was then that I got into art and design. I also grew up an avid film fan. That was something that my family did together. All kinds of movies from horror to serious drama. Some of the best movies and TV shows are about finding beauty in the mundane; 'Mr. Rogers', 'American Beauty'.
Q > How did you hone that spirit of imagination into what you do today?
Eric > I guess by trying to keep things fresh where you can and create work that I would want to see. For me I personally like to try and make things more edgy where you can because so much of what you see in the motion graphics world is so G rated and safe.
Q > What are a few influences on your work within the design or animation space?
Eric > I started at a time when companies like MK12 and Pleix were king and they definitely inspired me in the beginning. I was also influenced by the classic graphic design masters like Herb Lubalin and Milton Glaser. However, with the world the way it is currently, we are bombarded with new, amazing art and design on a constant stream coming from all directions so I am steadily influenced by so many that I can’t keep track of all the names.
Q > What outside influences also carry great impact?
Eric > I’m a big fan of movies and TV and especially genre stuff like horror and sci-fi - Heavy Metal, Bladerunner 2049, River’s Edge, Lovecraft Country, MTV’s AMP from the 90s, Watchman, Lovecraft Country, Twin Peaks to name a few.
Q > Getting to 'Galactic', how did you decide to approach the Looper Project and why?
Eric > The overall project was a seed idea that Bobby came up with as a starting point for smaller projects to feed into. For the theme Emergence, I thought of the idea of an astronaut emerging from his planet and venturing into the unknown. With my love of horror intact, I decided that his fate would be less than ideal which is finally a metaphor for our emergence from quarantine.
Q > Do you use TikTok or other apps that leverage looping / animated media / video content? If so, what are your favourites and why?
I actually only use Instagram
as far as an app that loops its content goes. There are a lot of great artists on there that I follow so it’s nice to see a steady stream of creativity. It can impart the sense that everything is so temporary - a quick view of something that took many, many hours. I also enjoy sites like The Jealous Curator
and New Atlas
Q > How has the pandemic affected you personally (only as much as you want to share)?
Eric > I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t lost any loved ones or known very many people who have gotten sick, but I am definitely ready to go back to the studio and stop working from home.
Q > Despite the things TNB does to keep things fresh and connected, what do you miss about human-to-human interaction when it comes to work?
Eric > The ease of walking around and looking at work and discussing in person is much faster than remote. Also, we had a lot of fun talking and joking around and walking around venturing out to get lunch and run errands.
Q > What makes The New Blank a team - or why is The New Blank a right match for you as a work community?
Eric > I’ve worked at a number of different motion design companies and Blank by far has been the best and that’s because everyone is very easy to get along with and we work together well.