Still shot from Aphex Twin’s Music Video, “Windowlicker” Directed by Chris Cunningham (1999)
Rewind to a young Vashtie Kola, growing up in the hood of downtown Albany New York. Wait, why am I speaking in 3rd person?! Anyways, as a kid I experienced being dirt poor, years of domestic abuse & bullying, etc etc. (this is no sob story, just want to create the scene of how this creative kid fed herself in order to catapult out of her environment).
I threw myself deep into anything artistic and creative, because it was what I was and what I loved. I spent hours consuming comic books, aeons with any album given or found, countless moments lost in thoughts of the future. When I stumbled upon the work of Chris Cunningham, it was as if I was thrust into the most magical and beautiful nightmare I had ever seen. He has created the most astounding visuals I could ever dream or fear. It would be a major understatement to say that he inspired me as a director, his work is pure magic…unaffected by reality.
*Still shot from Björk’s Music Video, “All Is Full Of Love” Directed by Chris Cunningham (1999)
When I moved to New York for art school, I applied for an internship at the agency that represented him – Black Dog Films/RSA. I got the internship and spent all my down time perusing the Directors Reel vaults, soaking in everything and anything. It was a great time of inspiration.
Facts About Chris Cunningham:
*according to Wikipedia
Chris Cunningham (born 15 October 1970) is a BritishFilmmaker, video artist, photographer and music producer.
He was born in Reading, Berkshire and grew up in Lakenheath, Suffolk.
After seeing Cunningham’s work on the 1995 film version of Judge Dredd, Stanley Kubrick head-hunted Cunningham to design and supervise animatronic tests of the central robot child character in his version of the film A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Cunningham worked for over a year on the film before leaving to pursue a career as a director.
Earlier work in film included model-making, prosthetic make-up and concept illustrations for Hardware and Dust Devil for director Richard Stanley; work on Nightbreed for Clive Barker; and on Alien for David Fincher.
Here are my Top 5 Videos by Chris Cunningham
(that I love and you should know!)
*but his resume runs deep, so deep it will put your butt to sleep…in a good way like it was a good day! I’m a fool, I know,
1. Portishead – “Only You” (1998)
Not only do I love Portishead, but this sweet and somber track pairs well with this engaging visual by Cunningham. It truly feels like a dream, or nighmare…with slow motion movements by the subjects that were actually shot in a water tank. The air bubbles from each frame had to manually be removed, believe me – I researched the technique heavily while at art school and attempted to re-create something similar until the school notified me that it would be illegal because it would put lives at danger.
2. Aphex Twin – “Come To Daddy”
I only had a select few friends that I could show this video to. Lots of people found it disturbing, while me and my art school buddies thought it was hilarious and genius.
3. Aphex Twin – “Windowlicker” (1999)
Another favorite from Aphex Twin. This one is an even funnier visual that sort of jokes on music videos with (the then acceptable term) “video hoes”. The dancing is actually mesmerizing and watching the women with those Aphex Twin faces is sort of hypnotizing. What I could do without is the super super long intro of “urban folks”. Side eye for that, but it was a long time ago…
4. Björk – “All Is Full Of Love” (1999)
This video right here, doe. Ugh. Its perfection ad exquisite. When I first saw it, it was just this amazing work in CG. Then you realize it’s a Björk robot making love to a Björk robot. Wow.
5. Madonna – “Frozen” (1998)
During my Chris Cunningham k-hole, which truly last years and resurfaces from time to time, I read that this video was where he felt the least creative. He said something to the effect of, having such a huge budget somehow stifled the creativity. Very interesting and I can understand that statement. The video is still major though. One of Madonna’s best!