Interview by Yasmine Rix
Published February 2015
Many have defined Sam Lyon's Jelly Gummy GIF's as settling along the lines of trolls or 'pillow sprites'. He has untapped a new type of visual culture that makes strong parallels to the emergence of 3D modelling as an art form.
The nature of your work is certainly one of a kind, I think it takes 3D modelling and gifs to a new level- could you tell us a bit about where the concept of Jelly Gummies comes from?
I'm not sure what I wanted to do when I started it. I wasn't even doing anything 3D at the time, it [tumblr] was just a place to post anything I was practicing or testing out. Putting everything on a transparent background was the look I always wanted, making it neater, like they're more alive or something. I've been into this for ages but I'm always looking for a good medium to make it in, 3D is absolutely perfect for it. It's great that so many people get enjoyment out of them too, I never thought it would get to this point. This possibly made blob monsters become interesting when people are used to seeing clean and slick 3D movies.
It's a shame they can't wobble on the printed sketchbooks! Have you considered projections or other materials you could use for something a bit more physical or tangible?
I've been looking into making moulds and casting in the last couple of months, I'm almost ready to show people what I've been making (it's taken ages to get it right). I want to make as many 'real' pieces as I can because I enjoy the idea of making products and being able to use them or simply hold them in your hands. I made a gif a while ago of a backpack and that's what I'm trying to make just now. People have suggested 3D printing to me a few times and I really like the sound of that, it seems a bit expensive for me just now though. All the computer work comes out as it is. I try not to plan or get too precious about them because they always end up looking overly polished if I do.
Do you feel like each jelly gummy evolved from an original character, or one you have assigned to it?
It's more or less me going in blind, apart from having a photo, a mouth or a body shape I like. They never usually end up anything like the photo but it's usually a good start.
So given that your works are variably unplanned, where do you find your inspiration?
I get inspiration from all over the place, I even made a whole blog for myself to look at later. I have a few full folders too, every so often I look through everything and find something good to keep me going. Just having a look through it now, it's got photos of dogs, gooey floaty textures, a baby grinch and some weird animation tests. I thought it was good to make a public list of all the things I like so it lets other people see, it helps spread other people's work too which is nice.
Do you feel like online sites such as tumblr have a validity to it as a source or community of people creating things and feeding off each others inspiration?
It's definitely an extremely good tool for spreading work and ideas around. I like it for my own work because I get to keep track of all the shares and comments. The Toadsville page I made is mostly just a reference for myself, but if anyone looks through it and finds something they like they can read the caption or click through and find the person who made it quite quickly. I find it exciting that there's such a huge stream of content available even though that's what people are often wary of. Having access to so many images and ideas all at once means there's always someone putting together something interesting. It can be exhausting wading through it all to get to the good stuff sometimes, but I suppose that's where curated lists and other people's recommendations are useful.
Could you tell us a bit about your trilogy The Secret of Toadsville?
I'm afraid to say that they're just covers and titles at the moment. I made them years ago with the idea of doing full stories but they never quite got past the notes stage. I've been asked about them before though so I might actually finish them in the future. I'd actually almost forgotten about them until you mentioned them so maybe this would be a good time to turn them into an animation or something.
Have you been involved in any exhibitions or have any in the works?
I haven't had any exhibitions apart from a couple of small events with friends, I liked that because the atmosphere was more fun than usual. Everyone was just having a good time. I wasn't doing any 3D work at then, just pen and ink drawings so it was really easy compared to the stress of setting up projectors and TVs. I wouldn't rule anything out in the future though!
I guess we may be seeing more of your quirky moonface buttons or pillow sprite fabric products in the near future then?
Yeah hopefully i'll be making all the other stuff for a long time also. I'd love to be able to build up a really full and well stocked shop. There's something really satisfying about making things.
Sam Lyon lives and works in Dundee. He currently runs the website, shop and blog Jelly Gummies which plays host to a vast world of his creations.
If you like this why not read our interview with Alice Theobald
© 2013 - 2018 YAC | Young Artists in Conversation ALL RIGHTS RESERVED