Lewis Heriz is a cross-disciplinary artist and filmmaker from Suffolk, UK, now based in Shropshire.
He comes to his animation practice from a background first in music and theatre, then grassroots music promotion. From the latter grew a decade-or-so-long stint in graphic art and illustration, with a heavy weighting on record cover and poster design for labels such as Soundway, Sofrito, Strut, and Now-Again/Stones Throw, and artists such as the Sun Ra Arkestra. The ‘manufactured synaesthesia’ approach he applied to music visuals led him to see animation – with its fusion of sound and image through time – as a natural progression, and spent his MA at the RCA investigating an expanded approach to the form.
I have come to see animation as an integrated system for thinking and making, rather than a single practice or product. The term 'animation' expands and contracts in context; sometimes specifically a repetitive mode of creating 'time-based art', in others an all-pervasive ecosystem of audiovisual techniques and technologies that our entire society engages with on a daily basis.
My current direction draws as much from artist's moving image as it does from more traditional notions of animation, and my interest in non-hierarchical collaboration is partly in response to the negative experience of individual competition associated with freelance labour.
My focus on physical, material and tactile process intensified during the sensorially-deprived period of lockdown in 2020. To hold materiality as being central to one’s day in a hyperdigital era is to appreciate the centrality of embodied cognition in being human: to recognise the temporal nature of neural structures whose organising principle is grounded in the relationship between the Here and the Now.
Agency is key to being an artist, just as it is key to being a human. My MA research has encompassed questions of loss of agency within the (current) digital economy, and has brought me to a belief that a rejection of pervasive trends of surveillance, extraction and behavioural manipulation in Big Tech is essential to maintaining a healthy relationship with the world; one that’s rooted in physics, material properties, embodied cognition, relativity, multi-sensory experience and genuine sustainability.
The time of writing - May 2022 - feels like a period of transition out of a period of transition, but by the end of the year I hope to be back in a studio again. I am nonetheless working on multiple animation projects that should begin to materialise in 2023. I'm not currently taking on freelance commission work, although I am interested to hear of any collaborations that may feel right, and always happy to chat with anyone wanting to discuss work.
Select Clients and Collaborators:
PSHE Association, San Francisco Jazz Festival, Curzon/Artificial Eye, Bloomsbury, Open City Documentary Festival, Simon & Schuster, Serpent’s Tail, Dartmouth Films, Canongate Books, Soundway Records, Sofrito, Howling Hops, Stones Throw & Now-Again Records, Red Bull Music Academy, Strut Records, Analog Africa, The Heritage Arts Company
Visiting Lecturer ▻ MA Animation, Royal College of Art
Visiting Lecturer ▻ Handmade Film, Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts
Director & Animator ▻ Don Leisure feat. Gruff Rhys, Neon Drizzle (Hotel Shaboo) (First Word Records)
Art Director & Designer ▻ Fully Human (PSHE Association)
Graphic Artist ▻ Soundway Records
Graphic Artist ▻ Strut Records
Art Director & Graphic Artist ▻ Sofrito
Director & Animator ▻ Promotional campaign for the publication of The Octopus Man by Jasper Gibson
Animator ▻ Ice Sellers (Dir. João Gonzalez)
Animator ▻ The Dog With Wings (Dir. Sanjana Chandrasekhar)
Animator (Clean-up/Inbetween) ▻ Eating in the Dark (Dir. Inari Sirola)
Musician (Trombone) ▻ Help Me It's Dark In Here (Dir. James Cheetham)
Art Director/Graphic Artist ▻ SFJAZZ Summer Sessions, San Francisco Jazz Festival (postponed to 2022 due to Covid19)
Graphic Artist ▻ Hundred House Coffee print collaboration
Graphic Artist ▻ Agnes Varda: Gleaning Truths season campaign (Curzon Cinemas/Artificial Eye)
Art Director/Graphic Artist ▻ Now-Again/Stones Throw
Official Selection, Annecy International Animation Festival, So Long (We Dreamt of This), Graduation Films Programme 1
Official Selection, EFEA - Experimental Film East Anglia, So Long (We Dreamt of This)
Hot Sun, Late Sun: Modernism Untamed, Fondation Vincent Van Gogh, Arles
Vinyl Factory (2) - Sun Ra Arkestra covers
Rough Trade Solo Show, Nottingham
Awards for BEST EXPERIMENTAL SHORT and EXPERIMENTAL VISUAL APPROACH, EFEA - Experimental Film East Anglia
MA Scholarship Grant, Leverhulme Charity Trades Trust (supporting attendance at RCA Animation programme)
First Class (Hons) BA English Studies, University of Nottingham
MA Animation ▻ Royal College of Art, London, UK
Dissertation: 'An Image, Moved: Time-Pressure, Performed Transcription and The Human in Handmade Film'
Gateway Into Industry ▻ Aardman Academy
BA English Studies ▻ University of Nottingham, UK
All content © Lewis Heriz 2022