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Interview with Jan Schoenwiesner, Talented Art Director and Designer
Because of their shared values for open-access of cultural artefacts and art, Scan The World reached out to contemporary artist Jan Schoenwiesner to get an insight into their work and recent commission featuring Pacing Horse by Adriaen de Vries.
This beautiful piece can be found at The Nationalmuseum, Sweden, one of many institutions that Scan The World has had an opportunity to work closely with to democratize cultural heritage through 3D scanning.
We thought that we’d take this opportunity to share Jan’s innovative endeavors with the community and to give you further insight into the importance of digitizing culture and creating open-access digital heritage for all.
Tell us about your work as an art director and designer
As art director and designer I work at the intersection of animation, film and design. That encompasses music videos, commercials, installations and live visuals. After studying at the BAUHAUS in Dessau and the Cleveland Institute of Art I got to work with premium brands like BMW, Rolls Royce, MINI and Bosch.
I do a lot of work for international trade shows which leads me to amazing places like Tokyo, Detroit and Beijing.
How long have you been involved in your line of work?
I've developed and executed motion graphics for screens of all sizes for over 14 years now.
Where do you draw inspiration from when creating a masterpiece?
For this piece, I started by asking myself questions like: What kind of animal does an A.I. dream up once all organic life is gone? How does it imagine a horse without ever seeing one? I wanted to showcase autonomous factories trying to rebuild the old organic world of flesh and bones. The project started as a cyberpunk creature design but evolved once I saw that there was more potential to that concept model. It provided an opportunity for cinematic design and storytelling in a complete sequence.
I used the great scan "Pacing Horse" by Adriaen de Vries (provided by the Nationalmuseum Sweden) for inspiration and general anatomy reference. And of course, I drew upon the long history of mechanical animals, starting (for me) with Bravestar, Transformers Beast Wars and the amazing Horizon Zero Dawn. Throw in a little Westworld for good measure. And of course, we all owe a lot to the genius director Chris Cunningham and his robot love story for Björks "All Is Full Of Love".
Do you have a favorite cultural institution?
I love the Art Institute of Chicago and the MOMA in New York. They have such extensive collections, I could wander around there for hours and admire the art.
I went to the Art Institute on a field trip while studying at the Cleveland Institute of Art. I must have spent more than six hours there, mostly admiring the great painting collection with works by van Gogh and John Singer Sargent, among many others. I was really impressed by the massive oil painting "Rue de Paris, temps de pluie" by Gustave Caillebotte.
Those visits to museums across the US influenced a lot of the projects I did that year. Screenprints had a Warhol influence, music video projects showed a strong Bill Viola vibe.
What is your favorite piece at The Nationalmuseum?
Frankly, I haven't had the chance to go there, but would love to!
What does open heritage data mean to you?
It is immeasurably important. It means access for everyone, democratizing art. Not your upbringing, the place of birth and the monetary means matter in that regard. You can be inspired, study the masters and go on to create your own pieces. It inspires new work, the next generation of artists.
Do you have any exciting projects coming up that we have to look forward to?
Sure, there's always something new to learn, so there are always exciting new projects to be developed.
Let us know what you think of Jan's incredible work in the comments below.