Professor Paul Wells sat in conversation with three of the Nexus team: Alan Smith, Adam Foulkes and Jim Le Feuvre, before which the audience were treated to a retrospective of their work, which includes (impressively), an Oscar nominated short, Grammy Nominated and MTV Award winning music videos, and Cannes Grand Prix, Gold Lions and Black D&AD pencil winning commercials.
The three talked about how they got into animation, and early successes during the Channel 4 animation boom. At this time, animation was embraced by the commercial market, and though there is an assumed schism between arts culture and commerce, the commercial world provides the necessary revenue to move individual talents forward.
Despite this, Nexus advocate choosing work wisely and trying out new styles wherever possible rather than returning to a comfort zone. All three are still very much exploring the craft of animation, remembering that 'form follows feasibility'.
When asked about the tension between old and new school animation styles, their resounding opinion is 'Digital Tools? Bring them on!". For Jim, sometimes the most satisfying thing is the context of the animation, not the visual finish - he cites as an example the Beefy and Lamby series of adverts.
An interesting discussion took place around the issue of archiving - obviously something that's very close to the Museum's heart. Adam, Alan and Jim say that they almost never think about it, though they recognise the importance of preserving their output for future generations, having experienced animation being exhibited alongside art which is generally considered as belonging to 'high culture'.
Somewhat surprisingly, according to the three, animators don't consider that their work is worth saving even though they realise the importance of other people's work.
Thanks to Adam, Alan and Jim, for their insight into animating for the commercial world, and their resounding passion for the art of 'making stuff move'.