Based in Sydney, Australia, Chris Phillips who goes with the online name Crispe, creates bright, fun, and unique animated graphics for brands and agencies, locally and abroad.
Chris has been working in the advertising and creative industries for 14+ years and he is undoubtedly an experienced creative director, illustrator and animator.
Let’s follow our talk with Chris Phillips, while enjoying his colourful and witty animated GIFs along the post. Some of them are slightly dark.
Hi Chris! It’s awesome to have you in Tobeeko’s Up Close and Personal session. Looking at the works you’ve done, you’re no doubt a master of animation and a great illustration artist. Could you introduce yourself a bit more to our readers?
Hi! My name is Chris Phillips but I post as ‘Crispe’ online. I’m an animator/illustrator from Sydney, Australia. I create gifs, loops, videos and static illustrations for clients in Australia and abroad. I tend to work with bright colours in a flat vector style with a liberal dose of character design and animation. I’m definitely no master of animation, just an ever learning practitioner of a difficult craft. Thank you for the compliment though!
When did you start doing illustration? And how did it begin?
I studied Graphic Design back in 2000. There was a small part of the course that included illustration, which ended up being my favourite part. I didn’t really do any illustration work in the workforce until about my 4th or 5th year. Over time it gradually grew to take up more of my time but its always only really made up a smaller part of what I do, which was an addon to my graphic design work and now as an addon to my animation work.
Where do you usually get inspiration from?
Usually Twitter, Behance, Dribbble and Instagram. I follow a lot of great illustrators and animators and am in awe every day at the work others are creating. Sometimes it’s inspirational, and other times it’s demoralising to see how good some of the community is. But you really have to try not to compare yourself to others. Just get better yourself, or you’ll never be happy.
What does “being creative” mean to you?
It means the freedom to do something a little different. There aren’t many careers that pay you to do something that you’d probably be doing for yourself anyway. In fact, its doing self initiated work that often leads to the best client projects. I’m not particularly interested in working inhouse at an office, so I’m lucky that ‘being creative’ allows for flexibility on how I earn a living.
What do you want people to see or feel when they look at your work?
I’d love to get a little smile or a giggle out of them and move on. I don’t expect people to sit and look at my work for long. I know we live in a time now where people scroll through their social feeds and don’t give much time to anything in particular, so I like my work to be able to bring out a smile quickly, without much effort.
Could you elaborate more on the animated GIFs in Loops? Are you doing it out of fun or do you have any message you want to deliver?
I started making the animated gifs as practice with character animation plugins in After Effects. I quickly noticed that my gifs were getting a lot more attention than any client work I posted. So it drove me to keep practicing and publishing little gifs as I went along. I realised that it was my own unfiltered ideas that resonated with people, something that you don’t often get with a client project, as much as you may try. There is no real message I’m trying to deliver. My work is very surface level, you understand it as soon as you see it and it’s usually based around a slice of life, bad dad joke or visual pun.
What’s your favourite Projects and Loops that you’ve ever created?
I like the Self Portrait gif that I created. I had to create it for a profile image when my agent recruited me. I was really struggling to come up with something that represented what my personality and routine were like so I just animated my face being transformed with stylised app tools. I think its probably my most liked and shared loop (at least in the creative community). A lot of the time its the simplest idea that people like best.
I don’t really have a specific project that I like best. But I definitely prefer working on illustration and short form animation projects now (short loops/gifs) rather than the long format explainer type videos that I used to do. I find that the long videos are too laborious and tedious, you need to work super fast and there is often very little joy and satisfaction in them for me. I’ve got a short attention span, so working on many short animations is more satisfying than one big one.
Can you pick one of the GIFs in Loops that describe yourself best?
Well, the self portrait I mentioned earlier would obviously represent me best. But I think something like the Burnt Toast gif represents my sense of humour pretty well. I like creating dark and funny ideas out of ordinary situations. I try to create work that has at least some attempt at humour in them, but I probably miss the mark a lot of the time!
Do you have any other creative medium you would love to pursue but haven’t yet?
I’d like to write a book. I love the act of typing and coming up with ideas but sometimes the act of visualising them is demotivating. I’d like to work without visuals and just rely on words, but I’m also aware that writing is incredibly hard and comes with its own challenges. I doubt it’s something that I would ever be able to sell and make money from, but I think the act of doing it may be cathartic.
Any messages to share with other artists?
Create the work that you want to get paid for. Don’t rely on client work to tick those boxes for you. Do lots of personal projects, get excited about your own work and the community and clients will hopefully see that too. Don’t be afraid to think small. Being overly ambitious with big projects can be the death of motivation in the best of artists. It’s better to create something small than nothing at all.
That’s all Chris! Thanks for your time and I wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavours!
You’re most welcome Wahidin! All the best to you and Tobeeko too!
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Wasabee is a content editor, digital marketer and art enthusiast. He is also a jazz and bossa lover.