Director, animator, designer and musician Louis Minnaar has been hard at work creating some of South Africa's most unique sounds and visuals. Not only is this visual artist a member of the electro band Bittereinder, he also performs alongside his sister Magdalene in the duo MiNNAAR.
Where does your creativity come from?
Louis: I grew up in a house full of music and art. Both my parents have played musical instruments, made art and are both architects. I have always been encouraged to express myself and have always been allowed to follow my own way in terms of different fields in art. So I would definitely say that my artistic abilities come directly from my parents.
“...I make my strongest work when I combine various mediums into one and have full control over the outcome...” - Louis Minnaar
You are involved in quite a few creative industries, let's start with graphic design and illustration. You have a very unique style, where did it originate and what has been the biggest influence?
Louis: The graphic design part of what I do stemmed directly out of the fine art side of my life. I was in an art high school where I studied print making and painting. Along with this we were also taught how to apply art in more streamlined areas. At some stage I had a keen interest in fashion design which in a way was a step away from pure artistic expression in terms of a medium and forced me to think about applying art in a practical sense. Having a well developed fine arts background certainly played a huge role in the way that I apply my mediums in the design and illustration world. It's hard to pinpoint how your own style developed really and my influences change constantly. At the moment most of my influences come from nature and being in nature. Somehow it just opens up my mind and allows ideas to flourish.
Music seems to be a big part of your family as well, with some very cool collaborations between yourself and your sister Magdalene Minnaar. Tell us a bit about your background in music and what you are currently doing?
Louis: I was classically trained as a musician from around five years old. I grew up playing the cello and singing in choirs. With this I played in various orchestras, trios, and other ensembles with my sister from a young age. So I have always had a musical relationship with her in some way. About five years ago we started collaborating in a different way - me on electronics as the composer and my sister as the lyricist and vocalist. We formed a type of electronic operatic sound together and continue to make music together to this day. For now I am focusing on creating music as "LT", my solo instrumental electronic project as well as making music as part of Bittereinder - we are currently working on material for a fifth body of work.
“...Making this film is one of the biggest projects I have taken on on my own and is pretty much a dream come true...” - Louis Minnaar
You alternate between design and film with your Jack Parow music video having reached over half a million views on Youtube. What excites you most about the film and animation?
Louis: I've always liked working in a wide variety of artistic fields (animation, illustration, graphic design, fine arts, directing and shooting music videos and ads, product design, VJ'ing and making various styles of music) so it came quite naturally to combine four mediums that I love into one: Music, Animation, Illustration and Film. I find the music video field super exciting and love the emotion that can be brought forward by combining visuals and music. I make my strongest work when I combine various mediums into one and have full control over the outcome. The idea of heightening reality by applying animated elements to film has just always been something that I like doing.
Speaking of film, you are currently busy with a very exciting new project. Please tell us a bit more about Siklus?
Louis: I have always wanted to get involved in science fiction film making so around December 2014 I started writing my own story "Siklus", an Afrikaans scifi short-film. More or less two years down the road I have received funding for the film, designed and started building the space ship, established a cast, created the 3D elements for the animation and written some music for the score. I am really excited about the project, which revolves around two characters trapped in a timeloop in deep space, and really believe that there is a huge gap in Afrikaans science fiction storytelling.
Making this film is one of the biggest projects I have taken on on my own and is pretty much a dream come true. I love science fiction and interact with the genre on a daily basis, so making this film has been the highlight of my career so far. I am working with an amazing group of people to make this happen and cannot wait for beginning of April when we will start shooting it. That said - every extra cent we can get to push this project even further is very welcome and will be well spent.
What other projects are you currently busy with?
Louis: Albino Creations, my graphics company with Werner Burger, is currently working on a variety of exciting projects including a new mobile game which will be launching early this year still. We are also doing graphics for various theatre productions as well as a title sequence for a new series airing soon, among many other projects.