Directors to Watch 2008: Encyclopedia Pictura

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From left: Encyclopedia Pictura's Isaiah Saxon, Sean Hellfritsch and Daren Rabinovitch.
From left: Encyclopedia Pictura's Isaiah Saxon, Sean Hellfritsch and Daren Rabinovitch.

When Bjork was looking for someone to add to the weirdness that is her music video oeuvre, she recently turned to a trio of animators/directors/multimedia artists known as Encyclopedia Pictura. Based in Santa Cruz, California, and individually known as Isaiah Saxon, Sean Hellfritsch and the recently added Daren Rabinovitch, EP were the masterminds behind Bjork's utterly captivating 3D clip "Wanderlust," which features the Icelandic songstress on a water yak, with a body-clinging sprite in tow, riding through a kaleidoscopic wonderland of rushing rivers and verdant mountainscapes. The clip, which was featured in this year's Saatchi New Directors' Showcase, involved everything from puppetry, costuming and stop motion to CG and live action—a killer combo also evident on the team's previous clips for Seventeen Evergreen and Grizzly Bear. EP's sensibility could be described as part bad dream, part childhood fantasy, tossed together with the sort of palpable, homespun effects you might expect to see on an old episode of Star Trek. Together, it makes for a completely unique sensibility that might even inspire Gondry to pause.

The method is as magical as the work: "When we begin a project, we get into a mystical invocation mode, we take on the wizard or shaman archetype— trying to explore the imagination in a ritualized and intentionally dramatic way," says Saxon. "Once we've come to our vision, even if it's just an 80% vision and it's got little holes, we [then] become logisticalists and detailers. Both of these skills are crucial in my view, to be lucid enough to have the vision and then to be sure enough to detail it into actual existence." Recently, EP moved into the commercial world, working with Wieden on an as of now unreleased spot for EA's Spore. Taking inspiration from everyone from Buckminster Fuller, Hayao Miyazaki, Walt Disney to Leonardo DaVinci, the EP crew are busy writing their first feature film, a 3D "shamanic experience for children." In the real world, they're also busy applying Permaculture design science to create a regenerative human settlement in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Read about Mixtape Club, another of our 2008 Directors to Watch.

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