Phil Zwijsen's Time Chase - Behind The Scenes Interview!
A day after the Berlin premiere and only a couple of days before the online release of "Phil Zwijsen's Time Chase" we caught up with graphic artist Vincent Guillermin and filmer Paul Labadie to discuss the behind the scenes work that went into this project.
Hey Vincent, Paul. Both of you worked a lot on Phil Zwijsen's Time Chase video part, we just saw the avant premiere yesterday. Are you guys happy with the result?
P: Yes very happy.
V: Yes, really. It was a good mission.
P: Stoked. Haha, "stoked".
Vincent, this interview is focusing on the graphic artwork you did in the clip. Could you explain the basics of what you did?
V: Yes. I did everything by hand. I use the old Walt Disney technique.This means I use a lightbox and tracing paper and do all the drawings by hand. I use screenshots of the video and start drawing over them on the tracing paper. When that is done I trace it all again on white paper with clear lines and add some color.
How many drawings did you do in total, for the whole clip?
V: There were 739 separate pages of finished drawings for about a minute of animation.
Do you follow Paul's frame rate? 25 frames per second?
V: Yes, I did. I think sometimes I could've done less drawings and had the same result, I'm not sure. This is the first time I've used this technique, and it works.
How do you get those drawings onto the actual video?
V: I do all my drawings, scan them, clean them up in photoshop and send them to Paul. He then puts them into the edit.
Was this the first time you worked with video images?
What do you usually do? I've seen a bit of your prior work but not much.
V: I do sculptures and paintings, I often work for theater and dance companies.
How did you get involved in this project?
V: I know Paul from Lyon. We met a long time ago, maybe six or seven years.
You used to skate as well?
V: Yes, I skated when I was very young and lived in Lyon. When I was twelve years old my mother and I moved to the countryside, where there wasn't really a skatepark or a lot of concrete, so I quit skating then. When I moved back to Lyon I lived in "La Friche", a giant space where a lot of artists had studios.
Is that where Hugo Liard lived?
V: Yes. The place was so huge that I needed a skateboard to go from my studio to the toilets, that's how I got back into skating.
V: Yeah. The skate scene in Lyon wasn't really my thing, so I built some small obstacles next to my studio and skated there. One day I saw the Cliché team and Hugo and they skated my shitty obstacles with me, the whole night long, that's when I met Hugo. After that Antiz had a mini ramp that needed a new place so they called me to ask if they could put it next to my studio.
Was that the wide steep mini ramp?
P: It wasn't as wide in the beginning. They moved it from a small basement in the city to La Friche and made it bigger there.
Oh okay. That was you! So you're the guy that built a shack for a homeless guy once? I remember Paul showed me some of your work a couple of years ago.
V: Yes that's me! I like to work in the streets.
P: He's also famous as the master of ceremony of Antiz' OAF video.
Besides that, was this project the first time you mixed your art with skateboarding?
V: Not really, in La Friche we built some cheap decors for OAF. I worked on an exhibition with Steve here in Berlin as well, two or three years ago. He invited me to do a sculpture so I built a huge wheel with arms. Just like the arms we used in the videopart.
Okay, so that idea existed already.
V: Yes, usually I put huge arms on trees, I like that. A huge tree with big arms, it adds something human to it. This project was the first time I was so involved, though.
What was the thought process for the animations in Time Chase? Was Phil involved?
V: I talked to Phil, Paul and Bertrand a lot during the process.
P: We spent a week together in Lyon as well. During this week all the sculptures were built.
V: That's when we tried to find the red line. In the start we were planning to play with moving architecture a bit more, like the curbs in the beginning of the video. The first tries we did for the drawings didn't really work out. I kind of had to change my technique, I actually learned how to use photoshop for this. I learned a lot of things, it was a crazy mission.
P: I knew a couple of basic things already but I got a lot more familiar to photoshop as well. A lot of drawings I had to retouch or redraw. Stupid stuff, like the cigarette animation, it was drawn on a white sheet, so in photoshop when I removed the white of the paper, I had to fill in the cigarette again.
I really liked this one actually, the cigarette.
P :Yeah, that's one of the things that are really a part of Phil's personality. Stressing about cigarettes, things like that. We didn't really have a concept at first, but while doing it, it came together. Something chasing him, and him running away. Quitting smoking, starting again, feeling really strongly about both. He really is chasing time, and has his demons.
I think the name fits really well. Whenever I meet up with Phil to go skate my day goes from normal to being in a hurry.
P: We had a whole list of names, and stuck to that one. Time Chase, it fits him.
- Interview by Bram De Cleen.
Vincent Guillermin is an independent artist from Lyon, France.
Paul Labadie is Antiz skateboards' staff filmer, regularly contributes to Soma Magazine and recently started his own griptape brand Ashes. He has worked for Carhartt WIP many times over the last years, most recently with his "Swiss Banks" edit.