Visitors to the third-annual Us By Night (opens in new tab) festival will be in for a real treat. Taking place within Antwerp’s prestigious Parkloods on 22-24 November, Us By Night will see creative professionals the world over come together for a fun-filled three nights of design inspiration.
One of the speakers is 3D character artist Jaime Alvarez, who will share how his cute and classy 3D art (opens in new tab) communicates tenderness, playfulness and happiness. Alvarez brings his lovable creations to life using a combination of resin, wood and fibreglass – and this effect is best seen in his character-driven world Mr. Kat & Friends (opens in new tab).
We chatted to Alvarez ahead of the event to see just what we should expect from his talk, and discover why he thinks creative events are brimming with positivity.
What started your fascination with animals and skulls?
I’ve been drawing animals since I was a child, feeling more comfortable drawing elephants, pandas and birds than I did actual humans or objects. When I started working on personal projects, it just felt natural to follow this path and eventually feed it into commercial projects.
As for the skull, this interest grew while I was living in Peru, where I got acquainted with the pre-Columbian cultures. These skulls appeal to me as the representation of life through the legacy of our ancestors. The cuteness gives these skulls a certain brightness to an icon that is generally looked upon as sinister and dark. It’s like seeing death in a friendly and warm way.
When did you first hear about Us By Night?
Well, it’s no secret that Us By Night has been very loud since its inception! The speakers invited, the novelty of doing the talks at night, the atmosphere... It roared its way into the design festival scene pretty fast. Many of my friends have been there in the two past editions and I just had to make it there this time around.
What makes Us By Night different to other design festivals?
Creativity, friends, beer, nightlife, community – all in one place! It’ll be great to relax during three days and enjoy the talks, meet new people, hang around, and take a break from our routine while still being connected to everything that we feel so passionate about.
Us By Night is creating a space where many disciplines coexist. Because the selected speakers have been curated by open minded creatives like Rizon Parein (opens in new tab) (Us By Night’s curator), we're going to see those pushing borders and mixing medias, such as Erik Kessels, Jonas Lindstroem and Mirko Borsche (opens in new tab).
What can we expect from your talk?
I will briefly share a little bit about my journey, before going on to discuss how I approach character design (opens in new tab), some work processes, and how this year has been a huge step in terms of character development and expanding my work worldwide. Just in case you can’t tell from my work, expect a lot of classy cuteness!
I think it's safe to say that most creatives today tend to explore within different fields. Personally, I mix cute character design with classy high gloss 3D shapes and a sculptural feel, and I thought it was worth adding this to an already eclectic slate of covered styles.
What other talks are you looking forward to?
This is a tough question, all the creatives announced are top-notch. I'm really looking forward to experiencing the vibe Rizon and his team look to be orchestrating. I feel Us By Night is more like listening to a whole album rather than a single song. This said, I will give it a go!
There is one speaker from last year I would have loved to watch because I followed him during my teenage years: Mode 2 (opens in new tab). He's a living legend and I think I may have recognised his work in a recent Us By Night 'start guessing' clip for this year. Fingers crossed he’ll make an appearance this year again.
Has going to a talk ever positively impacted your career?
Speaking at festivals has definitely impacted my career as well as my personal growth. In a broad sense, it’s great to meet the people behind the work and build new bonds. Professionally, I’ve been able to create wonderful collaborations with new friends and catch the attention of potential clients.
I believe festivals are a friendly way to promote your work while having fun, share, and be inspired by others. What’s more positive than that?
More speakers at Us By Night
Us By Night takes place in Antwerp on 22-24 November. The speaker lineup is comprised of artists, designers, and creatives from around the world, and includes:
- Erik Kessels (opens in new tab)
- Jonas Lindstroem (opens in new tab)
- Mr Bingo (opens in new tab)
- Mirko Borsche (opens in new tab)
- Andreas Bozarth Fornell (opens in new tab)
- Zach Lieberman (opens in new tab)
- Bráulio Amado (opens in new tab)
- Will MacNeil (opens in new tab)
Don't miss out: buy your tickets here (opens in new tab).