Young Guns 17: Marcus Armitage
By Brett McKenzie on Nov 04, 2019
Shining a light on the amazing class of Young Guns 17
What happens when you take a jury of 60+ respected creatives, more than 500 entries from all over the globe, and mix them all together for two months of serious consideration, debate and decision-making? Eventually you get the winners of Young Guns 17! This year, The One Club for Creativity is honoring a creatively diverse class of 28 winners, including animators, designers, photographers, illustrators, film directors and editors, all of whom came out of this process as true champions of their craft.
Ahead of the Young Guns 17 Ceremony + Party taking place on November 20, we are featuring the various superstars who will be taking the stage that evening.
First of all, congratulations! Now how did you first discover Young Guns?
I believe it was when I was working with Moth Collective (YG12), doing some of the first professional animation work of my career when they had won.
You're winning Young Guns on your first attempt. Considering this was all new to you, how did decide what you were going to enter?
I have made a number of films, but it has taken me a while to have a portfolio of professional projects that I was proud of and wanted to share. I got to the point where I felt that I had a body of work that represented my abilities and what I wanted to achieve.
Which of the projects that you entered is your personal favorite and why?
My favorite project was the E4 sting New Breed. It was a crazy idea that they bought into, and I had the creative freedom to do it in the way I wanted. It was something new for me, and it was exciting to see where I could take it. It was a technical challenge in terms of the art-working process, but also directing the animation of scenes that I've never animated before and probably never will again. I think everyone working on it had a good laugh, and we were excited to see the end result of their efforts, which is all you can ask for on a project.
One of the highlights of entering Young Guns is the ability to submit personal projects alongside professional ones. I understand you took advantage of this...
Yes, I entered two personal projects. One of them was my graduation film from the Royal College of Art. I made this film because I was experiencing a new way of life after moving from Yorkshire to London. It made me ask questions about race and culture and why other people are afraid of what they don't know. I wanted to explore these ideas, with drawing and color merging to form a powerful narrative.
What was it like to discover that you won YG17?
I was very surprised! I'd actually forgotten I had entered, as I'd been very busy since and hadn't had much time to think about anything else. It's a good feeling to know that other people have seen the work you have put forward, understood it and felt that it deserves the recognition.
How would you describe your creative style?
I think I'm still trying to figure this question out. Sometimes I think it's about using color to create a narrative, but I do recognize the type of fast-paced movement that ends up in all of my projects. I think my process creates this; when a new project comes in, I'm always looking to do something different, that excites me, but inevitably some subconscious ideas always find their way in.
What is your favorite tool when it comes to making what you do, something you’d feel naked without?
My favorite tool is my notebook. I have many and I'm not really fussy about the type. Usually, it's whichever one is closest to me at the time. When I'm working on a new project, all of my ideas go in here. from notes to scribbles. There is never any organization, but by writing things down it helps me work through ideas, even if I never go back into it.
What do you do when you hit a creative wall, when you are stuck for ideas and solutions?
If I'm feeling like this I tend to switch off and stop thinking about animation or filmmaking. There are other things I start paying attention to, like football, or I go back up to Yorkshire and enjoy being outside in the countryside. And when I come back to work, I can see things with fresh eyes and can solve problems much easier.
Who are some of the biggest influences on your work and career?
I've always been interested in painters rather than anyone directly in my field. German expressionists like Kirchner, who I have looked to many times for how they use color. Lowry, who creates these moments that document a landscape and the way of life at that time, I feel this is something that I do in my personal films, creating a snapshot of life at this point. I've learned a lot from my friends at the Royal College of Art. Being surrounded by them for two years gave me insights into many ways of working, as well as the belief in myself to keep experimenting and enjoying creating.
Now that you’re in the Young Guns family, are there any past winners that you look up to and admire?
I was at college with Sophie Gate (YG16) and Nicolas Ménard (YG12) and it was great to be making your work alongside them. Nicolas already had such an immense body of work, and he knew how to make enticing images. And you always knew that Sophie was going to make something crazy that would catch you by surprise.
Name a creative dream that you have yet to fulfill.
I want to make something longer than a short film. I want to push my storytelling abilities and make something not just other animators are going to watch. I've got ideas and it's something I'm working on, I'll have to see how it goes.
Any final thoughts for the Young Guns community?
I'm very grateful to have been recognized like this, and I'm proud of the work that I've produced so far. I hope this will be a stepping stone to making more work that pushes my ideas further and to a wider audience.
WORDS FROM THE JURY
“Marcus’ work immediately jumped out to me in this year's competition. I felt like he had a real solid understanding and truly unique organic movement, camera, and pacing. Each of his works seems to examine different techniques while retaining a personal stamp.”
“His understated palettes and compositions hide in plain sight, while his storytelling takes center stage. Marcus’ dedication to avoiding the obvious is what makes him belong in this class of Young Guns.”
Visual Artist & Director
Young Guns 10 Winner
“Marcus Armitage knows how to immerse you into his films immediately by showing talent on so many levels. He has an in-depth understanding of storytelling by combining animation, sound, and editing that feels fresh and unique and at the same time outrageously effortless. The playful style of his animations works very well with the thoughtful and subtle executed content. He has the ability to explore and capture society in a very emotional way, which makes his work even more authentic, important and relevant these days.”
The Young Guns 17 Ceremony & Party takes place on Thursday, November 20 in New York City.