Erica Gorochow is one of our amazing mentors. She is currently teaching a group of our Class 2 students. She is a freelance director, designer, and animator who calls Brooklyn home. She’s fond of this Emery Hawkins sentiment: “The only limitation in animation is the person doing it. Otherwise there is no limit to what you can do.”
We asked her a couple of questions about her story, work and inspiration. Here is the interview we conducted.
photo by Justin Ouellette
What initially got you interested in motion design?
I went to film school and originally thought I would pursue editing or writing. But at the end of sophmore year I snuck into a history of animation class which exposed me to artists like Oskar Fischinger, Norman Mclaren, Sally Cruikshank and Zbig Rybczynski. I felt there was a strong parallel to this new media I was voraciously consuming: work that was being championed by Justin Cone’s Tween and Res Magazine.
I wanted to be a part of a field that was figuring itself out. I loved that motion design could straddle abstraction, narrative and function. I liked the idea of a project oriented career: experimenting in small, diverse bursts. In comparison to the film industry, I loved that there was minimal hierarchy to start. Do you have a computer? Could you do the work? Great, get going.
What inspires you?
I’m most inspired by community. I love living in Brooklyn. I’ve lived in NY since 2007 and am constantly pumped by friends who are pushing themselves in their own fields.
I’m also really inspired by illustration. There’s something raw about drawing, something you can’t fake. Sure there are PS brushes and textures but there’s some essential, magical translation that has to happen between your brain and the surface. It’s not plugin oriented. (I mean, just look at these smears!)
Presently, I’m also in tune with what’s going on with the indie game world. I’m not a gamer, but I happened to catch a livestream of this year’s Horizon showcase at E3. So much fertile ground for those with animation expertise.
What are your favorite types of projects to take on?
Ideal projects are ones that I personally want to just exist. Videos that support something I value, or believe in. It’s hard to stay fully invested in a project if the end goal feels personally irrelevant. Of course, as a freelancer, it’s easier to create that dissonance: some jobs are inevitably money jobs.
I also place a premium on working with friends, especially if those who have a reciprocal skillset to my own: programmers, cinematographers or musicians for example.
What are your favorite pieces that you’ve worked on?
I really enjoyed working on the Sound Bites series for last year’s Red Bull Music Academy. My small team and I had such an immense amount of freedom, despite a near suicidal timeline. It felt like a motion graphics hack-a-thon. Working from the Red Bull Academy space, we were swollen with inspiration from all the legendary musicians who were moving through. I really wanted everyone involved in the animations to feel proud of the work they were doing.
Writing the script with Casey, Jamie and Adam was like a futurist debate club: what will the film industry be like 10 years from now? It was great to hash things out intellectually, not just visually. I feel aligned to their mission, so, again, it was easy to put myself into the project.
Lastly, I worked on a little mobile project called NYU Mobile with a friend, Sal Randazzo. I was interested in app design so I told Sal, who had just graduated, that I would re-design his app for free. When we launched we got lots of positive feedback from NYU students. We even ended up licensing our app directly to NYU. When I look at it the app now, it’s quite outdated. But more importantly, I found a lasting collaborator in my developer.
What are you excited about looking forward?
This September, I’m joining New Inc., one of the first museum-lead incubators. I’m excited to see what the community will yield. I’m constantly thinking about motion graphic’s next wave and I think this is a great space to explore those questions.
I also have a few projects that I hope to get out before the end of the year, including continued collaborations with Electric Objects.
Any advice for aspiring motion artists?
One thing I’ve learned, and am still learning, is that you become known for the work you put out there. That might seem obvious, but if you post a bunch of end-tags, it will probably beget calls to make logos twist and shine. You’re in charge of how your career unfolds. If you want to be paid for a certain kind of work, you have to be the one to take that first, concrete step in whatever direction you want to head. Invest in yourself.
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Tags: Motion Graphics, Motion Design, Online School for Motion Graphics, Motion Graphics Courses