Artist Spotlight: Magdalena Osinska
We spoke with director Magdalena Osinska about her background, inspirations and what makes her tick as an artist.
1. How did start out in the industry and what is your role at Aardman?
I studied a lot! Seven years all together of MA studies, but the advantage of this was lots of short films and experimenting before arriving on the professional scene. I graduated from the Polish National Film School in Lodz and NFTS in UK. After graduation I was very lucky to be offered a chance to direct a short film ‘Spirits of the Piano‘ as my first professional undertaking. It’s about two spirits – a skeleton flying fish and half heron half giraffe who bring a broken Flying piano back to life. The film was screened prior to the feature project ‘The Flying Machine’ produced by Breakthru Films – ‘Peter and the Wolf’ creators – and featured Chopin music performed by Lang Lang. I wanted the film to be a visual feast, and I was very lucky to be able to make this film in 3D stereoscopy which enhanced the rich landscapes inside the piano. Since then I’ve been developing my feature films ‘Jasia‘ and ‘Pelican’ as well as working with The World of Arthur Cox, Illuminated Films and Aardman, undertaking different roles such as set dresser on ‘The Pirates! in Adventure with Scientists’, render artist/bg animator on ‘The Itch of the Golden Nit’ and finally I became a director for commercials a year and half ago.
2. To date, what has been your biggest professional achievement?
Without a doubt becoming a director in Aardman. I’m also very happy that so far both my feature film ideas have received development funding and production funding for ‘Pelican’.
3. Name three people who inspire you:
My dad, Richard Williams, Miyazaki
4. What best describes your style?
My style varies depending on what the client is asking for, but of course adding my personal take on it. I like to follow all current design and commercial trends to be able to come up with something new and fresh. In general I love creating worlds which are quite detailed, textured, layered and emotional.
5. What do you like most about working at Aardman?
I will never forget my first day in Aardman and what struck me the most was the very creative atmosphere and inspiring, wonderful, open-minded people. Since then I decided I have to stay in this fun place and I’ve been lucky so far!
6. What new technologies do you feel have had the most impact on the way you create?
I’ve trained as a traditional painter and sculptor back in Poland, so I’ve always felt most comfortable with traditional techniques, but discovering the beauty of a Cintique has been a big convenience for my work. I still do oil painting and traditional drawing, but for professional work Cintique is perfect, very flexible and so much quicker.
I’ve worked on a few pitches for VR/360 degrees which was a great opportunity to learn about those technologies and I find them an interesting tool for different storytelling.
7. What’s your desk like – messy or tidy? It’s tidy… once every 2 months. Here is a photo from this event.
8. What are your goals for the year ahead?
Becoming a mum, finalising development of my feature film ‘Jasia’ and working on new exciting commercials.
9. How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I love what I’m doing so I do work quite a lot. I try to work on my personal feature film projects whenever I have some time off commercials.
10. What has been your all-time favourite project that you’ve been involved with?
It’s hard to say as I enjoyed working on all my commercials and shorts, I love the energy and responsibility of directing, and most of all working with talented people and bringing everyone together as a team. But I also loved working on ‘The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientist’ as a set dresser, I enjoyed being hands on and learning from people with years of experience.
11. What’s your best advice for artists today?
I found this quote by Lena Dunham on the internet some time ago and it’s a great reminder and motivation for myself:
Don’t wait around for someone else to tell your story. Do it yourself by whatever means necessary.
12. Who is your favourite Aardman character and why?
I love Purple and Brown for it’s simple but fantastic animation, the characters, and perfect timing… it makes me cry from laughter!