When a young artist steps into the arena of production and output, its usually with a work in-progress aesthetic & visual understanding. Scumboy – 3D visual artist – works contrarily in this regard, creating an artistic signature from the underground realms that translate into an intriguing, tangible world. It’s a bizarre thing to pluck out someone from Gen-Z that isn’t trying to convince anyone of anything with their art, yet Scumboy defies all notions; making visuals we yearn to be a part just for the fun of it.
With his friend Allison, they have created a short film that encapsulates the essence of one artist putting forth their expression with total authenticity. I caught up with both muse and director to learn more about their process.
1. Your work is unbelievable; kaleidoscopes of form, colour, movement and all done digitally - yet one can feel the real essence of you, the creator, behind it. It feels like a relatable fantasy world that you seem to constantly evolve with, how does your process tend to unfold in that respect of constant growth?
I think the whole process of 3D design is and always has been about growth. I was never taught 3D design in an institute or anything like that, so I’ve had to teach myself layer by layer if that makes sense. So when I first started it I had to learn the basics first obviously, I had no idea what the fuck I was doing and honestly I still don’t know what i'm doing because everything I do is an experiment, you know? Like when I first started I would see something I wanted to make and then I’d literally google how to do it and then try and perfect it. And over the years I’ve been able to form a collection of things I can do but there’s still a whole bunch of shit I can’t do. So a lot of the time my process is being inspired by something and then trying to make it with the skills I have and then fucking up and not being able to make it so then I have to research and teach myself how to do it and then eventually after a couple of tries I get it right. But the whole process since the beginning is growing and learning how to do this thing that people spend years in college learning. If you created a timeline of my work from the first piece I ever created to now you can literally see the moments where I learnt how to create fur and hair and then you can go down the path and see where I learned how to apply different textures and materials and so forth. As I grow and get more comfortable in my work, the work grows too.
2. How did the film with Allison come about, and what were the key conceptual ideas?
Honestly Allison and I have been friends for a few years now and I’ve always seen her as someone that I aspire to be like, she’s one of the major key players in South African Culture. And tbh I’ve always been a little intimidated and didn’t like know what her vibes were and then she calls me up one day and says she wants to make a film about me and I was like wtf that’s crazy but yeah sure lets do it. So her and Travys Owen who is also just like the most insane photographer and DOP in SA drove down from JHB to Cape Town and we spent a few days just making some cool shit. I think the main concept was about how “SCUMBOY” and Oliver come together and the different aspects of each identity. In the film you can see this divide of character, on one side there’s SCUMBOY who is all about art and culture and like this presence on instagram and social media, and then there’s Oliver that has a dog and is madly inlove with his girlfriend and just wants to stay at home and make challah. So there’s a lot of back and forth between the two.
3. The film deals with themes of hope and self-acceptance, but also societal transgressions. What is your vision for the future, especially for the rising Generation Z?
I think as a whole our generation is constantly battling with like a bunch of different things, whether it be mental illness, trying to survive monetarily, making our way in a world that feels a little broken or battling social issues. From those im surrounded by and myself included I feel like we all want to reach a place that is a little more peaceful internally. I think there’s a constant daily battle that takes place and that can be so exhausting, especially if you’re Queer or Black or Poc. I hope one day we reach a place where we’re all not so tired and drained and we have the ability to focus on other aspects of life rather than just survival.
4. What do you want to continue communicating through your work?
Since day one I’ve never intentionally tried to communicate anything through my work tbh, it’s always been an escape for me, a place where I can do whatever I want to do and not have to think. I’ve honestly never really given a lot of thought about what I create unless it’s specifically for a cause or something societal. But the majority of my work is me just being like “well fuck that looks cool, lets just go with it”. So I guess I just want to continue to communicate that I’m just a young dude creating shit that I like, and it’s not as deep as people think.
1. Congratulations on a beautiful and raw film. What was your motivation behind telling this story?
Thank you so much for the kind words. Scum Boy’s powerful message was my motivation for telling this story. He’s a wholly unique individual but his struggles and views are representative of a broader generational narrative that’s worth learning from.
2. The film feels intimate and personal, but with the signature Gen Z taste of rebellion. Working with Scumboy, did this energy unfold organically?
I’ve had the honor of being Scum Boy’s friend for a few years now. The intimate feeling is a result of our friendship but also a result of Scummy’s lovely way of being, which is at the same time a little vulgar and sweet.
3. With the interest and accolades this is has received, has it changed or influenced the trajectory of your career as a creative?
That’s an interesting question, I haven’t really thought about it. I want the film to come out and people to see and love Scum Boy as much as I do. Whether or not that does anything for my career is yet to be seen, but I can say that I’ve definitely underwent personal transformation while making this film. Scummy’s views on life and art have expanded my understandings of sexuality, gender, and Gen-Z. I’m very thankful to him for allowing me into his world.
4. What is your vision for the future - in both work and the world?
This year has turned everything on its head, I’ve had to surrender any vision of the future that I previously had. The new vision is taking shape, but it’s one in which integrity is key. That goes for my work and the world.