Yeah, we know, social media has changed the way we view art. Galleries and exhibition spaces and even movie houses need no longer apply—just an Instagram or Vimeo account to post the latest work and receive an immediate response from viewers. Artist and filmmaker Erik Ferguson has been using Vimeo and Instagram to promote his work and engage with his audience for the past few years. He considers these platforms as “focus groups” where he can test concepts and use the feedback (“hundreds or thousands of comments” per post) to develop future designs. Neat.
But Ferguson isn’t your run-of-the-mill artist whose work can sit easily on your..er…Facebook timeline without comment as his work is decidedly strange—an unsettling mix of the grotesque, the bizarre, the preternatural, and the quasi-sexual. It’s what some people might term “icky.” One of his most (in)famous creations is a misshapen character called “Rasch,” who he describes as looking like “a tumor on legs”:
People are simultaneously repulsed, fascinated and amused by “Rasch“, to the point where I’ve had up to 700 000 plays and 15,000 likes for some of his images/videos on Instagram. One of my fans recently called Rash “scardorable”, because he is cute and creepy at the same time.
Ferguson was born in Norway, when he was a child, his passion was soccer until his old man bought him a Commodore 64 and he got the bug for computer games. He moved to Scotland where he studied for a degree in Media and Cultural Studies at Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh, but during this time, Ferguson became more interested in 3-D animation and would often stay up all night so he could focus on what he loved and what he had to do for college.
After graduating, Ferguson returned to Norway where he joined Bug, a production company specializing in motion graphics, visual effects and 3D animation. He stayed with Bug for eight years honing his skills as “Artist, Creative Lead and ultimately as a Head of Post-Production.” He then went freelance working with a range of clients across the globe in film (Guardians of the Galaxy, Pyromanen), animation (Rihanna MTV VMA performance), and design (The Horrors, P4/TRY/APT).
The rest of the time Ferguson works on his own projects. These usually start out as an idea like making something with a beak as he did with his short animated film Blind Bird. He rarely sketches out his ideas preferring to spend a couple days working with digital sculpting tool ZBrush before moving everything onto the 3-D animation software Houdini.
Zbrush gives you great tools to sculpt realistic looking flesh, muscle and tissue. The key though is to animate the stills that I produce in Zbrush, which is where Houdini comes in. Movement has been instrumental to making my creatures more believable and more realistic.
The finished results end up as startlingly original images and deeply unsettling animations.
See Erik Ferguson’s bizarre animations, after the jump…