Pretty Profiles: Robert Wallace
Currently Listening To: My buddy Merk sent me a demo of his awesome new track. It was great making his video for I’m Easy, hopefully we’ll get to team up again soon :)
Favorite Album: Hmm.... I don’t really have a favourite, but one album in particular I’ve kept coming back to since its release has been ‘We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves’ by John Maus. Every track is fantastic and brings something unique to the album. It's a very playful record while still taking itself seriously, which can sometimes be a difficult balance to strike.
Tell us about yourself and the kind of work you create.
Hi, I’m Rob and I work under the alias Parallel Teeth. I’m a director, animator and illustrator who grew up in rural New Zealand but I currently live in London. I like making colourful and playful work while exploring new techniques and mediums. I do a lot of work in the music industry including music videos, album artwork and festival branding. However that’s interspersed with commercials, murals, gifs, and fun little side projects.
What is your typical day like? Are there any challenges that you face on a consistent basis?
If I have a bigger project on, I’ll usually work from my studio at Strange Beast, who represent me and run the production for larger jobs. They have space and equipment for any other animators also working on the project as well as their other directors. It’s a nice environment and a great space for bouncing ideas off each other.
Other times I’ll work from my little home studio. It’s a much smaller setup, but great for if I need to remove any distractions or need to work late at night. All of my favourite objects, zines and plants are within arm’s reach, so it feels cosy and comforting.
Emails are definitely the biggest challenge throughout the day. So many emails. I have to be careful to not let them eat up all of my time.
What led to you working with Strange Beast?
A few years ago I was on the lookout for a new rep and noticed a number of directors I follow were with Strange Beast. After looking through the other creatives on their roster I was really drawn to their diverse output of work. That was a strong pull for me since I love playing around with different media. I got in touch while living in New Zealand and after a few months of emailing back and forth I ended up becoming part of the family. Working long distance with them was no problem, but since moving back to London it’s been great working together locally. They are all lovely people and it’s energising being around them.
Your work includes various media like animation, film, illustration, album covers, etc. - How do you manage this diversity in your portfolio? Does it happen based on client needs or is it more natural for you?
I like starting a project without a direction in mind, that way the client’s needs, budget, and my own interpretation feed into the approach and guide it. In terms of the media I work across, it’s fun to have variety and keep things interesting, while working with the different possibilities and limitations of each one. Going from an eight week animation project to an illustration job that only lasts a few days can be very refreshing.
You've worked in such a wide variety of media already, is there something you'd like to experiment with that you haven't yet had a chance to?
I’d love to start exploring video game design. It’s something that has interested me for years but I’ve never had the time to properly look into it. I need to make some programming friends, that would help a lot, ha.
What differences are most notable between working as a creative in the music industry as opposed to others?
There can be quite a lot of creative freedom when working within the music industry, especially when compared to other fields. I usually work directly with musicians and often they want my ideas and suggestions regarding aesthetics and content. It's nice to have that respect and responsibility when dealing with something that is a visual representation of their creative work. The main downside is usually budgets are stretched very thin. You need to be very resourceful and strategic with which corners to cut. I do secretly enjoy that though.
What is the prettiest picture you’ve made recently?
I was asked by Pitch Studios to collaborate in their remix project. They were getting different creatives to rework their most iconic fashion editorials. It was fun trying to capture the attitude of the photo and work it into the illustration. It was also a fitting opportunity to play around with shading, which is something I’m trying incorporate into more drawings. It’s definitely not pretty, but I like it.