Alex Turvey is firstly a film director and secondly a visual artist. Hailed as one of ‘Fashion’s New Generation' in April 2011 by Vogue UK as well as one of the '15 people who will definethe future of arts in Britain' by The Independent, his dark and highly stylized aesthetic has been applied to music promos, fashion films, commercials and installations. We caught up with the multi-tasking creative in preparation for his Solo Show in collaboration with Fuck Buttons side-project Blanck Mass.
Still from a Shakira / SEAT video directed by Alex
Hi Alex, how did you become a film director/visual artist?
I had a very creative upbringing, as my mother is a costume/textile designer and my father an illustrator. I spent most of my childhood clambering around in both their studios, sticking Letraset to walls or airbrushing spaceships and WWF heroes onto any white surface I could get my hands on. For as long as I can remember this is what I’ve loved and known that I was going to do. In fact I recently found some photos of me at my Dad’s studio, aged six, wearing nothing but a vest, a blond mullet and wielding a golden sword, a boombox and a tripod (which I actually still use today).
You have a very strong and graphic visual style, what would you say inspires it?
I think the composition of the imagery I use within my film work is a direct product of my design background, It was also pointed out to me recently that my end product is scarily accurate to my story boarding, I think I must set subconscious rules and bounds.
Still from the Blanck Mass set at ATP, with visuals by Alex
What has been your favourite project to date and what was the thought process behind it?
Each project is an adventure, and brings new experiences to my life. It isn't possible to pick one, I learn from them all and feel very lucky to be doing what I love for a job.
What do you enjoy more – making fashion films or music videos?
I think the boundaries are fairly blurred between my approach to fashion films, music videos, short films and even design. I don't direct traditional performance videos, all of my films are driven by a narrative no matter how surreal that may be and at the same time nearly all of my work is driven by music.
Do you create the props and installations yourself?
I’m very hands on and design everything down to the tiniest detail. Depending on the process I wish to explore, I will work closely with a specialist to realise the design if I don't have the skills to myself.
We Have Band - Where Are Your People? directed by Alex
If you had an unlimited budget what would you create?
A REAL sci-fi epic. All effects in camera, outrageous sets, way too many prosthetics and an anti-gravity sex scene.
Sounds wicked! What do you like most about what you do?
Bringing ideas to life.
Tell us about your show with Blanck Mass, what can we expect?
For Hollow Earth, I developed a series of psychedelic moving image pieces. They began life as a visual journey created to accompany the live performances of Blanck Mass. The jarring and hypnotic sequences utilise CGI techniques to create a surreal journey that mimics the gestation of an alien life, from a small metallic stone into a contorted entity that then travels over kaleidoscopic, volcanic landscapes.
Hollow Earth Exhibition Trailer.
The birth of the ‘growth’ originated entirely as an instinctive visual response to the beautiful complexity of Blanck Mass’s soundscapes. There was never a predetermined style for the visuals and each stage was unplanned, allowing the form to be molded by an instinctive programme in response to sound, rather than as part of an overt design master plan.
A combination of hyperreal CGI and vividly manipulated archive footage of the natural world was combined to create a jarring juxtaposition between ancient and alien imagery, presented across a sequence of hypnotic absorbing vignettes.
The sequences exhibited will be displayed in immersive 3D format, accompanied by original soundscapes created by Blanck Mass especially for the exhibition. This series in the first chapter of visuals, which I plan, develop as the Blanck Mass live set grows. The second chapter will take on an entirely different style & approach, which will include a live action short sci-fi film.
Well then. Catch Alex Turvey’s ‘Hollow Earth’ show from 4th – 27th May at KK Outlet in Hoxton to see that all unfold before your very eyes.