In motion with . . . Alexander Okhlopkov
The ‘In motion with’ series shines a light on some of the people who breathe life and action into design, Aotearoa NZ’s motion designers.
This week we sat down with Alexander Okhlopkov, Motion Designer and Art Director at Bunker.
From high tech rocket launch videos to founding an animation studio focused on preserving Arctic indigenous culture and language, Alex shares his background and the diverse range of work he’s been a part of throughout his career.
Brought to you in collaboration with our friends at Motion Designers Guild of Aotearoa
Can you tell us a bit about your career journey? Where did you start out and what was it about motion design that drew you in?
It’s been quite a journey. Originally I’m from Yakutia, the coldest place where people live. I started doing animation when I was at primary school. But after high school I studied spatial design as we didn’t have any animation schools in our region. While attending university I worked as a graphic designer and being interested in animation I took every opportunity that came across on doing some kind of moving image. When I graduated university I got a job at Disney channel where I found out about motion design and decided to continue my education in motion graphics. That also provided me with confidence that it’s a field that I want to be in. In 2016 I decided to get out of my comfort zone and continue my career growth overseas and move to New Zealand and started working at Studio Bunker. Working in motion graphics is very rewarding creatively, projects are very diverse – one day we work on a high tech rocket launch video, another day we work on a funky kids tv show, and the other day we make beautiful product renders.
Having started your professional career overseas, can you share a little bit about your experience as a motion designer that made the transition between two different working cultures and languages?
The transition was quite smooth, thanks to my awesome colleagues at Bunker. I’ve been working there for over five years and they became my second family. So getting out of my comfort zone was actually very comfortable. Overall, New Zealand is a very international place and people here are very open minded and friendly.
What are your favourite types of motion design projects to work on?
I like projects with creative experimentation and collaboration with agencies or clients. Where each party trusts each other’s professionalism and makes a successful product that combines good marketing and cool visuals.
Along with working your day job as a motion designer and art director at Bunker it sounds like you also have a few motion design passion projects going on in your free time. Can you share more about what you’re working on?
I’m grateful to be able to work on projects that reflect my values and intend to make a positive impact. Over past years I was involved on a few environmental projects and exhibitions both local and international.
Earlier this year I started working on an art video for culture and language preservation of Sakha people, that unfolded my journey of reconnection with my indigenous roots and decided to put some of my skills towards supporting indigenous cultures facing hardship in the age of globalisation and I decided to open an animation studio called Tundra with a mission to bring a cultural diversity into the world of animation and develop the animation industry in the arctic region, so kids can grow up watching animation with their culture. This September we started production of our first short animation based on an original story. It’s very exciting to see our story come alive.
In your opinion, what makes a good motion designer and do you have any advice around what makes someone excel in the industry?
Motion design is a complex discipline. I believe it’s a combination of good technical skills, creative direction, good storytelling and marketing skills. So developing all of those skills is very essential to excel in the industry.
For anyone just starting out on their journey in motion design, what advice would you give and what resources would you recommend as a good starting point?
It sounds very cheesy but I think being passionate is the biggest factor here. It gives you motivation to learn and improve. Secondly, planning and seeing your goal is very important to keep you motivated.
What are you hopeful to see happen or change within the motion design industry in the near future?
The biggest discussions amongst industry is AI development and technology advancements that automate processes that could threaten certain jobs. I hope, seeing those advancements as tools and using them in pipelines can make a positive impact in our industry.
Lastly, where can we follow along with your work?
The journey of making our first animated short film you can follow on instagram: @tundra.animation