A surrealist safari of skeletons and chrome creations
"Art is the universal language used to evoke feelings of mixed thoughts and emotions," says Blunt Action. The digital studio used this sentiment to describe its take on contemporary art. Working as a collective, they have become synonymous with depicting alternate, rendered realities that transport onlookers into a surrealist dream. Like a cosmic cocktail of nostalgic popular culture, music, and history, their work harmoniously shares a canvas with technology and futurism. Be it a post-apocalyptic Jurassic Park or a deliciously detailed chrome cake fit for the Terminator, their work commands your attention. Following collaborations with Lil Nas X, Wu-Tang Clan, and YSL, Blunt Action explains how a college project metamorphosized into a studio infiltrating the upper echelons of design and music.
Before crafting their 3D cyber style with signature skeletons hidden within their realities, the trio studied together in upstate New York. Intentionally, little is known of their identities. They prefer to have their work speak for them instead. This mysterious and under the radar edge is like that of one of their musical idols: the late MF Doom. Studying between 2012 and 2015, a creative passion for music, art, and technology brought them together. "We had all been pursuing personal projects, but when we began experimenting with 3D design, video editing, game development, and other tools, we realized that we could create something much bigger together. We post a lot of our work on social media and have gained a lot of support and positive feedback," they explain.
Soon they discovered everyone was on a "similar entrepreneurial mentality," which brought them even closer. Blunt Action were never classmates. Each member studied different subjects ranging from computer science and biochemistry to business marketing. Although skilled in graphic design and video editing, much of their day-to-day skills are self-taught through the internet or experimenting. Their greatest asset is "that together we could do so much more than any of us could individually."
Digital recognition soon opened the door to commissions and opportunities. Blunt Action became an official collective in 2017 when Instagram exposure landed them their first commercial project. In a short space of time, they have created a cybercity for a Lady Gaga collaboration with Adobe, designed a 3D background for D Smoke & SiR’s performance at the BET Awards 2020, and programmed their own video game 'Lava Runner.' In 2019 they worked with Lil Nas X for the 'Kick It' visualizer, leaving a positive mark on the artist and his video commissioner Saul Levitz. The record-breaking and culture-changing artist is always looking to take "creativity to the next level," which again happened just before Christmas on another collaboration with Blunt Action. The studio worked on the motion graphics for the 'Holiday' trailer and some promotional assets related to the music video. Featuring an appearance from Michael J. Fox, the trailer is a tribute to the sci-fi classic Back to the Future.
Last year gestalten released Dreamscapes & Artificial Architecture, which features Blunt Action and is one of the first books published championing digital art. We discussed how perceptions in the art world have been shifting around digital design and alternate realities, and the collective explains they've noticed changes since starting. They said: "In the last few years, the tools to create digital art have become more accessible, and therefore a lot more are is being created. We are seeing new perspectives we have never seen before in this space. Blunt Action is certainly embracing this surge of digital art and using it to fuel our creations."
The changing velocity of working in the digital sphere is also what keeps Blunt Action both on their toes and excited. "Technology is continuously advancing, and new cutting-edge software and hardware are always getting released," they explain, "working in an environment and industry where things are changing and getting better is great, but does have some downsides. Every few months or years we need to purchase the next best thing to keep up. This space is evolving very quickly, and it is exciting to be on the frontier."
Each member has a unique music taste, but a commonality is a willingness to listen to any new suggestions. Experimenting with new styles and references is what keeps the studio evolving. "Currently, we listen to a range of soundtracks from the video game-like Elder Scrolls and old school Nintendo games," they explain. They also note that travels to Japan, Italy, and Greece have shaped their recent styles. The soundtrack to their today is influenced by movie and TV soundtracks such as Good Times, Mr. Robot, Uncut Gems, and musical artists such as MF DOOM, Cookin Soul, Madlib, Tame Impala, Lettuce, and Airwav.
The evolution of Blunt Action has been inspirational to many young designers and studios starting today. They are currently working on a few in-house projects such as an album set to be released this year, an interactive and immersive game about the Blunt Action universe, short films, and AR / VR installations of their designs. They also plan to release apparel and 3D printed sculptures as merchandise. When the tenth anniversary arrives, we ask what they hope to achieve by then. They reply: "Truly anything could happen."
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