Founded by three former Ontario College of Art & Design classmates, Ghostmilk Studios is a multifaceted force contributing to Toronto's broadcast branding, animation and music video scenes. Partners Sean Wainsteim, Arv Slabosevicius and Steve Wilson originally formed Ghostmilk to house a major pitch in 2002. Since then, their shared appreciation of a hand-crafted aesthetic have established the shop as one of Canada's ascendant young design studios. Recently, Ghostmilk teamed with Astral Media creative Matt Waddell to create a 60-second Season 5 teaser for the Movie Network's broadcast of The Sopranos in Canada. Combining floating, disembodied 9mm pistols, moody blood spatters and telling chalk outlines with family portrait-framed program clips, Ghostmilk was able to work their love of DIY creation into this major campaign. "A lot of this was done on paper ahead of time, like the ink spatters or the actual photocopy textures we used for backgrounds," says Wilson. "Any objects we used were photocopied and photocopied again. It's really the opposite of that whole vector-based, minimal aesthetic."
Ghostmilk frequently collaborates with music video directors; they created animated Lite-Brite sequences for a recent Death From Above video and were heavily involved in animating "Float On," Christopher Mills' MTV 2-friendly clip for Modest Mouse. Increasingly, however, they're balancing these collaborations with the time required to direct their own videos; Wainsteim's recent "Danse Macabre," for Wintersleep, is a fast-paced trot through a hospital infested with hyperactive skeletons, and it showcases the studio's editing and animation skills alongside a quirky live-action sensibility.
"Most of our stuff is narrative-based, but there's a warmth and a humanity, or at the very least a hand-crafted element to it," says Wainsteim of this video and, indeed, much of the studio's output. "For us, it comes down to whatever we can draw or make or paint or beat the crap out of and drag behind a truck."