SV Showcase: Campbell Logan

On July 13, 2017, StandardVision premiered its latest installment in the SV Showcase series – Summer Sweet Wave curated by Campbell Logan. For Logan, curating Summer Sweet Wave was a completely new experience. With a background that ranges from physics to being a classically trained soprano, Logan has a lot on his plate. We had the chance to sit down and talk with him about his past, music, art school, and what he has on deck for the future.

For the showcase, you chose FLOAT and Steve Smith. You all know each other from previous projects and collectives, but why did you decide to put everyone together in this showcase?

I’ve always wanted to have a show with them. FLOAT and I both have a similar visual aesthetic and like making low poly 3D artwork. They make really cool work and put a lot of effort into each project, so I knew they’d make something really great for the showcase. For Steve, his pieces are highly technical, but also really comedic so I thought those two would have a good correlation to what Orion Beach is all about.

How did you get into working in VR?

Well, the thing is, when I was a kid I wanted to make film, but I also wanted to make video games. I didn’t really understand if I could even do the two things. Turns out you kind of can, which I kind of learned later on going into 3d animation and compositing. I mean all these programs kind of work the same, you know, it’s just keyframing. So I never thought it was any feasible kind of career going into games until I made Orion Beach. I made a lot of contacts, and met a lot of cool artists. I talked to this one dude, and he said “what’s next for you? what would you really like to do?” I was like “it’d be tight to make this thing into a video game.”

It’s a music video that you want to play

Yeah, exactly

So for Orion Beach you used rotoscoping, a hundred year old technique.

So rotoscoping was a technique that, I don’t think Disney developed, but they definitely appropriated it and started using it all the time. They would film actors moving and draw an image based on the footage. So in all those animated features, there’s an actual Snow White – footage of an actual actress moving around. The animators would take that footage and draw it frame by frame to create motion. There’s a really funny video of all my friends in my living room pretending they’re riding their jet skis that I worked from.

What are you inspired by?

I’m really inspired by one form of art influencing another.  Like crossing senses  – or synesthesia. When I work on music videos, I kinda meditate on the music until I see stuff in my head and then come up with some kind of core concept.  All without drugs mind you.  After that I talk to artists about their inspiration and try and blend that into what I’ve come up with.

How did you get started with film/video?

I was lucky enough to have had the advantage of having a filmmaker as a father. He worked doing visual effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, Tron, and a lot of other films. I could always ask him questions and learn through him, especially when he gave me Final Cut Pro when I was about 11. I also had a digital camcorder and made a lot of videos on my ancient candy blue iMac. I always knew I wanted to work in film in some capacity.

How did you go from film to digital art?

Well, I actually started school at SF State in their film program, then sidetracked and got really into physics. I also had a band at the time and was really inspired to make a ton of art.  That kind of launched me into making a bunch of dumb little animated music videos for my band.  The videos were way better than the songs so I decided to focus more on that.  Now my physics background plays a large part in my practice working with simulation for VR and stuff.   I moved back to Los Angeles and came up with a plan. I taught myself 3D Animation and applied to the Experimental Animation program at CalArts. It’s a pretty loose program, so I used it to create a video art curriculum for myself with a focus on using computer animation software.

What’s next for you?

I mean, StandardVision is sick, it’s allowing me to really grow as an artist. I have the flexibility to learn and try new stuff. 3D is very similar to architecture and sculpture design, so I’m able to learn about a whole other design medium. Hope to make a few cool music videos and VR experiences as well.

You can see more of Campbell’s work on his website and Vimeo, and catch Orion Beach through September 3 on the SVLA1 screen.